The Meat-Eater is a carnivorous dinosaur that famously battled King Kong in the 1933 RKO Radio Pictures film King Kong, as well as the 1932 novelization based on its script. The meat-eater also appeared in Joe DeVito and Brad Strickland's 2005 rewrite of the novelization titled Merian C. Cooper's King Kong, and other members of its species were featured in the book's official prequel and sequel, Kong: King of Skull Island.
It has been debated for many years whether or not the theropod dinosaur that King Kong fought in the 1933 film was actually a Tyrannosaurus or an Allosaurus. In the film's script and novelization, it is only referred to as a "meat-eater." Director Merian C. Cooper referred to the theropod as Allosaurus, while stop-motion animators Willis O'Brien and Marcel Delgado identified it as a Tyrannosaurus. In its more recent appearances in literature, the meat-eater's description more closely matches that of a Tyrannosaurus than an Allosaurus.
The dinosaur is never referred to by any specific name onscreen, however the screenplay for King Kong as well as the film's novelization refer to it as the "meat-eater." The dinosaur is also referred to as a "meat eater" (unhyphenated) in the 2005 rewrite of the novelization by Brad Strickland and Joe DeVito, while the novel's prequel and sequel Kong: King of Skull Island features another dinosaur more closely resembling a T-rex with the same name, which also refers to the adult individual as a king dinosaur. Willis O'Brien had stated that the dinosaur was meant to be a Tyrannosaurus rex, and as a result the creature is often considered to be such by most audiences, though director Merian C. Cooper referred to the dinosaur as an Allosaurus.
The Tyrannosaurus rex stop motion model used in King Kong was originally created for Willis O'Brien's canceled film Creation, as was the case with many of the creatures featured in the film.
The Meat-Eater's puppet as seen in the original King Kong was based on the famous tail-dragging skeletal mount of the Tyrannosaurus rex displayed at the American Museum of Natural History in the early 20th century, which was later reconfigured in the 1980's because it was anatomically inaccurate. Its bumpy skin is shown to be pinkish-brown in the colorized version of the film, however the novelization's dust jacket portrays it with smooth green skin and a crest of spines running down its back, where its head is additionally supported by a supple, serpentine neck. Its mouth is filled with sharp teeth, and it has two small, nearly useless arms that are described as only being useful for putting food into its mouth. Its strong hind legs allowed it to move around through a series of short hops. In the film and the original novelization, the Meat-Eater is depicted with three digits on its hands. In Merian C. Cooper's King Kong and Kong: King of Skull Island, the Meat-Eater is redesigned to reflect more modern reconstructions of Tyrannosaurus rex, with a more horizontal posture and its tail held suspended in the air behind it, as well as a shorter and less curved neck. The Meat-Eater still has a crest of spikes running all the way from the top of its head to its tail. In these novels, the Meat-Eater now has only two digits on its hands, like Tyrannosaurus rex is now known to have possessed.
HistorySkull Island in 1933. As King Kong was travelling across Skull Island with his "bride," Ann Darrow, he realized that the crew of the Venture were following him, and so he set Ann down atop a tree while he went to attack the expedition. While Kong was distracted by this, the Meat-Eater appeared from the jungle and began to menace Ann, intent on eating her. After hearing Ann's screams, Kong rushed to her aid, and began fighting the dinosaur. After a long and drawn-out battle, Kong snapped the Meat-Eater's jaws, incapacitating it, before continuing on his way with Ann. A short time later, Jack Driscoll encountered the Meat-Eater, still breathing but barely alive. As he watched, the dinosaur finally died.
After hopping out of the jungle, the Meat-Eater saw Ann Darrow in a tree while Kong was distracted by shaking the crew of the S.S. Venture off of a log bridging a chasm. After Ann screamed in terror, Kong threw the log into the pit and sprang on the Meat-Eater. The dinosaur quickly kicked Kong off with its incredible hind leg strength, but Kong was able to circumvent this by injuring one of its legs. Kong then easily overpowered the Meat-Eater and pried open its jaws, leaving them broken, and the creature dead.
The Meat Eater discovered Darrow high up in a tree, and extended to its full height to examine her before Kong came running. Kong beat the beast back, and it snapped it tried to retaliate, but Kong pushed the beast over. The bulky Meat-Eater flailed about in an attempt to regain its footing while Kong roared in victory. The Meat-Eater roared back in defiance, and was nearly back on its feet before Kong began beating it again. The Meat Eater, once again, pushed Kong away with a kick before he returned and tried to attack its side again. The Meat-Eater however, turned around and stuck him with its tail. Kong grabbed the tail, and began to pound the Meat Eater’s hips mercilessly, causing one of its legs to give way and break under the weight. AS the Meat-Eater attempted to get up, Kong grabbed its skull from behind and beat the reptile’s head, shattering many of its teeth. The Meat-Eater attempted to thrash Kong off to the bitter end, when he snapped its jaws.
After Gaw and her vicious pack of Deathrunners slaughtered a mother and father kong and left their adolescent son for dead, a meat eater and its offspring scavenging for food came upon the carcass of the father kong and began to eat it. Mistaking the meat eater as being responsible for killing his parents, the young kong attacked the dinosaur. The meat eater managed to knock the young kong into a ravine by hitting him with its tail, then it and its offspring returned to their meal.
During the events of Kong: King of Skull Island, Vincent Denham looked over the Skull Island Wall and saw a Meat-Eater, which he noted only as a previously unidentified species, feasting on the corpse of a giant snail. Whether or not the Meat-Eater killed the mollusk or simply found it as carrion was unclear.
- Main article: Meat-Eater/Gallery.
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