What do you get when John Guillermin, the director of ’50s and ’60s Tarzan flicks, collides with a screenplay penned by Ronald Shusett from Alien (1979) and Total Recall (1990) fame? You get an ape with an artificial heart transplant. And you get a disaster flick not that far removed from Guillermin’s The Towering Inferno (1974) — with Kong as the destruction d’être. And it helps John G. directed King Kong ’76.
After being shot down from the World Trade Center in the 1976 remake, Kong is still alive — in a 10 year coma at the Atlantic Institute, under the care of Dr. Amy Franklin. In order to save Kong’s life, a computer-monitored artificial heart transplant must be done.
But Kong’s lost too much blood and he needs a transfusion. What do you do? Kidnap another ape, aka “Lady Kong.”
A crazy army colonel wants both apes dead.
Kong knocks up Lady Kong.
Lady Kong gives birth.
Lady Kong and Kong Jr. go back to the island to live happily ever after.
But the special effects are pretty good and Brian Kerwin and Linda Hamilton are selling the drama as the pros that they are.
The story goes the “artificial heart and blood transfusion” tomfoolery was after the drafts of “King Kong in Russia” and “King Kong in Outer Space” were rejected.
And the heart and blood one should have been rejected as a sequel to the 1976 remake of King Kong, as well. Everyone hated this movie.
King Kong Lives was released on VHS in 1987 by Lorimar Home Video and on DVD in 2004 by 20th Century Fox. The financial failure of King Kong Lives, along with an adaption of James Clavell’s Tai Pai starring Bryan Brown — after Sean Connery bowed out — led to the bankruptcy of Dino De Laurentiis’s production company.
Hey, wait! Do you need a little Godzilla in your Kong?
Then check out our “Kaiju Week” reviews from last March 2020 for Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974) and Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975), which also ran as two-fer review from our January 2020 “Ape Week” blow out to celebrate Disney green-lighting their entry in the Planet of the Apes saga. And we can’t forget Quentin Tarantino’s fandom of The Mighty Peking Man (1977), made to cash-in on the 1976 King Kong remake.
And that’s why were are here today: To celebrate the release of Godzilla vs. Kong — finally — in theaters on March 25, 2020.
Screw you, COVID!
Here’s some of the other Kaijus (and sort of Kaiju) that we’ve reviewed. For the rest that we’ve recently reviewed to commemorate the March 2021 release of Godzilla vs. Kong, enter “Kaiju Day Marathon” in our search box to the left to populate that list of films (you may see a few reposted Godzilla reviews, but many new film reviews concerning Godzilla, Kong, and other creatures from the Lands of the Rising Sun).
Gamera vs. Barugon
Gamera vs. Gyaos
Gamera: Guaridan of the Universe
Gamera vs. Guiron
Gamera vs. Jiger
Gamera 2: Legion
Gamera 3: The Revenge of Iris
Gamera Super Monster
Gamera vs. Viras
Gamera vs. Zigra
Godzilla: Final Wars
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla
Terror of Mechagodzilla
Bakko Yokaiden Kibakichi
The Beast of Hollow Mountain
Gakidama: The Demon Within
Gappa: The Triphibian Monster
The Iron Superman
The Great Gila Monster
Orochi, the Eight-Headed Dragon
Planet of Dinosaurs
War of the Gargantuas
Yokai Monsters: 100 Monsters
Yokai Monsters: Along with Ghosts
Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare