Saturday, September 13, 2008

Trailer Trash XI: Queen Kong (1976)

"Queen Kong - the Liberated Lady Gorilla!"

Yep, this movie was made. Sometimes that's the best review you can give a film.

A short history: In 1976, a pretty mediocre remake of King Kong (no, not THAT mediocre King Kong remake) was made, produced by Academy Award-winner Dino De Laurentiis. Just a short flight across the Atlantic, a bunch of Brits set to work on a parody titled... get ready... Queen Kong.

The film existed more or less as a vehicle to make PMS jokes about a giant gorilla. In the movie, an effeminate hippie named Ray Fay (Ray Fay, get it? GET IT???) befriends a giant she-gorilla and they have many zany gorilla-centric adventures.

At 0:01 - Kong! Kong! Kong! Kong!
At 0:40 - Ray Fay and the Gorilla wink at each other, setting the tone for the whole movie.
At 0:46 - Notice as the T-Rex's face squishes inward as it's pounded on. Through no small feat of suck, the monsters in this movie are somehow less realistic than the ones in the 1933 original.
At 1:05 - Love the muzak soundtrack to this scene.
At 1:20 - No comment on that punch.
At 1:30 - Strange monster plant = perfect opportunity for gratuitous ass shot.
At 1:38 - Yep, Queen Kong wears a bra.
At 2:35 - I think that lady getting punched was possibly the first intentionally funny part of the trailer.
At 2:50 - Just in case we forgot this was a British movie.
At 3:10 - And again. They don't want you to forget where this movie was made.
At 3:25 - The Queen Kong Song was certainly snubbed by the Academy.

The film had sunk into obscurity when a lawsuit from Dino De Laurentiis severely limited its release to a few European countries.

Strangely, though...

... the movie gained a huge cult following in Japan in the mid-90s, which has slowly spread west. Why Japan? Who knows. (Rachel, I'm looking at you...?)

"She's in one of her moods again!"

Muderati on story structure, building a second act

Alexandra Sokoloff, writing at crime fiction blog Murderati, has been posting a series of pieces dissecting story structure and the elements of a strong, dramatic story.

She's just posted her thoughts on Act 2:

Act Two is summed up by the greats such as, like, you know, Aristotle - as “Rising Tension” or “Progressive Complications”. Or in the classic screenwriting formula: Act One is “Get the Hero Up a Tree”, and Act Two is “Throw Rocks at Him” (and for the impatient out there, like Toni, the end-skipper, I’ll reveal that Act Three is; “Get Him Down.”)

All true enough, but a tad vague for my taste.

So let’s get more specific.

The beginning of the second act of a book or film (30 minutes or thirty script pages into a film, 100 or so pages into a book) – can often be summed up as “Into the Special World” or “Crossing the Threshold”. Dorothy opening the door of her black and white house and stepping into Technicolor Oz one of the most famous and graphic examples… Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole is another. The passageway to the special world might be particularly unique… like the wardrobe in THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE; that between-the-numbers subway platform in the HARRY POTTER series; Alice again, going THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS; the tornado in THE WIZARD OF OZ; the blue pill (or was it the red pill?) in THE MATRIX; or the tesseract in A WRINKLE IN TIME.

This step might come in the first act, or somewhat later in the second act, but it’s generally the end or beginning of a sequence – think of ALIEN (the landing on the planet to investigate the alien ship), STAR WARS, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARC, going out on the ocean in that too-small boat in JAWS, flying down to Cartagena in ROMANCING THE STONE, flying to Rio in NOTORIOUS, stopping at the Bates Motel in PSYCHO. It’s often the beginning of an actual, physical journey in an action movie; in a ghost story it is entering the haunted house (or haunted anything). It’s a huge moment and deserves special weight.

Obviously, this is useful beyond the world of crime fiction, but fiction in general, in any form. Here are her thoughts on creating your first act.

And, you savvy Connelly fans will find a quick reference to our favorite anti-hero, Detective Harry Bosch, in the first section of the post, where Sokoloff responds to an email about characters changing over longer periods of time (many books vs. one). Interesting reading.