Ape Man, The

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Ape Man, The


English   Country: USA   Year: 1943

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William Beaudine


Bela Lugosi




Mad scientist turns himself into a ape man. Seeks cure. Black & White.


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(Average=0.00 out of 5; Total Number=0)

Uniquely Silly Forties Horror. (rating=2)

The only thing that saves this effort from a one-star rating is its enjoyable silliness, which is pretty extreme even for poverty row Forties horror flicks. This time, Bela Lugosi is "Dr. Brewster" (yet another Anglo-Saxon name for the exotic Hungarian!), whose unholy experiments with apes have given him a face-encircling beard, a slouching gait, and a tendency to sleep in a cage with his pet gorilla. He needs fresh spinal fluid (human only, please) to restore him to normal, so many complications ensue. His only ally is his sympathetic sister (Minerva Urecal), who addresses him as "you poor boy!" (Lugosi was about 60 at the time.) The film was aparently not even intended to be taken seriously, which is its one small saving grace. Even Lugosi is not as charismatic as usual.

A Classic By Beaudine&Katzman. (rating=3)

A Monogram/Banner classic co-produced by Sam Katzman and directed by the one and only William Beaudine. Bela Lugosi is Dr. Brewster who has experimented with spinal fluids from a gorilla on himself. He is now slowly transforming to an ape himself and starts to regret what he has done. So Dr. Brewster and his pet gorilla (!) goes out killing people to get human spinal fluid so he can be cured. This is just as stupid as it sounds, and the film has a total lack of logic. But it's a fun and entertaining movie if you are into the genre of old horrors from the 40's. Well worth a look.

Bela Lugosi Goes Ape! (rating=1)

Here we have the local mad-scientist and gland expert (Bela Lugosi) working in his basement lab on his latest project. It seems while doing the usual mad-scientist thing of tampering in God's domain, he injected himself with some vaguely defined ape fluid. The ape stuff had some very unfortunate side-effects. Bela now goes around all hunched over, and wearing whiskers and a wig (both very phony). He swings his arms as he walks and mingles words with occasional grunts. Tragically, the only way he can stand upright as a man is to take injections of human spinal fluid. The only way to get human spinal fluid is to render humans inanimate (i.e., dead). The beneficial effect of the injections has become distressingly temporary; it doesn't last long enough for Bela to get rid of the whiskers and wig. Bela has taken to sleeping in the same cramped cage as Mr. Gorilla, his lab animal companion. The sexual overtones of this we won't even discuss.

This low-budget thriller is a good example of bad acting and unintended laughs. Bela Lugosi made some truly classic horror films, but this clunker isn't one of them. Lugosi and his gorilla pal lurking in doorways and alleys remind one of a simian version of Abbott and Costello. Bela is tall and slender while Mr. Gorilla is short and chubby. The snappy dialogue of the newspaper people is meant to be witty, but gets tiresome instead. The WWII jokes hopelessly date the film. The mysterious skinny guy wearing the goofy hat is a silly plot-twist gimmick that emphasizes the poor quality of the story. It's possible that dedicated Bela Lugosi fans or die-hard fans of old horror movies will find value in this movie. The recommended way for anyone else to view this movie is to use it as a "so dumb it's funny" party tape. Just be sure there has been sufficient imbibing of your favorite beverage to dull the senses.