It wasn’t “beauty that killed the beast”, it was the damned men in planes shooting bullets at him that did it.
I always saw Kong as a sympathetic character, not some giant wild beast that needed to be taught a lesson. And frankly the whole “falling in love with a tiny human woman” thing wasn’t merely a bit of a stretch, it’s downright inter-species weirdness. Fay Wray is simply a maguffin, a plot device. I felt comfortable ignoring her role in all this and focusing on the big guy, and the city of Manhattan.
Here’s an appropriately cheesy video, which shows the effect far better than the stitched-together photo above.
Kong is a peaceable gorilla, completely unaware that he’s a hundred feet tall, just hanging out on his own island, not a care in the world, King of the Jungle. …but along comes Man in a giant metal smoke-belching floating thing, dragging him to another world, and chasing him to the top of stone and steel tree, where he’s attacked and shot by men in metal birds.
Sure, “King Kong” is just a story. But it isn’t one of a gorilla that falls in love with a human woman and who dies trying to protect her. It’s just an amplified telling of the same age-old tale: Man (capital ‘M’) sees something that scares or amazes or transfixes him, something he doesn’t understand, and so he decides it needs to be hunted and destroyed. Whales, tigers, elephants… All the great beasts under siege and threatened with extinction. News last week that one Northern White Rhinoceros is left in the wild.
Perhaps over the top. But for the past five years or so, all of these pumpkins have an underlying theme: the primal fear that arises when a living thing is confronted by an unknowable otherworldly phenomenon, beyond their control, helpless against it, and overwhelmed.
Kong has no idea why he is there, or what is happening to him. That’s some primal fear, in my book.
Some Details… everything that is bright has been carved deep into the pumpkin, and the dark areas are untouched skin. All shading is everything in between.
Thankfully, Kong’s left arm and hand, grasping desperately at a firing biplane, conveniently hides the Brooklyn and East River bridges. It was a bad enough idea to carve the mast of the Empire State Building front and center, in the foreground.
I painted the mock-up in photoshop very quickly, by collaging together some reference photos of the city, a model shot I had made from a model of the Empire State Building (in Cinema4d, with a fish-eye Lens rig), and from some shots of a few airplane models I had found in Google’s 3d-Warehouse, which I posed and lit as I needed them. Then overpainted everything to semi-meld it together for use as a reference.
And after that, it’s time to get out the tools…
This year’s Pumpkin-of-Choice was a 76-pounder, home grown ‘Atlantic Giant’.
Hope you enjoyed it, Happy Halloween.