Friday, September 24, 2010

Film #42: Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949)

Those mischievous boys Bud Abbott and Lou Costello should be collared by their mothers and shipped off to boot camp.
They have been running around with the wrong crowd for too long!
Abbott and Costello first got into trouble when they met Frankenstein and Dracula – and drained blood from a full crate of babies outside the Gary, Indiana baby factory. Then there was the time they met those evildoers Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – and went on an ecstasy-fueled molestation spree that is still shuttered over in Delaware.
NOW they’re in kahoots with a KILLER, Boris Karloff!
My stars! Reform these sinners before they strike again!

That’s right folks, once again our bumbling duo of disaster hang out with shady associates in this week’s flick, “Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff.”

Fathead Lou Costello (the fat one) plays Freddie Phillips, a routinely fired bell boy at the creepy, secluded Lost Caverns Resort Hotel. High-powered criminal attorney Amos Strickland recently checked into the hotel, and has local newshounds buzzing. Rumor has it he is writing a book about all the infamous clients he helped get out of the electric chair. Word gets around that Strickland is going to spill the beans on his former clients, so several of the nefarious characters travel to the hotel in an effort to sew up Strickland’s loose lips.

Upon arrival at the hotel, Strickland has a slapstick scuffle with dumb-assed bell boy Phillips, and gets the dope fired again. Phillips publicly threatens to get him back for his misdeeds, but a short time later realizes an apology might be the best way to get his job back. But when he enters Strickland’s room to offer his sorrys, he finds the attorney has been murdered!

All evidence points to Phillips, but the house detective Casey Edwards (what the hell, hotels had detectives on staff?! Seriously, movie?!) played by Bud Abbott, believes his bell boy pal is innocent and offers to help him avoid arrest while also rooting out the real killer.

Speaking of killers, Boris Karloff stars as Swami Talpur, a hypnotist and former client of murdered Strickland. He and the six other former clients at the hotel soon also come under suspicion by the coppers. But who really killed Strickland?! Was it the vengeful bell boy, or one of the jilted former clients? You might think, oh, I know who did it, I read the movie title. Come on playa! You don’t think the producers would be stupid enough to tell the culprit of a whodunit murder mystery in the title, would you? Could they be that stupid? Hmmm, maybe…

The cops better figure it out soon, because each passing hour brings more murders! As the body count rises, so do the laughs (kind of), in the 1949 horror/comedy cine-bomb “Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff.”

RDHP Ratings and Reviews

C-Rating: 1.5
Chris Dimick Abbott-yells:
“There is a fine line between amusing and annoying. Just ask my wife.
Something can be funny at first, but after awhile gets gear-grindingly infuriating. One of my favorite things to do around the house is take songs – either ones played at the time on a radio/TV or just tunes that randomly pop in my head – and change the lyrics into vile, distributing, swear-filled, perverted lyrics. Hey, we all need hobbies.
This should be the point where I’d give you an example of my performances, but folks, we like to keep this blog PG-13 and any example of this behavior would surely offend someone.

I have to admit; I have quite the talent for taking pure white songs and mangling them into perverted black verse, and can do it at will with nearly any tune.

My main motivation for this behavior is not just for my own amusement, but for that of my wife. A woman with a strong sense of humor, she usually she thinks my dirty songs are funny…usually. At least at first.

But there always comes a time when I sing on too long and throw in just too many over-the-line phrases about bowel movements and human anatomy. At that point my wife’s laughs stop, and her face transitions from an amused smile to a cold-eyed glare. “Okay, stop,” is probably what she says. It is hard to tell, since I’m singing with abandon to the music with lyrics that would make a sailor curl into the fetal position.

She did find the act funny, for awhile, but soon my angel like voice spewing devil descriptions just becomes annoying. Though endlessly amusing to myself, it seems one can only take the act for so long.
I never truly knew how my wife felt during my musical renditions, until I watched Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff.

Like my naughty tunes, the endless whining and zany antics by Lou Costello in this or any A and C movie is very funny at first, even endearing. Bud and Lou verbally spar with wit and grace. The physical comedy and sight gags of Costello even bring laugh out loud moments.
But after the first 30 minutes of this act, the whole thing becomes tired and offensive. It had moved from chuckle funny to grunt annoying. The endless idiocy of Costello turns from cute to stupid, and all that whining and high-pitched vocal intonation quickly gets old.

Maybe in the 1940s this style of comedy was so new people could find it hilarious for more than a half hour. But to me the whole Abbott and Costello act just seems like a big Three Stooges rip-off. Costello blatantly steals the act of the Stooges’ Curly – the overweight, smart-mouthed, dim-witted, physical comedy manimal.

Don’t start with me about how they are subtlety different. I’ve heard that argument before in the now raging debate about similar awkward actors Michael Cera and Jesse Eisenberg. The blunt bottom line is this: Curly is hilarious and loveable. Costello is annoying and a tool. And like Eisenberg, he stole someone’s act (go Team Cera!).

Add in that this movie’s plot makes absolutely no sense and most of the movie is spent boringly moving dead bodies around the hotel, and it was easy for this guy to go from entertained to enraged pretty damn fast.

Of course, this recent revelation on humor doesn’t mean my unique vocal styling will cease to emanate from the Dimick home. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t stop the music.
But perhaps now I will stop singing my subversive tunes when my wife indicates she no longer finds them funny at that moment.
After all, my point is to make not one, but both of us, laugh.
A good singer knows two things: When to quit, and to always go out on a high, filthy note.

N-Rating: 1.3
Nick Rich Abbott-yells:
"My senior year in high school I fancied myself an "actor" and even angled to arrange for one of my periods to be a focused study hour with the drama teacher, so I could work on my "craft" (aka slack off). In particular, I remember my final project of the semester, which was to actually do a monologue (the horror). Prior to this I had mainly been hanging out (you know, senioritis) and helping the teacher with the actual class he had that period. The accomplished thespian I was, I probably found and started working on the monologue a week before it was due. Basically I thought I was the bomb and could just walk out on stage, cold read the piece and be golden.

Oh, capricious youth.

Much to my surprise, my acting teacher didn't buy it and told me to do the reading again - apparently he didn't believe it. I then proceeded to attempt the monologue again... and again... and again. In the end I never quite satisfied my teacher, which baffled me - I mean, I was reading the lines, adding some quiver to my voice, got some goosebumps going... what did the man want from me?!? I was acting after all, what more could he ask?

Well, as Abbott and Costello displayed in this weeks film (especially Costello) - a whole lot more. This was actually my first A&C movie, but naturally I had heard of them and been exposed to one of their more famous bits, so I was expecting quite a few yucks from the funnymen who captivated a generation. Needless to say, I was utterly disappointed.

As I watched Costello's tomfoolery, I couldn't help but think back to my own experience as an actor, in particular the story I shared, and fully understand what my teacher had been talking about: talking doesn't equal acting. This apparently was the school of acting A&C came from, with line deliveries so trite and flimsy I literally think I was more convincing in the 6th grade with my smash breakout roll of Mongo the monster (from the center of the Earth who has come to make teenagers into mindless zombies - little did he know that TV had gotten there first).
Costello was downright painful to watch and appeared to have just learned his lines and blocking mere moments before shooting his scenes, instead relying on "zaniness" to carry his performance. I wasn't even convinced he knew his lines, much less that the character he was "portraying" in the film had any kind of realism to it. I get the fact that Costello pretty much was "Costello" in all of his films (and for some reason unbeknownst to me apparently people liked that, which is an entirely different issue), but come on! Being zany is no excuse to not act, and it certainly doesn't hold up after 60 years.

Admittedly, I'm not an A&C aficionado, so ACMTKBK may very well have been towards the end of their run at the top (please let it be so) and they may have been just shooting the flick to get a paycheck (Boris looked to be in full paycheck mode a la Voodoo Island after all). I can respect this, homies need to get their paper made after all... but if this is not the case, and indeed an example of quality A&C schtick, I weep for the generation that thought this was funny. Weep.

The Skinny: Watch this flick if you feel like having your image of the Greatest Generation tarnished or... wait, there is no or - skip this one!

Things We Learned from ACMTKBK:
-News can be cooking.
-Murder is not permitted in some upscale hotels.
-Turtles love slip-in-slides.
-You can hypnotize people by waving your hand.
-The only time Karloff is not scary is when he’s dressed like a space alien.
-Stingy cops don’t give the third degree.
-Best way to reverse a murder, pour water on the deceased.
-Booby traps are for catching boobs.
-While trying to avoid murder, don’t use a locking steam bath that has a “boil” setting.
-Boris Karloff’s voice is indistinguishable to some people.
-Friday the 13th Part 2 was not the first movie to feature a pillowcase-wearing killer.
-Dames can get brothas to do crazy things.
-Men in the 1940s can’t differentiate drag queens from pretty ladies:

Quote of the Viewing:
[Costello must dress up like a female maid in order to move various dead bodies through the hotel unnoticed. On the way, he gets accosted by a confused, horny man trying to cop a feel on the “lady.” Shortly after, a detective enters the room and tells his men to “put out a dragnet” for Costello's capture.]

Chris: “I think that horny guy already got caught in a drag-net.”
Nick: “Boooooo’-k ‘em, Danno!”

RDHP Salutes: Two Man Comedy Teams!
Good and evil. Light and Dark. Square and funny. Every ying has its yang, and in order to appreciate the good times, one must experience the bad. Is this why two man comedy teams – like Abbott and Costello – that feature a normal straight foil paired with an over the top comedian have blossomed throughout time? We think so. Below, we salute various comedy duos that have entertained throughout the ages.

Laurel and Hardy
This is one of the first comedy duos to succeed in film. Nothing like a skinny freak next to a fat ass to make you bust a nut.

Chris Farley and David Spade
The RDHP generation’s ultimate comedy duo. The chemistry between lovable-dumb Farley and smart-alec Spade worked even when their material was poorly written (we’re staring down you, Black Sheep). Sad they couldn’t make more funny before Farley self-destructed.

Penn and Teller
It is easy to be a straight man when you don’t have to talk!

Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin
“Hey pretty lady, ougheeee!” And we thought Lou Costello was annoying! At least men and women had Dean Martin to drool over in this combo.

Jay and Silent Bob
The amount that Jay talks, it’s okay if Bob stays silent.

The Smothers Brothers
Go ask your Dad who these guys were. Hell if we know anything about them other than that they are either old or dead now.

Harold and Kumar
Harold is an uptight Asian yuppie, and Kumar an Indian pothead with a dot-head full of tomfoolery. Oh, was that offensive? We’re sorry; Kumar is a Native Mid-South-Asian dot-head with a pothead full of tomfoolery.

William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy
Oh yes, nerds. You know what we’re talking about. Nimoy was the ultimate straight man to Shatner, but if there was anyone who could turn Spock away from being straight, it’d be charismatic Kirk.

Jake and Elwood Blues
They were both kind of straight men. And also at times both funny. They’re comedy duo hermaphrodites.

Sonny and Cher
Weren’t these two gentlemen a funny team!

Redundant Theater Presents:
Abbott and Costello’s Most Overplayed Bit
Just in case you are the only person on the face of the Earth who hasn’t heard this before, we offer it below. Interesting fact: A clip of this act is on permanent display in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Film #41: The Stuff (1985)

My name is RDHP, and I’m a “Stuff” addict.
Shut up, I’m trying to tell my sob story. Okay, hand me those tissues, because this sinner's eyes are gonna get sloppy.

It all started with my first taste of the stuff. Bobby, the workplace bully, was injecting some “stuff” into his firehose one day in the employee bathroom when I walked in.
“Hey, horror nerd, want to try some?” the jerk asked me. Wanting to be one of the “cool” adults, I jammed some under my fingernails. Whoa uncle! It felt like I was a unicorn soaring through Saturn’s candy apple rings!

From that high, came nothing but lows. Before I knew it, I was snorting “stuff” off a five dollar hooker’s who-ha and tap-dancing pantsless for change in a filthy Amtrak bathroom.
I know I’m a “stuffie,” but I just can’t stop! I need a fix man, the goo in my brain is crawling hard! Ahhhhhhhhh! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! FREAKOUT! (Dramatization in video below)

“You can’t get enough, of ‘The Stuff.’” So goes the popular product tag line featured in this week’s stop in film history, 1985's “The Stuff.” Like reality show contestant with a touching backstory, America has wholeheartedly gotten behind a new ice cream alternative dessert called “The Stuff.” This stuff is the sh*t!

Just what is the “The Stuff” made off? Hell if America knows, but it tastes fantastical, so like the bunch of fat asses that we are we shove that shizz into our monkeyholes by the fistful.

Everyone is oddly obsessed with the new food stuff, except for a pint-sized Bob Bummer named Jason and the shady individuals who make up the Big Ice Cream Manufactures syndicate. One night Jason opens his fridge to find the goo-contents of a container of The Stuff crawling around inside.
The white, creamy blob seems to be alive, but Jason can’t convince his family to stop packing in the pints. If it comes in a shiny container and was approved by the FDA, it must be safe to eat, they contend. Sure, trust your government.

As for the Big Ice Cream syndicate executives, they are pissed that The Stuff is becoming the marketplace’s predominant dessert and melting ice cream’s sales. Various tests can’t figure out just what The Stuff is made off, so Big Ice Cream decides to hire disgraced but wily former FBI saboteur/spy David “Mo” Rutherford to help bring The Stuff down.

Soon Mo and Jason come to the same conclusion – not only is The Stuff addictive, it turns those who eat it into zombified aliens!
Ten-year-old Jason goes on a hilarious grocery store rampage and tries to destroy every bit of Stuff he can find. Meanwhile, Mo befriends the beautiful PR genius, Nicole, who helped make The Stuff a household name, and turns her on to the nefarious nature of the tasty product.

Mo rescues Jason from his Stuff-filled homicidal parents, and with that the perfect corporate take-down team is assembled. With a trip down to Stuff HQ, the fearsome threesome scheme to expose The Stuff for what it is – a delicious white and creamy alien that will control your mind and body! You know, like a McFlurry.

The battle for America’s minds and stomachs is on in the oh-so-creamy 1985 flick, “The Stuff.”

RDHP Ratings and Review

C-Rating: 2.4
Chris Dimick i-screams:
“You are what you eat. If the old adage is true, I really don’t know myself that well.
Living in a concrete-encased city, there isn’t much opportunity to grow my own food crops. So like 99.9 percent of this country, everything I eat gets handled and/or processed by strangers and strange companies.

What the hell are we really eating when we open that container of lunch meat, or crack that container of eggs. The answer: hell if we know! We hope these food processors are clean, but I like to live by another adage: “Put hope in one hand and a stack of excrement in the other, and which one do you have more of?”

Recent stories of eggs tainted by processing plants filled with stacks of bird-sh*t, and the various times sliced meat has been recalled due to meningitis contamination isn’t reassuring. It is enough for one to wonder which is safer – putting a potato or a pistol in your mouth.

The Stuff satirizes this modern lack of connectivity with our food, and does so in a very entertaining way. Like some grease soaked meals I’ve had after a night of too many whiskeys, this film was fatty, cheese-covered, nutrient-free, and fun as hell to partake. ‘The Stuff’ tasted home cooked, and though the plot was a little under baked, you could tell it was made with love.

As a fan of The Stuff writer/director Larry Cohen, I’ve learned to expect from his movies a mindless ride, crazed plot, and satirical jabs at society. This flick delivered these attributes by the bushel-full. Heads exploded. Stuff oozed out of yokels' mouths. The gore hit a solid note. It was like a comedy/horror cross between Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Blob… only nowhere near the quality contained in those two classics.

Still, a special treat also came in the form of tragically under-rated actor Michael Moriarty, who played David “Mo” Rutherford. His rhythmic verbal jabs, loose body language, and dry wit were in full effect in this flick as a fast talking con man with a love of money and hatred of dessert.

And through all the plot holes and weird story lines, at least The Stuff had something of a message:
1. Don’t let the FDA spoon feed you the idea that if it’s okayed by the government, it’s okay for our bodies.
2. Watch what you eat. Literally… it might move and destroy you.

This summer the wife and I stayed for a weekend at her parent’s summer home in rural Michigan. In the backyard was a large garden that featured everything from pumpkins, zucchini, corn, green peppers, potatoes and even beets.
I know what a potato looks like – sitting on a Jewel grocery store shelf. But if one held a gun to my head and told me to pick out which leafy plant above ground held delicious potatoes in its basement (which Molly did, it is a fun game we play), I wouldn’t have had the slightest clue.

Good thing Molly’s step-dad knew though, and with one shovel dig he proved it by striking the earth and producing an oil-spring of fresh potatoes from under what I thought was a group of pesky weeds. It all looked like weeds to me, but I was assured there was food attached in there… somewhere.

Like “The Stuff,” this garden experience sent me two messages:
1. We are very, very disconnected from the food we put in our mouths… even the non-processed ones.
2. When the zombie apocalypse happens and those currently nice, soon to be undead, folks at the Jewel grocery store stop stacking those potatoes neatly on their shelves, a whole lot of people won’t know jack-spat about how to get food in their faces are screwed. Including this guy right here.

With that, I’m heading outside to plan my World War Z victory garden. I refuse to be one of the uneducated city-boy starvers! Now just where did I put that jackhammer?”

N-Rating: 2.0
Nick Rich i-screams:
"You would think at this point I would be accustomed to reviewing movies that aren't particularly good - I mean, we've been doing this almost a year! But, I'm sad to report, reviewing a poor movie is a lot like kissing your sister: you are forced to do it every now and again, but it never becomes enjoyable... well, at least it usually doesn't. (Note: I do not have a sister.)

That said, as Luke found out, kissing your sister can be enjoyable but only if you're not aware that she is your sister... and your mom is Natalie Portman. I fully realize that I'm not really making sense right now, and that is intentional - you see, I want you to feel what it is like to watch The Stuff. Much like my statement above about Luke, you kind of feel like you know what's going on and get a general sense of what's happening, but when you look at it more closely or try to follow along you only find yourself confused... so, you decide to just enjoy the weirdness and laugh. I mean, Luke kissing his sister is funny right?

Well, so is The Stuff! Once you get over the fact that the storyline jumps like a Mexican bean on speed and the relationships are so accelerated that they make the 'instant love' of pre-1960s movies look like a long courtship - you know, things like a semblance of realism that ground a viewer in the film. I know, I know, you'll say "Nick! This a movie about a living dessert that turns people into zombies!" And that's true... but that doesn't mean the movie can't seem plausible.

Often I have no trouble accepting the crazy things in a movie: talking apes, giant lizards, amorphous blobs trying to devour you, etc. These things don't take me out of a movie; after all, I'm watching a movie about crazy things happening, so I expect crazy things to happen. What I don't expect is skimping on the basics like relationships and behavior! It's like leaving out the flour when you're baking a cake!
You know, the cake won't rise or whatever (note: a baker I'm not).

You want examples? Fine!
  1. Mo meets the PR lady and she instantly wants to go back to his hotel room. Ok, fine, this is the 80's and he has just sold her the lie that he is an oil tycoon - BUT the next time they meet he has just told her that he completely lied to her and she's acting like it's all good and they've been married for 17 years. Come ON! I've never lived in New York, but I'm fairly sure this isn't normal behavior.
  2. Billy can't be taken down on his grocery store rampage by the copious amount of employees surrounding him for a full 5 minutes. Well, I suppose if I worked in a grocery store I may not care either.
  3. Mo meets Chocolate Chip Charlie, who attacks him ninja style, then punches him in the face . Mo then proceeds to tell Charlie he is investigating the same people as him and that makes everything cool. No distrust, no asking for a business card, nothing! The movie quickly takes on the facade of a buddy cop film, which just feels wrong.
  4. Mo saves little Billy from his fiending family and instantly takes him on a jet-setting adventure. Well, this was before Meaghan's Law, but still, this seems a bit hard to swallow.
As I've rehashed all of this, I realized that this movie would probably be better upon a second viewing... you know, when any expectations are long gone and you can just enjoy the zaniness of it. It does have some funny and entertaining moments. Oh, Nick... when will you learn to stop being so neurotic about your film expectations and just enjoy them?

Probably never.

The Skinny: Check this flick out if you're in the mood to live on the edge and eat everything in your refrigerator that's past it expiration date... expect to be spoiled by the experience.

Things We Learned from “The Stuff”:
-Commies put fluoride in our water.
-Being grounded for life still involves eating dessert.
-The Stuff kills the bad things inside us.
-Don't ever hide in an empty tanker truck. It'll get filled.
-Every 80s horror movie featured a kid protagonist.
-Mercenary soldiers have great, deep radio voices.
-Chocolate Chip Charlie eats guns for breakfast.
-A 10-year-old can shatter anything with a broomstick.
-One lick is never enough, of The Stuff.
-When you encounter a strange substance on the ground, don't eat it:

Quote of the Viewing:
[Nick and Chris sign onto Skype and start their Webcams for the viewing. The first thing they say to each other before even ‘Hi,’ is…]

Nick: “Hey man, do you have The Stuff?”
Chris: “Yeah, yeah, man, I have The Stuff. Do you have the money?”

RDHP Salute:
“The Stuff” Celebrity Guest Stars!
We don’t understand how a one-time movie can list in their credits “guest stars.” It is a one-time production, aren’t all the actors guests!? But we’ll let it slide in The Stuff, seeing as the “guest stars” in this movie are bright enough to singe straight through our retinas and blow out our frontal lobes: the permanently old Abe Vigoda and the Where’s the Beef Lady, Clara Peller!
The two old ass actors appear together in a mock “The Stuff” commercial.
Did you just wet yourself with excitement? Good, then I’m not the only one.

Abe Vigoda
Random Wikipedia “fact”:
Having played “old man” roles since the early 1970s, followed by a low profile acting career, Vigoda has since been frequently assumed to be dead. In 1982, People magazine erroneously declared him dead. Vigoda took the error with good humor, posing for a photograph in which he was sitting up in a coffin, holding the magazine in question.

Clara Peller
Random Wikipedia “fact”:
Peller didn’t get her start in acting until age 80. She was first hired as a temporary manicurist for a television commercial set in a Chicago barbershop. Impressed by her no-nonsense manners and unique voice, the agency later asked her to sign a contract as an actress. Though hard of hearing and suffering from emphysema, which limited her ability to speak long lines of dialogue, Peller was quickly utilized in a number of TV spot advertisements, including a new commercial for the Wendy’s Restaurant chain titled “Fluffy Bun.” It is here she spoke her condemnation of providing a lack of bovine muscle: “Where’s the Beef!”

RDHP Presents:
Random Stuff
Most of this stuff has nothing to do with the movie itself. But, hey, it is kind of related. Oh, no, we’re getting word all this is completely unrelated. Guess that’s what makes it random. And makes it generic “stuff.” Don’t fret your pretty head, just sit back and take it in. You only live once: enjoy!

The B-52s:
Good Stuff
The follow up "hit" to Love Shack. Yeahhh, you don't hear this one at many weddings.

The Right Stuff (1983)
Who knew the space race could be so exciting?! Tween Chris sure did in the 1980s when he was obsessed with this movie about the early NASA space program .

"Hey, what are ya? H.R. Shovenstuff?"
We're certainly not... and we're not quite sure who he is, but he may have been here:

What Dreams Are Made Of
The Eurythmics have been trying to tell us about this stuff for years!
Marilyn Manson tried a bit later, but we were too scared to listen...

George Carlin Rants About “Stuff”

The whole meaning of life is trying to find a place for your stuff. So true, George, so true.

What Webster's Dictionary Says About STUFF:
6.a. : fundamental material: SUBSTANCE of greatness>

Friday, September 10, 2010

Film #40: King Kong (1933)

Curious Kong, the curious giant monkey.
Oh what fun, to paw and sniff Fay Wray.
Furious Kong, the city smashin’ monkey.
Steal his bride, and you surely will pay!

So goes a cautionary limerick regarding the title star of this week’s film “King Kong.”
Like most possessive males, Kong doesn’t like it when you try and take away his young blonde plaything. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, shall we. First, the beginning.

Movie director Carl Denham is frantically searching for actors to star in his next big picture, an action/adventure/monster flick that will be filmed on location at an uncharted tropical island. Known for putting his cast and crew in dangerous situations, usually involving exotic animals, both agents and actors refuse to work with him. But he can’t work alone and let the rumored outlandish creatures found on his mystery island be the sole stars. Pictures nowadays need purty dames, he laments. Oh blast those purty dames!

Given his reputation, Denham wonders where he could find an actress dumb enough to ship off on such a dangerous shoot. Then he has an epiphany: Desperate and willing to work in horrible conditions…. Got it, POOR PEOPLE!

Being the Depression, there are plenty of them around. Denham walks over to the local women’s homeless shelter looking for his next leading lady. Clean off the bugs and vomit, and I’m sure one of these lovely ladies will fit the part.

Then he spots the perfect girl nearby, starving small-bit actress Ann Darrow (Fay Wray), just as she is caught stealing an apple from a vendor. In swoops Denham with an apple dime, and after a convincing talk that features the promise food, glamorous clothes and worldwide fame, his beautiful leading lady decides to join him on a voyage. Probably not a good idea though, seeing as Denham’s own sailors are streaking their drawers over the adventure. But he assures her that he’s “on the level, no funny business.” So, you know, it's cool.

Denham got wind of his exotic movie location from some Dutch sailors, who encountered the island while lost at sea. The place is a Lost World of sorts, with thick jungle and high volcanic cliffs stretching across the island.. up until a giant man-made fence portioning off a peninsula. Legend says ancient descendants of the current natives built the wall to keep beasts of unimaginable size and ferociousness out of their village. The main beast is worshiped by the natives, and said to be “neither beast nor man, but a monster!” His name: JOHN GOODMAN. Wait, that isn't right... Actually, his name: KONG!

When Denham’s cast and crew arrive to the island, they interrupt a native bow-and-arrow wedding (you know, instead of a shotgun wedding…oh, nevermind!). My stars, a wedding! How adorable! We always cry at weddings. Accept at this wedding, it is the bride who is sobbing, since she is being forcibly offered as a “wife” to the colossal giant monkey man known as KONG. The legends are true!

The native bride doesn’t have to worry though, Kong is fickle and as soon as the next hot thing struts onto the island, she is chopped liver. Once the native leader spots golden haired stunner Ann Darrow among the visiting white-bread group, he claims she must be offered to Kong instead!
Well, not if dashing sailor John Driscoll has anything to do with it. He intends to be the only hairy ape that marries Ann!

But, the natives win in the end and Ann is offered up to Kong as his new bride. Time for the honeymoon at the top of the volcano (hmmm, that bird is too big for that bee!), but not before Kong has to fend off other horrific prehistoric creatures also after his new mate. Thrilling fight scenes abound, as do Ann’s screams for help! Kong is one curious lil’ monkey, who in-between snapping dinosaurs' heads in half likes to strip off Ann's clothes and smell them. A curious monkey indeed!

Driscoll and his crew give chase after Ann, and in the process rescue the poor woman from Kong’s exploratory touch. In the process, they even use some handy gas bombs to knock out the big ape. “I got it!” Denham exclaims! “Instead of a movie about Kong, let’s bring the sweepy monster back to New York for a stint on the stage. Kong will be a Broadway smash!”

Well, he is right, Kong does smash Broadway.
A colossal manlike wild monkey is brought back to the middle of America’s most populated city and constrained by mere chains? Then dis’d in front of his “wife.” Is this a good idea?
You called it, it’s not, and everyone, including KONG, finds that out the hard way in the 1933 monster movie classic, “King Kong.”

RDHP Ratings and Reviews

C-Rating: 5.0
Chris Dimick kongs:
“What would you do for love? If you are Meatloaf, you’d do anything but that. But if you’re Kong, you’d climb the tallest skyscraper, battle the meanest dinosaur, and chomp down the greasiest New Yorker just to be with your one true “love.”

Oh yes, I busted out the 5.0 just now. The perfect. It is a Kong-sized rating for a Kong-sized quality picture. Whoa, Chris, isn’t this just a monster movie about a big chimp running around the Big Apple. On the surface, yes. But King Kong is about so much more than that. In addition to the messages, the acting is enchanting, the dialog delicious, the special effects dazzling, and the fun delivered by the dump truck. There was a smile on my face throughout the picture… it was captivating. In short, there aren’t many better ways to spend 1h 40 min.

And even if one doesn’t choose to read into the subtle messages of the film, I offer this. King Kong is a monster movie, but it is the greatest damn monster movie in history.

Even before we see Kong, the movie grabs the audience by their suspenders. Snappy 30s-esque dialog and excellent performances from Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong (Denham) help build enormous tension and excitement leading up to the crew’s landing on Kong’s Skull Island.
Like water building behind a dam, this tension is unleashed with fury when main star Kong eventually bursts out from the jungle to claim his blonde-haired prize. What follows is thrilling action/adventure/horror, with realistic-even-for-today special effects showcased through Kong/Dino, Kong/Snake, Kong/etc battles.
Kong looks like a masterpiece, his stop motion skin sometimes even rippling in the wind. His facial expressions perfect that of a colossal man-ape, and best of all his mannerisms elicit awe, humor and empathy from the viewer.

Empathy is what makes this the perfect monster movie. Frankenstein came close to achieving empathy with its Monster, yet in the end this viewer felt Karloff’s freakizoid was more dead than alive.

But with Kong, you fall in love with him as fast as he falls in love with Fay Wray.
Kong has personality, and if we learned anything from Jules Winnfield, it is that personality goes a long way. This is necessary for a monster flick to be great. The most effective monster movies are those in which the audience not only fears the beast, but also kind of understands them… even feels a little bit sorry for them.

Yes, Kong is a murderous, destructive, perhaps bestiality-interested, surely manic beast. But he is also a confused, near-human animal completely infatuated with something that only returns his love with hate. In a way, King Kong is a story about unreturned love. Giving someone your all, and getting nothing but revulsion in return. It is about a misplaced outcast, torn from his land, a stranger in a strange world. These are themes and feelings we can all recognize.

And yet the movie balances these feelings with utter revulsion as Kong tears ass through both jungle village and metropolitan street. Fay Wray didn’t ask to be Kong’s bride, and New York didn’t ask for dumbass Denham to allow monkey rage to rain down on their streets. Kong seems to take pleasure in his destruction, and while you feel sorry for him, you also understand that he needs to put down his pretty little toy and stop the insanity! The viewer decides whether to love or hate Kong. And in the process everyone is treated to an amazing spectacle.

For me, I side with love, even the demented form of it possessed by old Kong.
Think about it. What would you do if a bunch of scrawny mini-apes came and took away the most beautiful woman you ever saw, drugged you, shipped ya across the ocean, chained you up on a stage for morons to gawk at, and then started taking your picture? You’d go on a rampage and f-up the city, right?! Well, so does Kong.

So take note, scrawny mini-apes of the Windy City. Should you ever decide to come steal away my blonde beauty of a wife, this ape will also be ready to tear you and Chicago apart for her return. You have officially been warned.
See you at the top of Willis Tower.”

Khris’ Kong Konnection
As an avid lover of classic horror movies, I was ecstatic when my then soon-to-be wife and I came up with the below Save-the-Date announcement for our wedding modeled after an old King Kong movie lobby card. This was mailed out in advance of our formal invitations, featuring me as Kong as Molly as Ann Darrow.

N-Rating: 4.7
Nick Rich kongs:
"What to say about King Kong? As one of our avid readers commented to me before our viewing, "I will be praying for both you and Chris as you tackle a tough challenge this week. I love the original King Kong, but, then, so does just about everyone else. The movie is a long established part of Americana. What is there left to say about it?"

What indeed.

Well, seeing as just about everyone and their mother (and their mother's mother) has already written about Kong (including Chris above), I thought I'd go off the beaten path and share some Kong-inspired randomy goodness from my noggin.

Nick's Random Kong Thoughts:
Well, that about sums it up! It goes without saying that you should check this one out if you haven't already - so get your B&W on!

The Skinny: This flick is a must even if you're not into older films... in fact, not watching it is downright un-American! Who knows? It may open you up to a whole new world of films (you know, old ones)!

Things We Learned from King Kong:
-People were really patient in 1933 (four minutes of orchestral “overture” music start this movie)
-“Tough eggs” walk up and tell lions to be quiet.
-When selling women, six brunettes equal one blonde.
-Kong has a great dental plan. Or, chewing natives keeps his teeth sparkling white.
-WWE moves come in handy when battling a T-Rex.
-Beauty can kill a beast.
-Like a 56-year-old woman, Kong hates having his picture taken.
-Nick and Chris would faint if placed on the top of the Empire State Building.
-In the 1980s video game Rampage, Chris liked Kong, Nick liked Godzilla.
-King Kong yet again confirms the RDHP theory: Monkeys want to be people.
-Kong is the 8th wonder of the world, not Chris’s feet:

Quote of the Viewing:
[Enraged over having his bride stolen away, Kong rushes a huge door in the middle of the native’s protective fence and breaks the lock, walking through the oversized gates]

Chris: “There is something I always wondered about this, Nick. If you are building a giant protective wall to keep Kong out of your village, why, WHY, would you build a door in the middle big enough for Kong to walk through!?”
Nick: “Maybe they were holding out that one day they’d achieve peace.”
Chris: “Ahhh, that’s nice… they are dumb.”

The Other Seven Wonders of the World
For his stage debut, Carl Denham billed Kong as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” That got the RDHP thinking, ‘what are the other seven wonders?’ Not wanting to take the academic route, we acted like the South and just made up the answer for ourselves. Here, our list of wonders:

1. The Deepest Hole in the World
And if that doesn't do anything for you, behold in the video the two biggest d-bags in the whole wide world.

2. Christina Hendricks
Jessica Rabbit come to life. They just don't make women like this Mad Men actress anymore.

3. The Worlds Largest Chest of Drawers
Speaking of large chests... here we have an 80 ft tall clothes cabinet celebrating High Point, NC as the "Home Furnishings Capital of the World." I hear at the back of the bottom draw, under some socks, you can also find the worlds largest dirty magazine.

4. The Corn Palace – Mitchell, South Dakota
Yep, an entire building made out of corn…. Not much to do in South Dakota.

5. This Guy’s Backnae
Don’t look directly into the backnae, your mind will never return.

6. Frankemuth, Michigan
Wow! Christmas all year around! Endless days of agonizing over a gift for Uncle Bernie, awkward family gatherings, heart-stopping foods…maybe this isn’t so cool after all.

7. The Barbed Wire Museum
Ahh, the olde "Devil's Rope" Barbed Wire Museum in McLean, TX. Because nothing screams “family fun” like snagging your privates on barbed wire.

Kong Thoughout the Movie Ages
Monkey see, Monkey do. This original 1933 masterpiece spawned an army of remakes and based-on films over the last 77 years. Below a sampling of some Kong inspired knock-offs.

King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
The battle of the monster masters! A pharmaceutical company captures King Kong and brings him to Japan, where he escapes from captivity and battles a recently released Godzilla. Is there any type of evil pharmaceutical companies WON'T do?

King Kong Escapes (1967)
King Kong is brought in by an evil ruler to dig for precious gems in a mine when the robot MechaKong is unable to do the task. This leads to the machine and the real Kong engaging in a tremendous battle that threatens to level Japan.

King Kong (1976)
This one had Kong tearing ass around New York searching for Jessica Lange, before eventually attacking and climbing the, yikes, World Trade Center. Awkward.

APE (1976)
A crappy Kong rip-off by South Korean filmmakers. A newly discovered 36-foot gorilla escapes from a freighter off the coast of Korea. At the same time an American actress is filming a movie in the country. Chaos ensues as the ape kidnaps her and rampages through Seoul.
Read a full review of APE on the Atomic Monsters Web site by clicking here.
(Photo courtesy of Atomic Monsters) 

King Kong Lives (1986)
A giant ape King Kong, which was shot and fell off the Empire State Building, appears to be alive, but is in coma for 10 years and desperately needs a blood transfusion in order to have an artificial heart implanted. Suddenly, in the rain forest, another gigantic ape is found - this time a female. She is brought to the USA, and the heart is successfully implanted. But then King Kong, having felt a female ape, breaks loose...

King Kong (2005)
A noble attempt at updating the 1933 version, helmed by Kong-fanatic Peter Jackson. Action packed, visually dazzling, it is a great movie – but Jackson gets a little heavy-handed with the Kong love, throwing audiences out of balance with their love/hate of the beast.

King Kong Kulture
This monkey’s persona has reached Kong size. Below, a few bits of Kong pulled from pop-culture. Drink in the Kongy goodness! Jia!

"Olde King Kong" by George Jones
One of Chris's favorite country songs, by one of his favorite country artists.

Universal Studios King Kong Ride
Chris nearly cried when he heard the original was destroyed in a 2008 fire, but this new 4-D attraction just opened in the park and is based on the 2005 movie remake, taking folks through a dangerous tour of Skull Island. Ooo, oooh! Mommy can we go!

Hurley’s Nickname
On Lost, Sawyer lovingly referred to Hurley as “Kong” after getting a bear hug from the oversized castaway. One of the few “nice” names a-hole Sawyer dished out.

Donkey Kong
What is up with this game being named Donkey Kong. Maybe something with the way Mario "punches"? We don’t get it. However, who didn’t love this 1980s Nintendo video game that had a whittle Mario man jumping over barrels to save Kong’s bride.
Here is the backstory for this game, according to the Internets. “Eponymous Donkey Kong is the game's de facto villain. He is the pet of a carpenter named "Jumpman" (a name chosen for its similarity to "Walkman" and "Pac-Man"; the character was later renamed Mario and made a plumber, rather than a carpenter, when Mario Bros. was released). The carpenter mistreats the ape, so Donkey Kong escapes and kidnaps Jumpman's girlfriend, originally known as the Lady, but later named Pauline.”
So, once again, it is man’s fault that Kong rages on.

The Simpsons' Spoof King Kong
This bit was part of the Simpsons' season 4 "Treehouse of Horror" Halloween episode. Homer as Kong, perfect.

And other random Kong krap: