Killer Elephants ~ 1976, Kom Akkadej, Thailand
I just finished watching Killer Elephants not five minutes before my fingers hit the keys to type up this review, and I have no idea what I’m going to say about this film. I literally just watched it, and I have no idea what in the hell happened in this movie.
THE PLOT~ Umm…. Elephants? And there’s like, different people… who dislike one another… And… I don’t know, dude!
Frankly, this flick is pretty difficult to follow. Some of this can be attributed to what feels like a needlessly convoluted story (I think?), but the rest of the blame lies on how damned hard it is to even pay attention to Killer Elephants. I tried to give a shit, but I’m only one man. This thing is peaks and valleys, the peaks rule, but the valleys? You’re going to tune out and find yourself checking your phone for long periods of time.
The entire first half of the film is quite boring. I was never really able to figure out who the bad guys were, or even if there were bad guys, strictly speaking. Much of the time it felt like the police were the baddies, but then there are also these gangsters, who may or may not have been in league with the police. Then we have the elephants guys, who lived in the jungle, and who seemed like the good guys, even though circumstances placed them opposite our main character, who was, I’m fairly certain, a cop. Or maybe not. If you put my hand on a Bible and placed me under oath, I couldn’t really say a hell of a lot about this movie without fear of perjuring the shit out of myself, but I’ll tell you one thing; if you get the option to watch this with the English dub, take it, the hilarity of how bad the voice overs are will add a layer of entertainment value that I was quite thankful for during the film’s many otherwise unremarkable segments… Translation; the dub sucks and that’s funny.
Additionally, there is some solid elephant related carnage that goes down in the second half of the film, making it noticeably more enjoyable. I’d say that in total, 50% of this movie is just people arguing. You’re not going to know who they are, or why they can’t get along, but you will see them bicker in a number of exotic locales.I’d estimate that about 40% is mostly people shooting each other, often in the jungle… And that’s actually a little bit awesome. The final 10% is elephants f’ing stuff up, which totally and completely rules. At one point, we get to see elephants playing soccer, and that’s delightful. We also get to see them flip over cars, and smash straw huts. Wonderful! At one point, in what is unquestionably the single greatest moment of Killer Elephants, a man is knocked unconscious when he stumbles over and is hit in the head by a swinging elephant penis. For real. The print of Killer Elephants that I had access to was a truly terrible DVD release, and the image was grubby, and badly compressed, but I’m quite sure that that IS what I saw; Man falls over, elephant penis hits him in the head, he’s down for the count. How many times have you seen that in a movie? Not enough, that’s how many. This freaking thing is DAMN entertaining once it get’s going, it’s too bad it isn’t more coherent, and can’t keep the entertainment spread out more evenly.
Some of the violence is pretty cool, and the elephant stuff is great when it finally gets started, but it’s too little too late. I’d like to see this get remade, actually, because again, I have no idea what in the hell I just saw, but it’s insane just how much the Killer Elephants experience is salvaged by the film’s scant highlights. They compensate an impressive amount, and in the end, the film does feel pretty fun, even if roughly half of it is a complete snooze-fest. One way or the other, it’s certainly crazy enough to warrant more of a reputation in the psychotronic community, and if you like weird cinema, I’d say that Killer Elephants is probably worth an hour and a half of relative confusion.