ByDavid Rodemerk, writer at
Watched HBO and Cinemax as a little kid before "binge-watching" was even a thing! Mom called me a TV Guide with diapers. Twitter @filmigos
David Rodemerk

There's just something about watching a giant gorilla run rampant on an island or smashing buildings in a bustling metropolis. Whenever we sit down to watch a King Kong movie, we are awestruck by his immense size and magnitude. Maybe it has to do our with our knowledge and understanding about how powerful these beasts can be just at a normal size.

Or, maybe it's the idea of going to see something larger than our own lives that can easily sweep away the humdrum of our daily routines. No matter what it is, watching that giant gorilla slug other supersized animals will forever grasp our souls like holding a beautiful blonde in his clutches as he swings effortlessly through the jungle in .

If you think King Kong is only great gorilla out there smashing cars like toys, then think again. There have been several other King Kong lookalikes that tried to hitch to his bandwagon. Some of them are scary, and others are outright hilarious! Grab your nearest primate and check out some of these giant gorillas of the big screen.

1. 'Mighty Joe Young' (1949)

'Mighty Joe Young' [Credit: RKO Radio Pictures]
'Mighty Joe Young' [Credit: RKO Radio Pictures]

This is not the 1998 crappy remake starring Charlize Theron and the late Bill Paxton; I'm talking about the old school one. Due to the success of King Kong (1933), RKO Radio Pictures decided to make another gorilla movie. This story involved a women who raised Joe the gorilla from birth. Several years later when the gorilla is grown, he attracts the eyes of some nightclubs looking for wild animals to headline their club.

Soon, Joe is whisked to Hollywood where he partakes in several performances: boxing, tug-a-wars and lifting a piano being played by Jill. Joe, however, is getting sad and misses home. Some drunk guys decide to poke the bear (I mean, the gorilla) and mighty Joe Young goes on a rampage. The story does have a happy ending though, and it is more playful than its predecessor, King Kong.

Even though the movie was not a box office success, it did play an import role in special effect creation. It ended up winning the first Academy Award for special effects and helped pave the way for the famous stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen.

2. 'The Mighty Peking Man' (1977)

'The Mighty Peking Man' [Credit: Shaw Brothers Studio]
'The Mighty Peking Man' [Credit: Shaw Brothers Studio]

You think the Shaw Brothers were only famous for creating all those crazy kung-fu movies in the '70s? Nope. They tried their hand at making their own version of King Kong. I wish this gorilla performed some kung-fu. This enormous ape is a little different — it goes by the name Utam, or "The Mighty Peking Man." Similar story concept to Mighty Joe Young: big gorilla found in exotic land and is brought to the city for entertainment. Except this gorilla had quite the scantily-clad girlfriend named Samantha (Evelyne Kraft) whose parents had been killed in a plane crash.

'The Mighty Peking Man' [Credit: Shaw Brothers Studio]
'The Mighty Peking Man' [Credit: Shaw Brothers Studio]

All I can say is, do not mess with this giant ape's girlfriend. After catching the guy who raped Samantha, Utam went berserk and squashed the guy. The ending of the movie is the complete opposite of Mighty Joe Young — no happy ending for anyone in this movie.

3. 'A.P.E' (1976)

'A.P.E' [Credit: Worldwide Entertainment]
'A.P.E' [Credit: Worldwide Entertainment]

Want to watch a movie about an gorilla that's a little bananas? After watching this film, you are going to wonder what the heck kind of drugs were these producers smoking? It's considered one of the worst monster movie of all time, and here's why: Dino DeLaurentis's version of King Kong was about to be released in 1976, and the producers wanted to make some money off King Kong hysteria that was about commence that year.

The movie basically rips off the King Kong formula — damsel in distress, climbing buildings and smashing people. It also poked fun at some of the other movies and television shows during this period — the ape fights a giant shark like Jaws and A.P.E is an acronym for Attacking Primate MonstEr, which was a direct response to the hit television show M.A.S.H. that took place in South Korea.

But the movie was just a zany version of King Kong. The ape wore tennis shoes and throws the middle finger to his attackers. Not to mention the stop-motion looked way better than whatever bathroom rug they used as a gorilla outfit. If you enjoy campy monster movies, than this is the film for you. In case you've hit your head and you forgot what King Kong looks like, the tagline of A.P.E reads: “Not to be confused with KING KONG."

One of my favorite lines of the movie is:

"He was just too big for a small world like ours!"

4. 'Queen Kong' (1976)

'Queen Kong' Credit: Cinefear / Retromedia Entertainment]
'Queen Kong' Credit: Cinefear / Retromedia Entertainment]

If King Kong was a male gorilla that carried around a hot blonde woman, than Queen Kong is the exact opposite. The British even tried to make their own spoof of the famous King Kong (1976). However, Dino DeLaurentis did not like this one bit and proceeded with legal actions. Queen Kong was never released in the US, but it did get a limited release in Italy and Germany. It's really a shame because the movie has the female Kong climbing up Big Ben while wearing a bra and panties! Let's see King Kong move around in some tighty-whities.

5. 'Konga' (1961)

What happens when a British scientist comes back from Africa with a mysterious serum that can make anything grow? You get Konga. Famous biologist Dr. Charles Decker (Michael Gough) is presumed dead. A year later, he reappears back in London, safe and sound with a pet monkey and a special formula to make plants and animals grow to unusual proportions.

Like any crazy scientist, he decides to inject his pet monkey. This is how Konga is born. Alas, Konga is hypnotized by the doctor and sent out to destroy his fellow scientists. There's also a love triangle with the doctor, his assistant and his girlfriend. In the end, poor Konga is just used a pawn to seek revenge against other people.

Whether you look deranged gorillas or sympathetic gorillas, there's a giant gorilla just waiting for you. Let's face it: , but it doesn't hurt to watch these movies so you have a better appreciation for the big guy.

Which depiction of extra large simians is your favorite?


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