Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Original Title: La horripilante bestia humana
Year: 1969 (1972)
Director: René Cardona, Jerald Intrator (new footage for US version)
Writer: René Cardona Jr., René Cardona
Genre: Horror

synopsis: A surgeon attempts to cure his son's fatal disease by doing the first 'ape-to-human' heart transplant. The son seems to be cured, only to transform into a horrible beast that goes on a murderous rampage.

This movie to me felt like a natural progression from my previous review of Doctor of Doom. On a literal note, Rene Cardona is at the helm once again here to essentially remake Doctor of Doom film into Night of the Bloody Apes, this time with writing help from his son, Rene Cardona Jr.

Cardona, Jr. acted a bit in the 60s, and even directed a few films, but it really seems like this film, a bloodier, nakeder version of Doctor of Doom, was a real jumping off point for him to become a prolific B-movie director. So I thought it was fitting to put it here since he has that writing credit! He pumped out some real schlock throughout the 70s, ranging from westerns to sex comedies to exploitation of current events, and some of which I will be covering soon!

OK, you can stop rubbing yourself now.

Actually, keep going.

On a more figurative note, while there is still some wrestling women in action, the focus of the story this time has completely shifted away from them as they are really but a sidenote. The masks do show up, but only for decoration this time. This story focuses, for better or worse, on the monster and the doctor primarily.

The English dubbed version of the film that I am reviewing here is perhaps the most infamous one, as before it was released again in the early 70s, Cardona's version was taken and sleazed up quite a bit, with added gore, tits, and even some actual heart surgery footage that is awkwardly and unintentionally humorously spliced in. What a fucking mess. LITERALLY! LOL!

I have read that there is a cut of the film out there somewhere with even more footage than this... who knows what's in there! I believe that version was back in Mexico and just called Horror y Sexo.

I'll let you figure out that translation for yourself.

The acting is universally campy and bad in this one. But if we have learned anything this month on Assorted Loaf, it's that we really aren't here for the acting, right? Repeat after me, class. "Boobs and blood trump acting in schlocky cinema!" The bad acting fits right in and helps set the mood... none of the actors are really worth mentioning, and the English dub, while making it difficult as usual to get a true read on the acting ability, is just fucking funny at times.

"Prepare the gorilla!"

I'm not sure if the added in gore and nudity in Night of the Bloody Apes was supposed to make the movie horrifying, but the effect is kind of interesting. What we get is a film that knows it is not serious but at the same time tries to be thanks to the scenes being added in later. I guess we could look at this as shitty editing, which it really is, but the effect is one like I can't recall seeing before.

When you go from the 60s cheese of the monster slowly lumbering toward a victim, then cut to an awkward closeup of someone being "torn apart" (very loose use of that term there... think torn apart for $1.95), it has the effect of being awkwardly funny.

Plus the cheap rubber special effects don't help much either. I think I have drawn more realistically than that shit...with a crayon.... 30 years ago! And in true sleazy fashion, if you are a dude getting attacked by this man-beast, your face will be torn apart. If you're a woman... it's your clothes! Ohhh the boobies are gonna be swingin tonite!

Sexist? Well, yeah probably. But look at it this way maybe... The guys are getting mangled and skull fucked from the get go. On the other hand, while this caveman is tearing at the ladies clothes so immature viewers like myself can giggle about T & A, they have a much better chance of escaping him! OK, that's a stretch. I'm trying here!

Cardona's story is simple enough, but the direction of the film is nothing creative and is simple itself. The characters in this film are certainly better developed as far as their motivations are concerned... it isn't just someone wanting to control the world but instead a father wanting to help his dying son, even if it is an irresponsible method. The result is laughable as the son turns into a half beast thanks to the gorilla heart, but that's just part of the fun. It has it's moments I suppose, but there is nothing besides the "shocking" that is all that memorable with how the film is shot and assembled.

The pacing is a little uneven as some of the medical and exposition scenes go on a bit long for being as blah as they were, but I guess if you take those out all you have is a hairy guy in a play doh mask just doing awful things. And in all honesty, the gore and nudity are obviously put in there for purely exploitative reasons and add almost nothing to the film outside of the obvious.

Don't go into this one looking for anything artistic and you should be just fine.

This film landed on the Video Nasties list, but I am certain it was only for the gore. If the sight of real blood and guts, albeit brief, offends you, I guess you can avoid this, but Night of the Bloody Apes is not even in the same ballpark as some other notorious Video nasties such as Cannibal Holocaust.

This was a very average movie going experience for me. I'd much rather see some masked wrestlers in the storyline. It has it's moments as I said, but would be better if viewed in a social setting or something like that.

Maybe I just caught this at the wrong time or something?

I laughed some, but I was really hoping for more.

Recommended to watch with a group of friends or something looking for some cheesy yet gory horror.

Score: 5.25 / 10


Samuel Wilson said...

This was still playing in theaters in the late 70s or early 80s. It must have played at that time in Chicago, at least, because I remember an early episode of Sneak Previews on PBS in which Siskel or Ebert named it as a Dog of the Week. I have the Something Weird DVD, which has the crappy dubbing you describe. My favorite lines are the ones when doctors say that someone's days are "counted" rather than "numbered." This is a film that's compelling in its incompetence; at least it kept me watching.

pickleloaf said...

i imagine this is one of those that still gets floated around certain theaters just due to the reputation alone!

thanks for the comment Samuel!