King Kong Lives (1986) Friday Morning Creature Feature

OK it’s Saturday already so bite me if you want, but how could I resist the idea that King Kong had somehow survived the carnage inflicted by those helicopter gunships at the conclusion of the Dino de Laurentis King Kong (1976) and that ten years later the giant ape was on outsize life support at an American scientific institute.

King Kong Lives 2

Poor old Kong’s heart needs to be replaced so 1980’s big haired Dr Amy Franklyn (Linda Hamilton) has built him a super-duper computer controlled one, only trouble there just aren’t any giant ape blood donors about for Kong to survive the operation. That is until Hank Mitchell (Brian Kerwin) goes prospecting for diamonds in Borneo. Unlikely as it seems it turns out that Borneo was once joined to Kong Island (not Skull Island here) and with the aid of some handy natives and their trusty tranquilizer blow darts Mitch captures the lady giant gorilla that nobody had ever noticed lived there before.

king kong
he’s all heart

Back in the USA Lady Kong’s donated blood helps Kong pull through his heart transplant, (which judging from the lack of any scaring must have been done by keyhole surgery), only for sex to rear its ugly head. Enraged by lust Kong breaks out of the facility, liberates Lady Kong and takes off for the wilderness. In hot pursuit mad Colonel Nevitt (John Ashton) recaptures Lady Kong and locks her up in a missile silo while Kong is presumed dead when he takes a tumble of a cliff.

Ain’t love sweet

Only he isn’t, somehow the 50 foot tall gorilla has survived undetected living wild on a diet of alligators, what’s more he wants the now pregnant Mrs Kong back, cue more carnage and a predictably bitter-sweet ending.

OK King Kong Lives is completely daft, most of the giant monkey business is performed by furry suited actors with model tanks and helicopters and the action is limited to the great American outdoors avoiding too much expenditure on miniature set building.   Hamilton and Kerwin do the typical brainy woman and rough adventurer initially dislike each other but then fall in lurve as they try to prevent the cigar chomping mad colonel from splatting the great apes.

OK some of the acting is a bit wooden and most of the gags fall flat, but overall King Kong Lives wasn’t as bad as some of the reviews had led me to believe it would be, however it lacked the kind of city trampling spectacle that you’d get from a Japanese man in a suit monster movie and that did make it drag once the initial novelty had worn off.  I give it a 333/666.

Expect to pay around a quid from an Amazon reseller


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