King Kong (1978)

If you haven’t seen it yet, I strongly recommend that you check out the short film Super 8 Daze, by Rob Hampton.

He’s a professional filmmaker who made a lot of short documentary films about pop culture, things like The Gong Show, The Planet of the Apes and  those classic Aurora model kits kids my age grew up with.  Like a lot of today’s professionals, Hampton started out making short Super 8 movies with the help of his friends and family.

Somewhere along the line, he rediscovered that treasure trove of films, and just for fun cleaned them up and added music, sound effects and character voices and narration (they were shot silent, but he added the voices when he showed them originally.  After all these years, he still remembered those lines word for word!).

He was stunned, however, by what happened when he released them on Youtube: the views kept climbing and climbing, and a decade later, this film now has over 300,000 views.

Impressive.

King Kong represented perhaps his finest moment with that Super 8 camera, as he spent all summer making this little film, reproducing his favorite moments from the original with the help of his friends, his action figures, some clever model work, and some stop motion animation realized with the help of a new camera that let him take single frames.

What stands out when you watch these five minutes is just how much joy went into all this.  True, it defies any idea we have of great film, with choppy editing and occasionally wonky camera work and minimal acting, but we get to see an amazing recreation of Kong’s battles, of the log scene, and even that legendary death atop a skyscraper, all made by a bunch of kids with a cheap camera and a few free afternoons.

It’s certainly more fun than the remake Dino De Laurentiis made two years earlier.

Hey, it’s still up on Youtube.  It’s only five minutes long.  It’s a lot of fun.

Do you really need another reason to watch it?

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