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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Steve's Church-less Movie Of The Week: Special Ape Double Feature ...

Today the classic rivalry continues: Karloff and Lugosi, both considered the masters of horror, both go head to head in two legendary Ape movies. Which is better? Add a comment at the end of the movie to cast your vote!

Enjoy ...

Yoinked from the almighty wikipedia machine as well as the Bmoviefilmvault.com ...

"The Ape is a 1940 American horror film made for Monogram Pictures, co-written by Curt Siodmak and starring Boris Karloff. The plot is downright ridiculous but somehow The Ape manages to retain a high degree of dignity, probably due to the screen presence of Boris Karloff.

Interestingly enough, The Ape was originally a stage play and was later adapted into a screenplay by Curt Siodmak. Curt's name probably doesn't ring a bell, but I'm sure you've seen or at least heard of some of the films he wrote screenplays for, which include The Invisible Man Returns, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, The Wolf Man (1941 & 1960), Earth vs. The Flying Saucers, and many other genre films. However, the main attraction in this film is clearly Boris Karloff, who does a fantastic job as Dr. Bernard Adrian. Even though the film's premise is utterly ludicrous, Karloff manages to lend some credibility to his role as a tragic hero. Doctor Adrian is doing all the wrong things (i.e. murder) for all the right reason.

Also starring in this film is Ray "Crash" Corrigan, who portrays the title creature. Ray was the king of the gorilla impersonators in his time and played furry monsters in a variety films, like Nabonga, The White Gorilla, and Unknown Island. (Talk about typecasting!) If you're looking for a fun, classic mad scientist thriller, and have a full hour to spare, then I highly suggest you watch The Ape. Though the film is played straight, one can't help but chuckle at its absurd plot. I had a good laugh every time Boris Karloff's character donned his ape-suit and went out for a late night stroll, and I think you will too!"

Yoinked from wikipedia and the pretty awesome website Plan 9 Crunch ...

"The Ape Man is a 1943 horror Science fiction film starring Bela Lugosi and directed by William Beaudine. The film follows the tale of a part human part ape. This is a screwball horror film, but a lot more entertaining than most viewers will expect. It's sheer pulp horror that doesn't take itself too seriously.

A sequel, in name only, called Return of the Ape Man, followed in 1944, one year later after this film and starred Bela Lugosi, John Carradine and George Zucco.

Dr. James Brewster (Bela Lugosi) and his colleague Dr. Randall (Henry Hall) are involved in a series of scientific experiments which have caused him to transform into an ape-man. In an attempt to obtain a cure Brewster believes that it will be necessary to inject himself with recently drawn human spinal fluid. When Randall refuses to help him by providing the fluid, Brewster and his captive gorilla must attempt to find an appropriate donor.

Of such bizarre plots were Monogram cheapies of the 1940s created. It's a lot of fun to watch, even if the production values are predictably bottom of the barrel. Lugosi, as usual, acts far above the product he's pitching, and he manages to make the audience feel sympathy for his plight. His ferocious temper tantrums are effective. He nearly strangles his sister in one scene. Urecal, by the way, is great as the slightly creepy sister. In an Los Angeles Times review (the paper actually liked the film) the reviewer suggested Urecal be given her own horror film to star in. So far as I know, it never happened, although she was also very good in the Lugosi vehicle The Corpse Vanishes.

Like any low-budget film, there are amusing contradictions. Why does Lugosi have an accent, and his sister doesn't? Also, why doesn't anyone seem to notice the ape-like Lugosi and his pet ape traipsing through the city? Of course, suspension of disbelief is a requirement to fully enjoy a Monogram film. So just sit back and take in the show. It's a fun hour of escapism and a great treat for those who enjoy the old C and B horror films."

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