I love cheesy B movies. I always have and I always will. It’s because of this that I love the movies of The Asylum, their filmmakers are the new Roger Cormans. In this series, I will take a look at all of their so-called “mockbusters”, and compare them to their theatrical counterparts. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
King of the Lost World
First in the series is Leigh Scott’s King of the Lost World, an incredibly loose adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s story of the same name. The DVD cover claims to be the inspiration for not only King Kong, but also Jurassic Park . But they should be honest, and admit they’re taking a bit of inspiration from Lost. That is one hell of a cash-in. Though its release was primarily timed to capitalize on Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong.
The film stars no recognizable actors, save Bruce Boxleitner, but the cast of unknowns are surprisingly not terrible for a straight-to-DVD movie. I was expecting some hard-core cheese from the actors, the plot and/or the monsters, but aside from some admittedly weak CGI it really wasn’t that bad and I don’t know if that disappointed me or not.
Here’s how the movie goes: The first thing you see is a plane crash into a fucking mountain. That’s the set-up, an action shot. The survivors from the back half start performing triage and looking for lost loved ones, though it soon dawns on them that they need to find the cockpit so they can radio for help. One of the survivors spies the other half of the plane in the distance and decides to go find it. One group goes with him while another stays behind in case a rescue plane comes looking for them. This is essentially the last we see of the group that stays behind.
As the more adventurous survivors traipse through the jungle they encounter a giant spider that looks like it could have been in an episode of the Sarah Jane Adventures, man-eating vines (I’m honestly not even sure how that works), the corpse of a god-damned dragon, a cave full of giant scorpions and kidnapping natives. And at only 80 minutes, it moves at a pretty fast clip. Once they’re captured, it comes time for the sacrifice. Sacrifice to whom and why you may ask. To ” the winged ones” so that they will protect the natives from “him.” “The winged ones” are the dragons we saw earlier, and “he” is a giant ape that is never actually called King Kong.
Of course there is an escape, and a Pyrrhic victory involving a nuclear warhead. Yes, seriously. All in all not a bad way to start off a year of mockbusters.
Also, the credits include the phrase, “No giant apes or dragons were harmed during the production of this screenplay. Maybe some giant scorpions got mad, but that’s about it.” I think I may love this movie.
How does it compare?
Honestly? I will watch this 100 times before I watch Peter Jackson’s King Kong again. I rewatched Kong yesterday, so I could compare it because I hadn’t seen it since it first came out. I couldn’t finish it. King of the Lost World is actually much better paced than King Kong and frankly I kind of care about the characters more. Oh yea, and the fact that Scott shot on location helps a lot. Everything in King Kong looks like a soundstage. How is it that this movie, which probably cost less than Kong‘s catering budget, looks less fake? Aside from the monsters, obviously.
Next week: H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds