The marketing for Kong: Skull Island has so far been solid, but this hand-painted Japanese effort – which dropped yesterday – is simply outstanding. Every hand-painted inch is brimming with excitement: flanked by horrible skeletal monsters and roaring flames, Kong bellows as he mashes a helicopter in a single mighty paw. Gorgeously rendered in bold, primary colours, it’s consciously reminiscent of the cartoonish one sheets of Toho Studios’ over the top Kaiju films of the 1960s and 70s, which were sold on the over-sized promises of their one sheets. It’s also a clear statement of intent following the mixed reception to the first installment of their shared monster universe, the 2014 reboot of Godzilla.
Godzilla is Toho’s most famous property, but Toho did feature two films with the eponymous gorilla, King Kong vs. Godzilla and King Kong Escapes. Suffice to say, Toho’s posters for these films were easily as exuberant as Legendary’s promo, and twice as bonkers. Let’s take a look!
King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
Wheeeeee! As Tokyo burns, a mischievous Kong swings the King of the Monsters by the tail, caring not a jot for the destruction and mayhem that they’re causing. And if that’s not enough to get you in the cinema, the enormous, bold font announcing their battle royale should be. Apparently it worked, and the ludicrous King Kong vs. Godzilla – which really is as insane as the poster suggests – remains Japan’s highest grossing Godzilla film to date.
Kaiju on tour: More like an advert for club 18-30, this effort sees our monsters rampaging through Tokyo on a binge of destruction. This one is less suggestive of a clash between the titans, but certainly captures the gleeful orgy of mayhem that these two liabilities wreak on the city.
A cracking panoramic one sheet here. On the left, Godzilla spews highlights from the film in his atomic breath, while Kong on the right chuckles in admiration. Supposedly mortal enemies, this poster for King Kong vs. Godzilla suggests an altogether more playful relationship between the two.
King Kong Escapes (1967)
We’ve been rumbled! Mechani-Kong has finally had enough of these troublesome idiots, coming in to break up the brotherly tussle between Regular Kong and the Godzilla-esque Gorosaurus. The pathetic fallacy abounds in the rage-red sky, and as the tiny humans look on in terror, the woman in the bottom left corner of the poster can’t decide what to have for dinner.
Ugh, this is so unfair. Sent back to his room by an army of toy helicopters to think about what he’s done, Kong throws a massive strop in the only way a 60 foot gorilla can.
Has the poster for Kong: Skull Island got you in the mood for the new film? And have these posters made you want to revisit the classics? Comment below with your thoughts and examples of insane kaiju posters.