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The success of King Kong is primarily ascribed to the compelling nature of this monstrous beast and the state of the art special effects that brought him to life. Less often recognized is the extent to which the success of King Kong can be attributed to its place in the history of both documentary and classic Hollywood cinema. To truly understand the forces that conspired to create this awesome ape, we need to consider the origins of filmmaking, early natural history film, and the birth of film genres.
Egyptomania took hold of Europe and North Americathis remarkable civilization was then thought to have flourished a mere millennium after the Earths creation in 4004 B.C.E.and it has retained its hold on us ever since. Mummies, in particular, stimulated imaginations. Some of them remained so lifelike; what if they, in fact, came back to life?
Count these three in the orphaned category: Ravenous (1999), Session 9 (2001) and Frailty (2001), all movies that pretty much fell through the cracks of the system. While most films are sold with comparisons to other films they resemble, these films are best characterized their differences with mainstream fare. No wonder they didnt make the grade in your local mall mega-theater. Theyre all readily available on VHS and DVD, however, and theyre just the kind of thing that might appeal to readers of this monster magazine (into which one may sink ones teeth).
Alpha Video, a company with a large slate of bare bones DVD releases of old films, has released The Return of Chandus twelve chapters in two volumes sold as separate DVDs. While I certainly found this serial interesting and worth my time as a Lugosi fan, Im going to give these discs a mixed review and leave it to you to decide if Chandu is worth your time.
In 1998, Scott Essman, a lifelong monster movie fan, decided he wanted to produce a project that would pay homage to the man who gave a face to the monsters we know and love. With the films still under copyright, using clips would be prohibitive. Essman chose to produce a play. Two years in the making, the play Jack Pierce: the Man Behind the Monsters was performed only once. The performance, however, was recorded and is now available in DVD format.