Merrian C. Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack billed the original King Kong as the "strangest story ever conceived by man," but the great romance between us and the great apes predates Kong by quite a stretch. I wrote a bit about this in the current LA Weekly, with a story about the movie that traces that romance back to Enkidu, the wild-man of Gilgamesh and even prehistorically to Gigantopithecus blacki, the very real and very huge, almost Kong-like (or at least Mighty Joe Young-like) Pleistocene ape that, it was just discovered, lived side by side with modern homo sapiens. Then there's the latest in primate biology, which keeps discovering ever more genetic and cognitive affinities between us and our cousins. And of course the recent re-classification of chimpanzees into the hominidae family, right next to us homos. But all that intimacy on the primate family tree is literalized in Kong, which strangely makes for quite a love story, despite the bestiality subtext. Which I suppose does make it strange that a monkey show became the biggest blockbuster ever when it came out in 1933.
Although that subtext turns out to be biologically based: I just read about a new study which shows that human women are aroused by watching monkeys having sex. Medical fact! The paper was in Biological Psychology, and the methodology went right to the source by measuring something called Vaginal Pulse Amplitude. There were male subjects too, but the primate porn did not get a single rise out of their apparatuses. I know -- you'd figure the dudes would be the deviants getting a little thrill from the bonobo boots-knocking. Turns out it's the fairer sex that's biologically amenable to a little monkey love. This might speak to the persistant rumor that Diane Fossey had special "relations" with her subjects, although it seems that consummating such love would pose a few logistical problems. But there it is, ladies: if you found yourself getting turned on when Jackson's Kong and Naomi Watts gazed into each other's eyes or enjoyed their honeymoon sunset together, don't be ashamed. Apparently, it's all in the family.