With Kong: Skull Island on the horizon, and a rematch between King Kong and Godzilla in the planning stages, the world may be ready to go ape again, but King Kong has always been here, meet me after the jump for some gift ideas that may make you go ape!
The first place to start is with the original 1933 film, the granddaddy classic of giant monster movies, full of adventure, horror, romance, comedy, and not just monster rampages, but also monster fights. A mysterious island from the past, one of the original scream queens, and stop-motion animation that has never been replicated with the precision and quality of this film, King Kong is the first and the greatest, and its soundtrack by Max Steiner, the first original one in Hollywood is phenomenal.
The original King Kong can be found in various packages on DVD and Blu-Ray. The one I own came in a fancy tin along with DVDs of Son of Kong and Mighty Joe Young, both as highly recommended as Kong, but with a much lighter touch. Son was the only official movie spin-off, and later ignored by other media, but it’s not the only continuation of the King Kong tale. Toho, home of Godzilla and friends, with help from Rankin-Bass (the wizards of television Christmas specials), who later made an awesome Saturday morning cartoon about Kong (some of which are available on DVD), produced two movies in the 1960s – King Kong Escapes and King vs. Godzilla, both of which are also available on DVD.
King Kong has been remade twice. Dino DeLaurentis tried an update in 1976, which spawned one of the worst sequels ever decades later, King Kong Lives. That one has not aged well. Peter Jackson lovingly remade the film in 2005 as a period piece, and amped the action considerably. The DVD packages for this film are amazing, which wonderful bonus features like a reconstruction of the lost spider pit sequence, highly recommended.
On the Page
No gift guide suggestion regarding King Kong is complete without mentioning the beautiful work of artist Joe DeVito, with whom I had the opportunity to chat a few months back on The GAR! Podcast right here. First up is the novelization of the film, Merion C. Cooper’s King Kong by DeVito and Brad Strickland, and then that story continues in Kong: King of Skull Island. These books are fantastic, and the ultimate gift for any Kong fan, I can’t recommend them enough.
If you like DeVito’s vision of Kong, I would also suggest checking out the comics series from Dark House, Kong: King of Skull Island. If you have ever wondered the origins of the island and the wall on the island, you’ll dig these comics. And then there’s also that time when Doc Savage met Kong, in the prose novel Doc Savage: Skull Island, featuring cover art by DeVito. So here are just a few suggestions from the world of King Kong for the hard-to-buy-for folks on your list, so go ape!