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  Night of the Bloody Apes Blimmin' BeastlyBuy this film here.
Year: 1969
Director: René Cardona
Stars: José Elías Moreno, Carlos López Moctezuma, Armando Sylvestre, Norma Lazareno, Agustín Martínez Solares, Javier Rizo, Gerardo Zepeda, Noelia Noel, Gina Morett
Genre: Horror, Trash
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: Lucy Ossorio (Norma Lazareno) is a wrestler and she throws herself into every bout, but tonight she is in for a nasty shock as halfway through the match she flings her opponent over the ropes and out of the ring, only for the defeated party to lie, unmoving on the floor. Lucy is stricken with regret when she thinks she has killed her, but the fighter is only unconscious as Lucy's boyfriend, Lieutenant Martinez (Armando Sylvestre), calls for an ambulance. Meanwhile, across town a crime is being committed by Doctor Krallman (José Elías Moreno) that will have great significance later on...

Mexican wrestling movies have been with us for quite some time, but judging by this effort from René Cardona, an old hand at exploitation movies, they were getting a little desperate for plots and gimmicks by this stage. Night of the Bloody Apes, originally known as La Horripilante bestia humana, was in its first incarnation a simple fusion of horror and wrestling, much along the lines of Doctor of Doom, a similarly-plotted work. However, it gained a fresh notoriety for the version which was shown over the border of Mexico, a version which had the dubious benefit of stronger footage added.

Of course, nowadays the only incarnation of this film anyone wants to see is not the family friendly one, but the one with the nudity and gore. Among that gore was some actual open heart surgery, presumably included for those viewers who like both Mexican wrestling movies and medical documentaries, but what this was best for was a spot of unintentional laughs. The plot was like something out of a forties mad scientist flick, with the doctor, who is an expert at heart surgery, apparently not much of an expert in any other field of science, say biology, for example.

His grief-crazed scheme is to cure his son's leukemia with a heart transplant (hence the surgery footage), only instead of a human heart he uses a gorilla's heart, taken from a man in a gorilla suit he and his limping assistant have kidnapped from a local zoo. While this might have made the son stronger in real life, in movie life it transforms him into a beefy chap in an ape mask, who with dispiriting inevitability goes on the rampage (the man in the gorilla suit is relegated to the incinerator). Can nothing stop this ravening beast as he stomps about killing men and tearing women's clothes off (if you're watching the X-rated version)?

How about the wrestling moves of Lucy? If you've seen anything like this before then that is what you may well be expecting, but you will be let down because her only purpose in the plot is during the first five minutes where she provides a comatose heart donor for the ever-kidnapping doctor. With that in mind, it is then up to Lieutenant Martinez to save the day, but not before a lot of dead bodies have piled up. For the first half hour this is quite entertaining in its shoddy fashion, with a handful of solid laughs, but after a while you cotton on that it really only has one idea which is repeated to diminishing effect, and the more traditional combat is minimal. As a curio it is worth seeing, but only for its regular incidents of ridiculousness. Music by Antonio Díaz Conde.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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