THE MIGHTY PEKING MAN
(Hsing Hsing Wang)
The Mighty Peking Man is terrible on most counts. It proves to be not so much a ripoff of King Kong as it is an uncredited rehash of Mighty Joe Young (1949), a film about a giant ape befriended by a girl, with both being brought to civilization with expectedly disastrous results. Although this is a Mighty Joe Young by way of Sheena, Queen of the Jungle (1956-7), wherein the Terry Moore role is now taken up by a blonde jungle girl in leather miniskirt. The part is played by model Evelyne Kraft who is in a word terrible. The performance she delivers gives the impression that there is entirely nothing going on between her ears. There is a scene in the middle of the film with her and hero Li Hsiu-Hsien romping through the jungle, bathing, swinging a tiger around on their shoulders, accompanied by a banal pop song, which is hysterical in its insipidity.
The Peking Man is a cheap-looking ape suit. (It should be noted that this Peking Man comes from the Himalayas, not China where Peking is, and is a giant ape that has nothing at all to do with the original Peking Man from anthropology, an early hominid from 200,000-7000,000 years ago). There is some terrible opticals and laughable scenes with the ape conducting wrestling matches with Tonka Toy trucks, although it has to be said that these effects are marginally better conducted and with more vigour than the South Korean entry A.P.E..
Director Ho Meng-Hua directed 57 films for Hong Kongs premiere production company Shaw Brothers between the 1950s and the 1990s in genres that range from romance to crime to martial arts and swordsman films. His other ventures into fantasy include:- Seven Immortal Woman (1963) about a fairy on Earth; Monkey Goes West (1966), Princess Iron Fan (1966) and The Cave of the Silken Web (1967), a series of films based on the classic Chinese legend Journey to the West; the Wu Xia The Land of Many Perfumes (1968) and Vengeance is a Golden Blade (1969); The Human Goddess (1972) about a goddess come to Earth; the horror films Black Magic (1975), Oily Maniac (1976), Black Magic 2 (1978), The Rape After (1984) and Evil Black Magic (1992).