Night Of The Bloody Apes (1969)


Nastiness Rating:

Directed by: René Cardona/Jerald Intrator (new footage for US version – uncredited)
Written by: René Cardona Jr./René Cardona

Mexico had it’s own little horror camp going on in the 60s and 70s that no one really knew about. What with all the Coffin Joe movies and Mexican wrestling, how could they not?

So, writer/director Rene Cardona and his son, Rene Cardona, Jr., decided to obliterate two birds with one shotgun. Although, what this movie really has to do with wrestling I’m still kind of…um…wrestling with.

We open on a pair of lady wrestlers going at it in the ring. When one of them is thrown over the side, she gets knocked out. (The other wrestler’s boyfriend yells out the completely unhelpful, “She’s been hurt!” No shit! You mean, she was wrestling and got hurt?! Oh nos!) She’s carted off to the hospital, unconscious for the rest of the movie.

Meanwhile, on the moon, a man is worried about his son. He has cancer and it appears to be inoperable. Whatever shall he do?! Well, he’s a pretty brilliant surgeon, so maybe…just maybe…if he steals a gorilla from the zoo in broad daylight with a hulking, limping Stacy Keach impersonator, he can do a heart transplant! (Because, of course, a gorilla’s blood is obviously stronger than a human’s, so it can kill the cancer. OF COURSE!)

This he now does.

The footage of the heart transplant is real. Of course, it pretty much told me that I will never go to Mexico for any kind of surgery. They handle the heart like it’s jello and the surgeons seem to have Parkinson’s. Not to mention that they kind of rip the heart out almost with no scalpels. Careful with that! It’s kinda my heart!

The kid goes from being a hairy mannequin to a hairless ape in just three overlay shots. That’s when he breaks out of his licorice rope bonds, breaks through a window and starts the killin’.

Oh yeah, the lady wrestler goes on rasslin’ and is all conflicted about her career. Her boyfriend gets on the case of the missing gorilla (the zoo noticed about three days later–and why does the zoo’s director have the Fiji Mermaid on his desk?) and consoles her as much as possible. Throughout the movie, she wears either her red wrestling uniform or nothing at all. She seems to shower a lot.

The gorilla man (whose name is Julio, but his dad seems conflicted on the pronunciation) rampages through the little town, gouging out eyes (which looks like cake being squeezed through a mask) and ripping the clothes off of young ladies (which, curiously, looks like cake being squeezed through a mask…ok, not really.) It’s what gorilla men do, right?

At some point, the good doctor and Stacy Keach decide that the boy needs a new heart. They spirit away the unconscious wrestler (ah-HA!) and do another transplant. But, by their own logic, if the ape heart turned him into an ape, wouldn’t the woman’s heart turn him into a woman? Actually, it would be awesome if they kept doing transplants from different animals and people and he just kept collecting body parts on his own body. At the end he looks like Tetsuo.

At some point, the cop finds a Scottish beat cop (!) and his chief decides that the killings are because of violent images….like the ones in this movie. He follows a trail to the doctor’s home and is told “Take a look at this” by one of his men. Then we don’t get to see, so I have no clue what he was looking at.

Of course, it all ends in a barrage of bullets and a young Gigolo Joe is dead. Then the cop tells a couple of young nurses to take the doctor away. Apparently, that’s what you get when you cause multiple murder in Mexico. It’s their version of a deus ex Machina.

All the while, we occasionally get some weird Jackson Pollack by way of the Batman tv show transitions between some of the scenes. Any help here?

For a movie with a lot of nudity and gore, this movie was pretty bloody awful. I understand that Mexico didn’t have a lot to work with, what with a revolution and not much money. But it’s like they didn’t even try. Something Weird Video put some outtakes on the disc and I think it was all the rest of the film that they used. It amounted to about five minutes worth of footage. Their filming ratio was just about 1:1, I think.

And all that wrestling stuff? Completely useless. All it did was give them a reason to have an unconscious girl around. Which…creepy.

The dvd has another feature on it (the absolutely boring Feast Of Flesh) and four shorts. The only even partially interesting one must have been shot in the 20s or earlier. It’s called “Artist’s Paradise” and involves four or five naked young ladies splashing around by the side of a river. They frolic in the static shot for about three minutes. Then an ape shows up, falls out of a tree and scares all of the girls away. Never once are the girls and the ape in the same shot.

That’s how all movies should end. And then an ape comes along and scares Rick and Ilsa out of Morocco. And then an ape comes along and scares Lawrence out of Arabia.

As far as an MST3K experience, this movie is great. A buddy of mine and I watched it together and we had no end of fun coming up with most of the lines I just used in this review. As far as thrills, chills or gore…meh. For 1969, the gore is pretty out there. And there’s a bit more nudity than I expected, considering the time. But I’ve seen worse of both on the two episodes of “CSI” that I’ve seen.

LOW POINT: The doctor explaining why the operation wasn’t a success. You gotta love when 60s movies try to explain away their crap “science.” After a while, I stopped listening because the pretzel logic just became too much.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *