Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Movie Review: The Bloody Ape

There was a time when all the movie monsters that people needed were jungle critters, and gorillas ruled that particular roost. They thrilled us in movies like The Ape, Nabonga, Bride of the Gorilla, The Hairy Ape, Gorilla at Large, Konga, The Killer Ape, The White Gorilla, Zanga and countless more. Even Bela Lugosi met a Brooklyn Gorilla, and don't forget King Kong and Mighty Joe Young. Besides Bela (more that once!), Boris Karloff shared the silver screen with an ape, as did the Ritz Brothers, Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, William Bendix, Gabby Hayes (!), and of course, Fay Wray. I'm link lazy at the moment, check out IMDB or google for details on these bananafests.

So yeah, Gorillas have been the focus of many a flick, and part of their appeal is their relative naivety. Apes behave very much like children, and like kids, the unscrupulous can easily take advantage of them. How many times has the ape wound up as the bad guy because some ass of a human being figured out a way to exploit him? Poor, dumb animal... now destroy him!

This roundabout introduction to The Bloody Ape serves to remind that there's a cinematic history behind gorilla movies. Keith Crocker certainly kept it in mind and paid loving tribute to the tradition while making this movie.

Crocker... hmmmm, where have we heard that name before? Oh yeah, he's the guy behind Cinefear, an awesome resource for hard-to-find cult flicks. I also quoted him way back (October 2004) on an earlier incarnation of Rocket Jones in Mucho Queso Gracias.

The Bloody Ape is loosely based on Poe's "Murders in the Rue Morgue", except that Poe never had this many naked women in his stories. Aside from that, here we have unrequited love, carny trash, a bigot who makes Archie Bunker look like Mother Teresa, the aforementioned naked women, cops, scapegoats, and the gorilla. Lots of violence, gore, mayhem, and another first for me: ape rape. Quite different from gorilla bangs blow-up doll, which I have seen in a movie. Shut up.

The Bloody Ape is only 77 minutes long, which didn't surprise me because independent movies often run a bit shorter than what we're used to. Shot entirely on Super 8, the sound and lighting are uneven in spots, and sometimes the acting is... er, independent. You know what? It's intentional. This movie was made in 1997, and Crocker deliberately set out to make a flick that looked like it was made twenty five years earlier. Tarantino and Rodriguez did the exact same thing ten years later with Grindhouse, but with much (much much much) bigger budgets.

This is definitely not mainstream, but for lovers of independent cinema, exploitation movies, or members of the Cheetah fan club, it's a fun way to spend an evening. Especially with a large pitcher of banana daiquiris. And Jane. Or other swingers.


Stephen said...

I cannot remember the last time I had time to sit and watch a movie let alone craft a well thought out well written review. And though we might not share the same taste in movies (though we certainly agree on the cinematic value of "many naked women") I do enjoy reading about how much you enjoy them.

As for the gorilla doing the blow-up doll - I'm not sure I want to know!

Gone, long gone. said...

What kind of violence is it? Is it the ape ripping people to pieces? Does the ape look halfway realistic or pretty much like a Halloween costume?

dogette said...

Probably have to sit this one out; just not a fan of movies with monkeys in them. I couldn't even stand the Eastwood monkey films and I like Eastwood in everything, usually.

Oooh oooh rooh rooh aaah ahhh.

LeeAnn said...

Carnival movies in general have a special creepy frisson about them. Ape movies fascinate me because apes have that quality of being us a couple steps removed. Both together sounds like a squirmy must-see fest.
I'll have to look for this one now, just to see how squooged out I can be and not put my hands over my eyes.

LeeAnn said...

PS... just found it in Netflix and added it to my queue.

The Maximum Leader said...

Is there any combination of violence and naked women?