ByMark Newton, writer at
Movie Pilot Associate Editor. Email: [email protected]
Mark Newton

We heard the exciting and, let's face it, slightly predictable news, that Legendary Pictures wanted to face their major monster franchises, Godzilla and King Kong, off against each other.

As well as producing Gareth Edwards' 2014 Godzilla reboot, the studio also has their hands on the rights to King Kong, and aim to reboot the character with Kong: Skull Island. However, we now know that this movie will only re-introduce the character of Kong, with the aim of eventually pitting the damsel-kidnapping chimp against the mighty-toed stomper of Tokyo.

To celebrate the upcoming clash of the cinematic titans, let's look at some insane trivia facts for Godzilla, King Kong and their history of animosity.

1. Godzilla vs King Kong Was Almost King Kong vs Frankenstein

Back in the 1960s, animator Willis O'Brien wanted to develop a cinematic slap-around between King Kong and the iconic Frankenstein's monster. The idea was shipped to Japan's Toho Films, the original kaiju masterminds behind Godzilla. Although receptive to the idea, they eventually persuaded O'Brien to ditch Frankenstein and go with Godzilla. The result was 1962's King Kong vs Godzilla - Toho's most financially successful Godzilla movie.

2. Batman vs Godzilla Was Almost A Thing

Back in the Adam West Batman years, there were preliminary discussions about creating a Batman vs Godzilla live-action film. However, the plans seemingly never got off the ground.

3. He Has Fought The Avengers Though

Although DC decided to pass on Godzilla, Marvel were only too keen to set their Avengers against the giant city-razing reptile. From 1977 to 1979, Marvel ran a 24-issue series of The Avengers, and The Fantastic Four, battling Godzilla.

4. King Kong vs Godzilla Featured Live Octopuses

In the fight scene between Kong and the natives, four live octopuses and a plastic model were used. To keep the octopuses moving, the special effects team used hot air fans and attempted to direct their movements. After the scene was complete, most were released - except for one tasty-looking critter who was eaten by special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya for dinner.

5. Godzilla Was Originally an Octopus

If the above fact didn't prove this, Japan has always enjoyed a 'close relationship' with eight-legged cephalopods. With this in mind, Godzilla was originally envisioned as a giant octopus who ravaged Tokyo. Eventually he was transformed to a more manageable radioactive lizard.

6. The Church of God-Zillah

In a rather bizarre coincidence, the small town of Zillah in Washington has a church titled The Church of God - Zillah. It actually predates the release of 1954's original Gojira, although in more recent years the church has embraced the inescapable pun.

Behind the church you can find a wire-sculpture of Godzilla, complete with a cross and placard.

7. King Kong's Directorial Cameos

Both the original 1933 King Kong and Peter Jackson's 2005 King Kong feature directorial cameos - in the same scene.

In the original King Kong, director Merian C. Cooper, who had flown as a pilot in World War I, cast himself and partner Earnest B. Schoedsack in the role of fighter-plane pilots during the climatic Empire State Building battle, stating: “We might as well kill the son of a bitch ourselves." You can watch the original King Kong Empire State Building scene below:

Peter Jackson followed their lead by also casting himself in a cameo as a machine-gunner aboard a Kong-strafing bi-plane. Check him out in the video, at 0:36, below:

8. Hitler Loved King Kong

King Kong was apparently one of Hitler's favorite movies, along with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Laurel and Hardy movies. He reportedly watched it many times in his private cinema.

9. King Kong Was Partly Inspired by Anti-German Propaganda

Let's stick with German militarism for a moment. The original idea of a giant ape kidnapping a beauty and ravishing New York City was apparently partly provided by World War I recruitment posters which portrayed Germany as a violent ape.

However, although this provided the aesthetic, Cooper also wanted to humanize King Kong and generate sympathy towards the character, ironically reversing the purpose of the poster which aimed to dehumanize the Germans.

10. King Kong Was Seen As A Metaphor for Economic Depression

King Kong was a huge success in 1933, only 4 years after the major Wall Street Crash. A massive ape destroying New York apparently struck a cord with audiences who related his urban destruction with the economic decline of the country.

11. Peter Jackson Recreated Lost King Kong Scene

The original 1933 King Kong included a scene in which sailors fell into a ravine inhabited by giant spiders. However, rumor states that the scene was deemed too terrifying for audiences at the time and was cut from the film before eventually being lost. Alternatively, Cooper himself claims he cut the scene merely because it slowed down the movie.

Peter Jackson decided to pay homage to this lost scene by included an updated, CGI-filled approximation of the terror in his 2005 remake.

12. The CGI-Empire State Building Took Longer To Build Than The Real Thing

Peter Jackson's King Kong featured a CGI-Empire State Building that took 18 months to craft and compile. Meanwhile, the real thing was built in only 14 months.


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