King Kong 1976 remake poster hits new heights in hyperbole

This King Kong poster for the 1976 remake features the most over-the-top ad slogan, ever.

The most exciting original motion picture event of all time.



This line – and the poster – requires a bit of dissection. First, let’s look at the statement.

“Original” as a word can be dismissed immediately. Apparently, the writer of this slogan never saw the ORIGINAL Kong, which was a movie RKO made in 1933.

“Most exciting”? Well, I would say that before this movie came out there were exciting moments in cinema, but I needed to do some research. I googled “most exciting films” and I found that a lot of exciting movies came out before 1976. Granted, most of them did not feature a giant ape (though Sean Connery is pretty hairy). I also have SEEN 1976’s Kong remake, and I can in hindsight say that this statement is unequivocally false. Hell, Live and Let Die is a more exciting film, even being incredibly racist.

“Event”? Yes, by the strictest definition of the term, a motion picture release is an event. So, win one for the ad copy. Is it an “of all time” event? No.

So, your more accurate slogan is that King Kong is “The motion picture event.” Succinct, precise, and accurate.

Now, onto the poster itself. It is a GREAT poster, in that it is completely over the top and unrealistic. Kong is out of proportion to the World Trade Center, the blonde he is holding is also WAY out of scale to the buildings he is striding, and apparently he is crushing – what, an ICBM? Kong’s mouth is a gapping maw of existential angst – The Scream, if that painting featured a giant ape with an affinity for blondes.

I had this poster in my room when I was a kid – I think I paid for it with money I got from selling GRIT magazine – and I loved it. Still do, because it is just completely wrong and oh-so-right at the same time. And I still think the ’76 Kong is underrated as a film. Is it a good film? No. But it has some great moments, and a fantastic John Barry score.

Too bad the movie never lived up to the audacious awesomeness of the poster.

Joseph Dickerson is a user experience professional and UX Lead for Microsoft based out of Atlanta, GA. He has implemented processes in user testing, design and ethnographic research and provided design and consulting services for many different projects and organizations.

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