Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Night of the Bloody Apes

Director: René Cardona
Writers: René Cardona and René Cardona Jr
Mexico 1972

"Night of the Bloody Apes" is a Mexican exploitation piece from 1972, with all the appalling production values that suggests. There are occasional bursts of unintended humour – not least that to be had by emphasising the “bloody” in the title – but overall this dull, simplistic film has little going for it. The version I watched, a Satanica VHS release from the late 1990s, is apparently cut by one minute, but even so it’s difficult to see how this incredibly cheap film could provide any real gore or scares.

The plot is basic Frankenstein stuff. A mad surgeon replaces his terminally ill son’s heart with that of a gorilla, which transforms him into a half-man, half ape creature - or at least a man in cracked, slathered on makeup who makes silly growling noises. In the build up to the transformation, the unfortunate gorilla is portrayed by a man in a particularly bad monkey suit alternated with stock footage of an orang-utan. And yes, there’s only one bloody ape, despite the title’s claim otherwise. Inevitably the ape-man goes on the rampage, dispatching with canoodling couples in the park, before a predictable King Kong finale.

None of the gore in the version I saw was worse than the average Hammer Horror, and I find it difficult to see why this film had to be banned. I can only conclude the BBFC took one look at the title and, realising no one would care, put it on the list anyway. Appalling behavior outside any sensible definition of a censor’s remit, but it’s hard to argue they did us a disservice.

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