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  Bride and the Beast, The Call Of The Wild
Year: 1958
Director: Adrian Weiss
Stars: Lance Fuller, Charlotte Austin, Johnny Roth, William Justine, Jeanne Gerson, Gil Frye, Steve Calvert
Genre: Horror, Trash, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Newlyweds Dan (Lance Fuller), a big game hunter, and Laura (Charlotte Austin) are driving back to stay at Dan's mansion before embarking on their honeymoon. When they arrive, Laura wants to investigate the house, but what intrigues her the most is her new husband's pet gorilla, Spanky, who lives in a cage in the basement. Approaching the bars, both woman and ape exhibit a strange fascination for each other, and Spanky starts to stroke Laura's hair and angora sweater until Dan angrily pulls her away. The couple retire to bed, but while they do, Spanky becomes more and more agitated...

The mention of angora sweaters should alert you to the fact that The Bride and the Beast was written by (but not directed by) Edward D. Wood Jr, the patron saint of bad movie fans everywhere. Coming across like a mixture between The Search for Bridey Murphy and a Jungle Jim adventure, for the first half hour the film is prime Ed Wood material, where Spanky, enraged at not getting a piece of the action with his master's wife (and perhaps being peeved at his unflattering name), breaks free from his cage and advances on the bedroom.

Laura has not been sleeping well, and is awake when Spanky shuffles through the door. They gaze longingly into each other's eyes, but Dan is having none of this, and the unfortunate gorilla is dispatched with a few bullets to the chest. Intrigued at her reaction to the beast, Laura agrees to undergo hypnosis courtesy of the local doctor. Not one to make her believe she is eating an apple when she's actually biting into an onion, the doctor instead regresses Laura back to a past life, where they discover she was once a gorilla herself, hence her love of angora sweaters.

Everyone seems happy enough with this explanation, and soon Laura and Dan are off to Africa on a safari honeymoon, and the plot changes to an uninteresting tale of the jungle, created with all the stock footage Weiss could find, which is a tremendous amount. Despite tigers not being native to Africa, two of the big cats escape from a cargo ship and begin a reign of terror, eating everyone they meet. Obviously the film makers couldn't secure the services of any lions, but Dan gets to play the great white hunter role nevertheless.

By the time the tigers have arrived, you may be wondering what all this has to do with the gorilla stuff earlier on, as Laura is in the background for most of this storyline. But have faith in Ed, because possibly one of the most ludricrous endings in cinema history awaits - you can't imagine this happening to David Attenborough. The problem in the couple's marriage seems to be that Dan cannot satisfy Laura in the way that a wild ape can - they even sleep in separate beds on their wedding night. A sobering study in marital troubles, then. Or, um, maybe not. Music by Les Baxter.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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