= Highest Rating
Weird serves up yet another cheese-encrusted double feature
platter from its seemingly inexhaustible vault of schlock. The
company's latest disc pairs two South of the Border exploitation
shockers, Night of the Bloody Apes
(Mexico) and Feast of Flesh, a.k.a.
The Deadly Organ (Brazil). In all honesty I just couldn't
make it through Feast, giving up
after about 15 minutes of mind-numbing tedium. So I won't be
reviewing the DVD's second feature here. Happily, Night
of the Bloody Apes is a completely different experience
a deliriously insane mishmash of exploitation themes, all in
lurid color, incompetently stitched together and very badly
dubbed. In the grand tradition of such venerable Mexican cheesefests
and Samson vs. The Vampire Women,
it delivers plenty of unintentional humor... only this time
liberally sprinkled with jiggling naked flesh and laughably
fake-looking gore effects. (Except for the real-life heart surgery
footage, that is. Yuck!)
If you're familiar
only with the kiddie-friendly antics of El Santo, Night
of the Bloody Apes
may come as something of a shock.
The story, such as
it is, concerns the brilliant surgeon Dr. Krallman (Jose Elias
Moreno) and the drastic measures he employs to keep his ailing
son Julio alive. The handsome young man is dying of leukemia.
There's nothing more the doctors can do, so Krallman takes matters
into his own hands. With the help of his scar-faced, gimpy-legged
servant Goyo (Carlos Moctezuma) —
who, Ygor-style, refers to Krallman as "Master" —
he tranquilizes a gorilla and spirits it away from the local
zoo. (We're shown a real orangutan in the cage, but after Krallman
shoots it with a tranq dart it's suddenly a guy in a cheap gorilla
costume.) The prostrate ape is carried to Krallman's basement
laboratory, where the gorilla's heart is removed and transplanted
into Julio's chest. Supposedly the substitution of animal organs
for a human's can cure leukemia —
go figure! Anyway, the operation seems to work... at first.
But not long afterwards Julio magically pumps up into a muscular
stuntman wearing some pretty bad ape makeup, escaping from the
basement and going on an uncontrolled killing spree across the
city. Any hapless person he encounters is immediately attacked
and savagely killed, though the nubile female victims are conveniently
stripped and roughly fondled in the process. (In one outrageous
scene the monster enters a woman's apartment, surprising her
as she's getting out of the shower. He throws her on the bed
with the obvious intention of rape, but gets so frustrated in
his fumbling that he just kills her instead. The murders, all
copiously drenched in gallons of fake blood, include a stabbing,
an eye gouging, a scalping, and decapitation —
they're simply too ridiculously fake to be taken seriously,
and are actually rather funny. The scalping, for example, is
achieved by ripping a bloody toupee from the pate of a screaming
bald man.) But before the Law can close in on the rampaging
Julio, Doc Krallman and trusty Goyo manage to recapture him
and take him back to the lab. Obviously, a little corrective
surgery is in order. This time Krallman will use a human heart
donor, albeit an involuntary one.
Have I neglected to
mention the professional wrestling angle? How lax of me. In
fact, the movie opens with a bout between masked lady wrestlers.
Lucy (Norma Lazareno), who sports a cute and colorful 'Devil
Girl' costume in the ring, accidentally injures her opponent
during the match. Taken to hospital, the comatose luchadora
is later abducted by Krallman to procure her still-healthy heart.
He replaces Julio's gorilla heart with that of the wrestler;
Goyo dutifully disposes of the cadaver in the lab's handy furnace.
But the switcheroo doesn't work. Even after receiving the human
heart Julio again changes into the murderous ape-man, slaughtering
more people. A police task force, led by Lucy the Devil Girl's
detective boyfriend (the other flimsy excuse to somehow get
wrestling into the movie), mobilizes a dragnet of the city.
Krallman, meanwhile, searches frantically for his wayward son.
Will more innocents die on this Night of the Bloody Ape(s)?
This flick's biggest claim to infamy is its inclusion of actual
open-heart surgery footage, used during the operations on Julio.
It's pretty graphic stuff (unless you're a big fan of those
medical shows on The Discovery Channel), but the clumsy manner
in which it's spliced into the movie had me laughing regardless.
The rest of the gore and most of the nude scenes were also shot/edited
in later, in an attempt to market the film for the adult grindhouse
circuit. (These inserts were added four years afterwards, for
a 1972 re-release.) The English dubbing is often hysterical
— some of the convoluted howlers on hand might've left K. Gordon
Murray himself dumbstruck with awe. Everyone's lines sound exactly
like they were recorded in a booth; there's no background 'hub-hub'
at all in crowd scenes. I sure hope the dubbing is to blame
for one eyebrow-raising scene: hospital administrators sit around
blithely concocting bald-faced lies to explain the disappearance
of the injured wrestler and thus avoid scandal. (That she awoke
from her coma and wandered off while sleepwalking is the adopted
A goofy monster...
lame, excessive gore... atrocious dubbing... gratuitous nudity...
This, folks, is what enjoyably bad movies are all about. Alongside
their U.S. counterparts, I believe the exploitation auteurs
of Mexico can proudly lay claim to have produced the best 'So
Bad They're Good' flicks in the world. Night
of the Bloody Apes does not disappoint in this regard.
¡Viva queso fundido!
Where to begin? This sucker is jam-packed to the gills with bonus
features. Something Weird really tosses in the kitchen sink here,
making the DVD a schlocklover's smorgasbord. As mentioned, it's
a double feature disc, pairing Night of
the Bloody Apes with Feast of Flesh,
which actually played together as a double bill in the States.
The latter film was just too much of a chore to sit through, so
I consider it a 'bonus feature' unto itself. If someone can convince
me it has enough merit to give it another try, I just might. But
I don't think that's possible. Apes,
by the way, is presented fullframe (1.33:1) and displays incredibly
vivid colors. Print damage is minimal. It's actually pretty amazing
how good the transfer looks. The dubbed English audio track is
clean and distortion-free. As for the A/V specs for Feast
of Flesh... who cares? (I really wish Apes
had been paired with The Mighty Gorga
On to the extras!
Lots of trailers are included, which to my mind is always
a cool thing. You get the double feature promo for Night
of the Bloody Apes/ Feast of Flesh,
trailers for Face of the Screaming Werewolf
(a booze-ravaged Lon Chaney Jr. embarrassing
himself), The Flesh Eaters (which looks quite interesting!),
Flesh Feast (a different movie
from Feast Of Flesh), Invasion
of the Flesh Hunters (the cut-up U.S. version of Cannibal
Apocalypse), Tender Flesh (starring
a young Meg Foster), and three more double bill combos, Werewolf
in a Girl's Dormitory/Corridors
Of Blood, Carnival
of Blood/Curse of The Headless Horseman
and The Blood Spattered Bride/I
Dismember Mama. (The Bride/Mama
trailer has got to be the most inane "Man in the Street interview"-type
faked, of course —
ever made.) There are also a pair of TV spots (each) for Night
of the Bloody Apes and Feast of Flesh,
the latter under its alternate Deadly Organ title.
And there is still more!
Three minutes of outtakes from Night
of the Bloody Apes have been assembled into a quickie reel
highlighting some of the flick's super-crappy gore effects. A
selection of short subjects is offered: Artist's Paradise
(very early nudie stuff from the 1920s, in terrible shape); Gorilla
and the Maiden (an old burlesque bit); White Gorilla
(two guys in bad ape suits fighting); and a filmed record of a
1940s women's championship wrestling match pitting Clara Mortensen
against Mexican 'spitfire' Rita Martinez. Best of all is the Ghastly
Gallery of Ghoulish Comic Cover Art, a montage of horror comic
artwork from the '60s and '70s set to the retro-rock of The Dead
Elvi. One of the tunes played is "John Agar Rules" —
the lyrics of which mention the title of every sci-fi pic cult
fave Agar ever appeared in. (Note: Look for two "easter eggs"
hidden on the Main Menu screen. One of 'em is the gonzo, nudity-filled
trailer for The Curious Dr. Humpp.)