Big Monster Mayhem with Gorgo, Konga, & Reptilicus!

Former Marvel editor, Tony Isabella, joined artist, Mark Maddox, for a G-FEST XXIV panel discussion on giant monster films outside of Japan –  specifically Gorgo, Kongo, and Reptilicus. This would be the last panel I’d attend at this event and would also prove one of the most entertaining! The following are highlights from the panel…

*Other than the mother monster, there are virtually NO females in Gorgo.

*Gorgo, Konga, and Reptilicus all had novelizations that are a lot less kid-friendly and contain sexual situations. Definitely females in the Gorgo novel!

*KISSGene Simmons’ dragon boots are said to be designed after the head of Gorgo.

*Charlton Comics had a Gorgo, Konga, & Reptilicus comic series. Steve Ditko, co-creator of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, drew the best of Gorgo & Konga and both are now available as “Ditko MONSTERS” hardcover collections.

*Despite the great poster art, Konga doesn’t reach giant size until the final minutes of the film.

*In one of the most popular comic stories of  the Konga comic book,”Konga’s Revenge,” the ape actually shrinks in size. In one scene there a desk photo of a woman in the background who changes her gaze to see wherever Konga is in different panels. This is indicative of Charlton Comics’ penchant for inserting humor in their stories.

*Only in the Danish release of Reptilicus does the monster actually use its wings and fly (and if you’ve seen that particular part, you’ll see why the United States likely removed it.

*The US version, on the other hand, added the monster’s ability to spit green slime and disintegrate its victims.

*Both the US and Danish version have their own memorable (for all the wrong reasons) musical numbers. In the US version there’s a night club scene featuring the infamous “Tivoli Nights” while the Danish version contains a bizarre children’s song led by one of the film’s comical leads, Dirk Passer.

*Ironically, Dirk Passer (the goofy janitor) was a popular Danish comedian and in many ways the Jerry Lewis of Denmark. Though often maligned by viewers, he was likely the biggest star in the movie.

*One of the most harrowing scenes in the film was a lot more dangerous than you think. Stunt men were hired to “fall” off the drawbridge when it’s foolishly opened during the city’s exodus from the monster. Unfortunately, after taking one look at how far down the drop actually was, they refused to do it. This led the desperate film-makers to enlist the aid of a local bicycle team to do it in exchange for new equipment. They agreed and it is unknown if any were injured in the process. Both Isabella and Maddox agree that it’s a truly frightening moment in an otherwise campy movie.

*There were two versions of Reptilicus filmed – one with the Danish actors speaking Dutch and the other with them speaking English. Unfortunately, the lilting Dutch voice inflection didn’t sound right when they’re speaking English and AIP ended up dubbing over it anyway (which was rather easy since their mouths were speaking the same words). This infuriated director, Sidney W. Pink, who proceeded to sue AIP. Pink was known for being litigious and also tried suing Monarch publishing (Charlton Comics) for the “pornographic nature” of the Reptilicus novel.

*Panel moderator, Isabella, (who read the novel shortly before G-FEST) states that Pink may have had a point regarding his complaint of the novel. In the book, the miner who first discovers Reptilicus has sex with both the scientist’s daughters, the gruff US General gets it on with the female UN scientist in the office while planning their assault on the monster, and in just about every chapter somebody is (as Isabella calls it) “canoodling.”

In the comics, even Reptilicus gets lucky. In Reptisaurus #4 (the Reptilicus title was changed to Reptisaurus, possibly due to Pink’s lawsuit with Charlton/Monarch) the horny creature spends twenty pages searching for a mate before finally finding one. This leads to some rough foreplay and the military watching the two esentially mate!

Thus ended another fun G-FEST. It was short and sweet but I made the choice to use my resources to see Harou Nakajima at the Days of the Dead a couple week’s earlier. I felt it was important for us to see the man behind the Godzilla suit at least one more time. In lieu of his last week, I believe I made the right choice. Rest in peace, Harou, and thank you for enhancing the childhood’s of both Terror Daves while making Godzilla the undisputed “King of Monsters.”

~Dave Fuentes

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