Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sons of Kong?: The Ape Man (1943)

Another Lugosi Film is far more preferable than another Mantan Moreland Film!  Poor Bela- the man was never bad.  For whatever reason, Universal was just so non-committal with him.  He arguably is the biggest reason for the rise of the company as a Horror Film giant.  His performance as Dracula set everything in motion IMHO, so seeing how they treated him is not kosher.  Is it because he turned down the lead in Frankenstein?  Is that why you did crap like hire him for only Supporting Roles with Karloff (when he could be a lead!), cut all his dialogue from his turn as The Monster in a later Frankenstein Film and just generally mistreated him?  For shame!  That leads into this Film- 1943's The Ape Man.  Instead of Universal, this one is by...Favorite Films Corp.  Ouch.  In this one, Lugosi is a Scientist who is cursed by his own experimentation and must find a way to cure himself.  The solution: killing people alongside an Ape.  That's what happened to Marie Curie too, right?  This one is pretty schlocky, but nowhere near as bad as other stuff you'll see here.  How does it fare overall?  To find out, read on...
In a Newspaper-style Exposition Dump, we learn that Lugosi has vanished...strangely.

As for me, I want to know what the results of that 'Job Survey' were.  Were they good?
The other Doctor brings Brewster's wife to his home and she sees...Ape-Man Lugosi.  Ouch.
To keep the Story going, we have two Reporters.  In a dated bit, the guy has to explain that he's not a 4-H and has permission to stay stateside during the War.  Okay.
After hiding from the Reporters, Lugosi escapes.  You see, he needs something to make his cure: spinal fluid.  According to this Film, taking it would kill someone.

Okay- either Medical Science has advanced GREATLY since 1943 or they didn't know shit!
As a side-effect of his Altered States-like transformation, Lugosi now controls this Ape to help him.
They kill enough random people to get the stuff, but the other Doctor smashes the vial...and pays!
In traditional fashion, it ends up that Lugosi has captured the lady Reporter to harvest her spine!
However, a struggle occurs between him, the Ape and the Police that finally arrive.  Bad guys die.
Before you go, here's the actual final shot of the Film though.  Neat.  The End.
Silly, cheesy and...not that bad, really.  There are some obviously-dated aspects of the thing, but they don't take away from the Film.  It is just nice to see one of these that is neither in the Jungle (with 'Natives') or 'old-timey Racism.'  This one is just about a Mad Scientist, a transformation and an Ape.  Nice, wholesome fun.  Good stuff.  Mind you, it is not that great of an actual Film, but it is what it is.  Lugosi embraces the role and really just goes for it.  He makes this work, even if the Story is complete bull.  The old-timey banter between the two Reporters is fun too.  Is it shallow?  Yes.  There are a bunch of silly, little things here that make it extra fun.  The fact that they have to disguise the sounds of an Ape being whipped in the basement- good.  The fact that they try to cover it by claiming it is a recording of a ghost- great.  The fact that Lugosi somehow has a close-circuit TV view of the door- excellent.  This is a great example of what fun, schlocky Movies of the day were like.  You'd go to the Theater every day and pay a penny to watch this kind of thing (plus the War Update and the Cartoon).  Quality-wise it isn't that great...but who cares?  I sure don't.
Next up, I jump to the future- in more ways than one.  At Maynard's request, I review a Film he likes- will I though?  Stay tuned...

No comments:

Post a Comment