Night of the Bloody Apes (1969) – By David Stephenson

 So here I am once again, complaining as always about the latest celluloid abortion to be placed upon my lap like fresh roadkill. This time it’s La Horripilante Bestia Humana (Night Of The Bloody Ape) – a shady Mexican remake of the 1962 horror relic Doctor Of Doom. Bringing you that ever-trendy blend of crappy, unconvincing horror and second class, half-assed (sometimes literally) porno, this is one monster movie destined to rot forever in the bargain bin of your local carwash, alongside those Vanilla Ice CDs and that illusive copy of Reggie Harris Funks Up Wagner. Christ only knows how my local Blockbuster came across their copy of this movie monstrosity – not that it matters – I’m just glad I didn’t have to buy the damn thing. The very thought of this piece of garbage disgracing by DVD shelves gives me the shivers.

Let’s start with the plot (or lack thereof.) We have a crazed, moustachioed doctor with a son dying of leukaemia. Guess daddy didn’t have health insurance. However, being the crazed loon that he is, rather than sending sonny boy to a hospital like a SANE person, our psychotic practitioner has decided on a more alternative way forward. Aromatherapy? Nope. Physiotherapy? Nada. How about a good, ol’ fashioned bone marrow transplant? Don’t be silly. He’s decided the correct course of action is to do a live organ transplant using a guerrilla’s heart. This is why you should never trust a Mexican black market doctor – especially if he has a monkey in a cage. As to why Daddy-o decides to remove the only part of his son that seems to be really working is never explained.

Daddy-o reckoned the worst that’d happen was perhaps chronic organ rejection. But no. This is a b-movie after all. Instead, his son baffles the laws of science as well as common sense by turning into a guerrilla! Apparently that’s what happens after organ transplants. Well, I say guerrilla, but what we’re faced with is really a man with a mud pack on his face, a black wig, a glued on beard made of Velcro and a scar on his chest so unconvincing it looks like a family of anchovies super-glued into his chest hair.

Being a monkey, he does what all monkeys do (apparently) when scared – he leaps out a window, and terrorises the community by tearing off women’s clothes and trying to pull guy’s faces off with his bare hands. The movie piles on the nudity – although mine was the edited version, meaning I was spared the needless groin-lapping that would doubtless have occurred. I got the feeling that if the director had his way, we’d be spending more time in the Bush than a family of dingoes.

That’s basically the plot. There’s also some barely plot-related nonsense regarding a female masked wrestler (who gets her boobs out on various occasions), her opponent who goes into a coma (who gets her boobs out, despite being unconscious), various hysterical screaming monkey-victims (who get their blouses torn and run about with their boobs out) and an excruciatingly dull tux-wearing detective (who fortunately remains clothes at all times.) That’s it. That’s the plot. Boobs and monkeys. Like Kong meets Frankenstein meets TeenWolf meets Naked Cheerleaders III. With sleazy content like this it’s little wonder that rejected film titles include “Horror And Sex” and “Horror y sexo” – apparently a much steamier version of the film.

Oh, and it’s dubbed over too. And we’re talking BAAAAD dubbing here that’s even worse than the barely literate wank you see in the very worst kung fu flicks. The lip synching is also atrocious – we’re talking even worse than Justin Timberlake here.

The music is awful, probably stolen from other shyster-fests of the period. The tension is non-existent and what little suspense remains is murdered by a myriad of crap acting and worse dialogue – add in the dubbing and it’s like these people are deliberately on a mission to piss you off. They succeed. The special effects are non-existent. Gore comes from barely concealed blood packs / ketchup sachets – they couldn’t even afford the surgery gore props so instead resort to stolen medical footage showing gruesome open-heart surgeries. You can even see the medical equipment in the background, which miraculously disappears when the ‘actors’ are back on screen. Other continuity errors also haunt this movie – such as fake grass which gives way when crawled over, revealing the studio floor beneath.

The editing is appalling. Countless scenes are inserted seemingly just to get on my nerves. An example? The mad doctor receives a phone call, talks, hangs up. This’d be where a real editor would cut to the next scene. But not in Mexico! They paid for this film do be developed, dammit, and they’re going to use every last God-damn frame! So instead of a nice, clean, pace-enhancing cut, we then see the doctor look confused, stare into the distance, then turn, walk up some stairs, wander down a corridor, fidget, wander on a bit more, turn a corner, continue walking, stop at a door, knock, scratch his balls, then enter. Despite such merciless over-shooting, this film still only lasts a measly 81 minutes. Oh, and it’s shot on what looks like low-quality 16mm – the type used in low-cost family Betamax style recordings and shit Geographical PBS presentations. The various hairs, blots and scratches dance around the screen like pixies on LSD, serving to infuriate further the poor, deluded viewers who still remain.

In conclusion? Well, I’ll let you make up your own mind. Suffice to say, Screamers (the movie I reviewed last month) seems like an epic of Machiavellian proportions by comparison. The retching, foul-tempered, everlasting bitching I spat out at that movie is now looked back upon with fond nostalgia. At least Peter “I was in Robocop” Weller speaks English. Those two emotions of his are sadly missed by this now emotionally stunted, psychologically scarred reviewer.

Self medication may well be the answer. I’m off to watch Peter Jackson’s Kong now, before I lose faith in my simian buddies forever.

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Rogue Reviewers Roundtable Topic: Spank the Monkey

David’s Review Site: Death by Cinema