Sunday, June 23, 2013

Turning Korean: A*P*E

I just had to see this thing again.  To many people, A*P*E is the Plan 9 of Giant Ape Films.  Is that accurate though?  In a lot of good ways, I'd say 'yes.'  Plan 9 From Outer Space is hysterical, even if its supposed to be a serious space epic.  In fact, that's what makes it so funny.  A*P*E is played pretty straight, which works to its ironic benefit.  On top of that, both films feature a useless scene or two with military brass, silly sub-plots and an amazingly-tepid 'romance for the ages.'  The film's effects are almost always laughable.  There's maybe one scene that isn't transparently fake, so I will highlight that later.  Made to cash in on the potential success of Dino's King Kong, the film was a bomb- both of them.  The film suffered in a way that many Asylum films have, latching themselves on to what they hope will be a hit.  Fortunately, this film has taken on a life of its own a la such anti-classics as Blood Freak and the aforementioned Plan 9.  It is chock full of hilarious bits (which weren't meant to be) and ridiculous Writing.  Even little things like thanking the Army in the Credits is done poorly, as it stays on-screen for what feels like an eternity.  To misquote MST3K- "They're thanking the hell out of them!"  If you still haven't seen this thing,
The film opens with two guys on a boat with the titular Ape.  I'm already getting flashbacks to the Plan 9 Gravediggers...

They exposit how the Ape was captured in Harlem (to make it seem like a Kong sequel) and is being shipped to Disneyland.  No, really.
In the scene that the U.S. poster heavily promotes, the creature kills a giant shark.  In reality, a guy in an Ape suit flails a dead, toothless shark around.  Oh, hi PETA.
Now somehow in Korea (check your maps), the Ape smashes up a building, it's there.  This sets up the first of many, stupid 3-D shots and the film nearly lighting their suit performer on fire.

Fortunately, the suit was probably 80% Asbestos.  No downside there.
Highlights of the beast's rampage include his meeting with a toy cow (which you must see) and him interrupting a Kung-Fu movie shoot.  When he attacks, the crew does the only logical thing: fire their fake weapons at it.
 Another is this horrible Actor doing the 'look at the devastation' bit.  It's funny because it's done *three times in a row,* done with cheap model sets on fire and features this guy's silly mug.
The best one, however, is this hang-glider pilot somehow NOT SEEING the 36-foot Ape in front of him.  You really failed your Vision Check!
Seriously, this bit with him walking around the city is the best thing that they do.

It's important to highlight a film's achievements, even if they are minor and silly.
These two are a riot if you like bad Acting and just general deadpan humor.  They question everything up until they are *allegedly* near the Ape.  I
After a long, drawn-out bit of real tanks, toy tanks and Styrofoam rocks (they were all the rage back then), the Ape is killed.  Even his bloody death is in 3-D- nice!
Oh and that romance story ends with them talking about getting married.  It's like that old expression goes: It takes a giant Ape to bring two people together.
Everything about this movie is bad- hurray!  Seriously, as an actual film, it sucks.  The romance is dull, the action is laughable and the whole plot would barely fill a Post-It Note.  'Ape runs around Korea.  Movie star has romance in Korea.  Military does shit.  Ape dies.'  That said, the movie is a sure candidate for So Bad It's Good Cinema.  It's funny as hell and was practically made to be riffed.  If you want a film to watch and mock with your friends, this one is a gold-mine.  It is definitely the Plan 9 of Killer Ape Films.  Do yourself a favor and give this one a look.  If you've seen it before, just see it again.  I can tell you from personal experience that it only gets funnier.  Take us away, 3-D shot.
Next up, let's stay in Asia for a familiar subject: The Phantom.  Will the 'music of the night' translate to Mandarin?  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. One of the silliest and most laughable monster ape movies ever made. Only The Mighty Gorga is worse :)