Friday, August 24, 2018

Night of the Bloody Apes

Night of the Bloody Apes (aka La Horripilante bestia humana)
René Cardona
Jerald Intrator

Lucy (Norma Lazareno) is a luchador who accidentally injures another wrestler by tossing her out of the ring. As the woman lies in a coma. Dr. Krellman (José Elías Moreno) decides the only way to save his son from leukemia is via gorilla heart transplant and a transfusion. This results in Julio occasionally transforming into a half-man half-gorilla and rampaging across the city. Dr. Krellman realizes he needs to replace Julio’s heart with a human one, and he knows of a donor in the form of the comatose luchador.

Night of the Bloody Apes only features a single ape (maybe an ape-and-a-half if you count Julio’s post heart surgery problems). I would never dream of going into a film like this and expect it to make much sense, but the science behind Night of the Bloody Apes is especially loopy. It appears that Julio’s leukemia can only be cured with gorilla blood, and only a gorilla heart is strong enough to deal with that. Oops, it turns out that a human body trying to work with a gorilla heart puts scars on your brain that turns you into a gorilla-man. Everyone got that?

Seconds before accidentally banging her head on the door frame.
Night of the Bloody Apes delivers exactly the kind of sleazy gory action you think a movie about ape heart transplants would offer. There is a feast of gore including gouged eyes, torn throats, a slowly ripped off head, and a few clips of an actual heart transplant. The movie isn’t content to just splash around some blood and cheap body parts, director Cardona makes sure the camera does a smash zoom into the mess just to make sure he isn’t accused of having any subtlety whatsoever. There is also a fair amount of nudity on display as Julio consistently rips the clothes off of his female victims.
Although the film does feature some luchador scenes, Lucy's part in the film diminishes as it goes on until she all but disappears from the story completely. Night of the Bloody Apes is a remake of an earlier film called Doctor of Doom (1962), also by Cardona which features virtually the same plot but follows a woman wrestler bring the mad doctor to justice. Night of the Bloody Apes is much more about turning women into victims, so Lucy’s story is never really brought to a satisfying resolution.

The film also spends far too long with Dr. Krellman as he feels bad about his son’s illness and eventual gorillafication. I understand this is meant to give the finale on a hospital roof a King Kong (1933) kind of resonance, but since the story fails to generate even one sympathetic character, the whole thing is pointless.

"Let me just get that eyelash out."
Something Weird Video’s DVD of Night of the Bloody Apes looks great. The film is shot with a brilliant almost Technicolor intesnity, mostly in service to highlight the bright red blood. The heart surgery inserts are much worse quality and the crispness of the rest of the film really makes for a stark contrast. The music is comically soap opera in tone, even during some of the horrible murders.

Night of the Bloody Apes is lurid, gross, and nonsensical. It is far away from a trash masterpiece but it rides on enough sleazy charm to be worth checking out.

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