There are some titles destined to grab hold of ones imagination. Night of the Bloody Apes (1972) is a pretty standout example. Of course, it’s a bit misleading. Those of you picturing a marauding group of gore-soaked orangutans may come away disappointed. In fact, there’s only one ape, and he’s more of a man-made monster, really. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Our plot begins with lovely Lucy, a female lucha libre wrestler. During a match she accidentally cracks her opponent’s skull open. Tough move. Being the sweet luchadora next door type, she’s real broken up about all this. The comatose wrestler is carted off to the hospital, where lurks Dr. Krallman, a madder-than-mad scientist.
Krallman’s son Julio is dying of leukemia. While this would make any parent desperate, most wouldn’t react by stealing a gorilla from the zoo. Yes, Krallman’s master plan is to give Julio the gorilla’s heart, thus curing him of cancer...well, it probably made perfect sense at the time. Unfortunately, it turns out that gorilla hearts are too powerful for the human system to handle, and Julio is transformed into a murderous man-beast! Not having much else to do, Julio splits and goes out on a killing spree.
Most of the movie is devoted to Julio escaping, being captured by dad and obsequious lackey Goyo, and escaping again. Lucy shows up to wrestle once in a while, but spends most of her time being irrelevant to the plot and taking showers. By the time Dr. Krallman has concocted a baffling, psuedoscientific plan to put Julio right again, things may already be...too late.
So what’s the gore score? Pretty darn good. Upping the quotient is the fact that actual footage of open heart surgery is used during the transplant scene. It’s hard to get more realistic than that! Julio’s killing sprees give us plenty of variety. Strangling, clawing, stabbing, scalping, decapitation...the kid does it all! Probably the best bit is when Julio is lurching down a street, only to turn casually and pop out a guy’s eyeball. Ouch.
That’s all well and good, but what about sex? Those of you who like their blood with a healthy side order of boobs will not be disappointed. Most of the T&A on display is all thanks to Julio. The cheeky man-beast has a habit of violently disrobing his female victims. “Screaming” and “Jiggling” are two words that apply to most of the female characters in this movie
There are a lot of little things to love about Apes. My own personal point of adoration is the fact that Julio is always clad in his pajama bottoms. Sort of takes away from that aura of menace, doesn’t it? It certainly makes him unique. I can’t think of any other monsters that go out to kill in their comfy sleepwear.
The dubbing is another draw here. For one thing, the translation from Spanish is hopelessly awkward. If the idea of English syntax taking a brutal pounding appeals to you (you pervert), this is a movie you will not want to miss. The voice work is about what you’d expect. Hearing Dr. Krallman say “Prepare the gorilla” with all the gravitas of a trained Shakespearean is a genuine delight. So lets recap, shall we? Mad doctors. Cringing henchmen. Female Mexican wrestlers. An ape-man in his jammies. People, if I’m dreaming, please don’t wake me up.