Video Nasty #4 of 72
Year of Release: 1969 (English language version released in 1972 with additional scenes)
Directed by: René Cardona (Additional scenes by Jerald Intrator)
Budget: Who the Hell knows?
Run Time: 81 minutes
Alternate Titles: Originally titled La Horripilante bestia humana (“The Horrible Man-Beast”), also released as Horror y sexo (“Horror and Sex”) and Gomar—The Human Gorilla
UK Censorship Status: Released with approximately 3 mins of pre-cuts in 1999. Re-released uncut in 2002.
Generally when I write these reviews, I try and give my thoughts on the movie right after I’ve seen it, so it’s all fresh in my head. But honestly, after this one was over I sat for a good hour trying to think of what the Hell I was going to say. I can’t fill much space by recounting the plot, because there really is none. Basically, a scientist tries to help his dying son by giving him a gorilla’s heart which of course turns him into a horrible man-beast that just wants to kill the men and rip the women’s clothing off. There’s a detective that’s trying to solve the murders and a whole lotta Mexican wrestling footage that doesn’t have anything to do with anything! That’s about it.
I will say this, though: This movie is fucking nuts. But that’s pretty much par for the course with Mexican horror films. Unlike similar films from other countries, Mexico’s low budget genre films weren’t really concerned with things like “logic” or even making any damn sense at all. And if you think their horror movies are bad, you should check out their kid’s films! Total unadulterated insanity in its purest form. What makes Night of the Bloody Apes (there’s really only one ape-man) interesting is that it’s actually two different types of low budget film in one. One the one hand it’s a juvenile and really silly monster movie that’s obviously influenced by the American poverty row films of the 1940’s, complete with a mad science lab in the basement of a suburban home and a guy in a cheap ape suit. But then it’s also (thanks to some inserted footage) a sleazy grindhouse movie complete with implied rape, lots and lots of boobs, and a whole heck of a lotta cheap as shit gore! And when I say a lot, I mean a lot. There’s face squishin’s, head rippin’s and eye poppin’s a plenty as our lovable ape-man goes on several rampages over the course of the film. There’s even some real (!) heart surgery footage thrown in there for good measure! Aye carumba!
This feeling of being two totally different movies (which I guess it kind of is) really makes this one hard to wrap your head around. It probably doesn’t help that the dubbing is some of the worst ever recorded, a result of the voice actors having to read literally translated Spanish word for word. And thus we get gems like
“…it’s more probable that of late more and more you’ve been watching on your television many of those pictures of terror!”
And a closing bit of dialogue that makes it seem like our heroes are just kind of shrugging off the events of the entire film!
So even with the excessive blood and nudity (and even the heart surgery) the film still remains too goofy to really be all that offensive. I mean there’s a scene where the man-beast slowly walks through his house still wearing his pajamas while scare chords blare on the soundtrack. In the early scenes where they steal the gorilla from the zoo, the close ups are stock footage of an orangutan but when it’s shot with a dart, it turns into a man in a cheap gorilla suit! So I’m not sure why this of all things was put into the UK censorship board’s cross-hairs. It reportedly had something to do with the video cover, which featured a pair of bloody surgeon’s hands, which means that they’re just as dumb as this film is.
Conclusion: A must watch for fans of nutso low budget trash!
Watch the trailer here (Just a warning, it does feature quite a bit of the surgery footage!)
- The graphic inserted footage was filmed by the guy that did the exact same thing for another one of my favorite bits of Mexican grindhouse madness, The Curious Dr. Humpp. Although the extra stuff inserted into that masterpiece was of a decidedly more pornographic bent!
- The color palette for this film sure does include a lot of red and green, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why.
- Is there such a thing as too many gratuitous shower scenes? I think this movie has like three in a very short space of time!
- Oddly, this is actually a remake of the original director’s earlier film Las Luchadoras contra el medico asesino (The Wrestling Women vs. the Murderous Doctor). I guess he felt like he didn’t say everything he wanted to with the original?
- I’m still a bit disappointed that there was no female wrestler vs. ape-man action happening onscreen. I mean, why set it up that’s how she makes her money if you’re not going to go anywhere with it? Film, I am disappoint.
Next Time: We enter the 70’s proper with Twitch of the Death Nerve