Konga (1961)

August 3, 2011


A plane crash in the African jungle traps Dr. Decker played by Michael Gough for over a year and upon he returns with plants that have amazing human properties. He also comes back with a small chimpanzee Konga that when injected with a plant serum grows to a huge size. He hypnotizes Konga to do his bidding and the killing of the college dean is the first victim with others to follow. Up to this point the film is doing just fine. He meets Professor Tagore played by George Pastell, the evil Egyptian in Hammer’s The Mummy, who is also following similar lines of research and as a result he is killed by Konga in a seat jumping scary scene. We see the plants, wicked looking, and some of the scientific dialogue makes sense to me with my limited knowledge. The American International Picture imported from Britain also stars Margo Johns, as his assistant Margaret, Claire Gordon, as a student Sandra Banks he’s in love with, and Jess Conrad as Bob Banks Sandra’s boyfriend. Then there is a rather slow moving section involving a triangle between Bob, Sandra, and Dr. Decker which ends with Konga killing Bob. A second triangle develops between Dr. Decker, Margaret, and Sandra which really has little to do with the story. Margo in a fit of jealousy hypnotizes Konga and gives him another injection and now he does grow to the size of King Kong and the film follows a similar script. The military does him in along with Dr. Decker and Margaret. Konga returns to his original form of a chimpanzee. The experiment ideas have taken a back seat and the film has lost the opportunity to excel. The special effects are fine for the era, Konga is believable, and the Gerard Schurmann score adds to the film but I felt it got enough astray that it is no more than an average movie. It is available for sale at an extremely low price from Alpha Video (XFox 12772D). (**).

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