Night Of The Bloody Apes (1972)

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“The heart of a gorilla is much too potent for any human, and the volume of blood to the cerebrum, which couldn’t control this great pressure, damaged the superior parts. And when this happens, man becomes—an animal, completely without control.”

 

Director:  René Cardona and Jerald Intrator

Starring:  José Elias Moreno, Armando Silvestre, Norma Lazareno, Carlos López Moctezuma, Agustin Martinez Solares Jr, Armando Gutiérrez, Gerardo Zepeda

Screenplay:  René Cardona and René Cardona Jr

 

 

Synopsis:  A wrestling bout ends in tragedy when Lucy Ossorio (Norma Lazareno) throws her opponent from the ring and, after striking her head on the concrete floor, the woman does not regain consciousness. Dr Krallman (José Elias Moreno) leaves the General Hospital with his assistant, Goyo (Carlos López Moctezuma). The two drive to the zoo where, after breaking in, their make their way stealthily to the gorilla’s cage. After sedating the animal, they carry it to their car… A guilt-ridden Lucy and her fiancé, Lieutenant Arturo Martinez (Armando Silvestre) of the police, accompany the injured woman to the hospital, where they learn that she is critically injured and must undergo an operation immediately. Dr Krallman is summoned from his home to perform it. Before leaving, he checks on his son, Julio (Agustin Martinez Solares Jr), who is seriously ill. After the surgery, Dr Krallman is unable to offer Lucy much hope for her friend’s recovery. He then makes his way to the hospital conference room, where his colleagues must inform him that there is no hope for Julio, who is losing his battle with leukaemia. Nevertheless, Dr Krallman speaks reassuringly to his son, telling the young man that he is showing definite signs of improvement. In the basement-laboratory of Krallman’s house, Goyo assures his employer that everything is ready. Having already sedated Julio, who now lies on an operating table, Krallman fires a tranquiliser-dart into the gorilla, which is housed in a cage in the corner of the laboratory. He explains to Goyo that Julio needs a transfusion of powerful gorilla blood in order to fight his disease but, in order for his body to tolerate it, he must first receive a transplant of the animal’s heart. He orders Goyo to prepare the animal for surgery. With Goyo assisting, Krallman performs the operation. It is a success, and an exultant Krallman begins his son’s rehabilitation… Meanwhile, Lucy’s feelings of guilt stop her from giving her all in the ring, and in her next wrestling bout she is easily defeated. Later, she tells Martinez that she is thinking of retiring. He is not sorry, as this means the two of them can get married. At the zoo, the gorilla’s disappearance is discovered. When a search of the grounds fails to locate the animal, it is concluded that it has escaped into the city; the manager of the zoo contacts the police. Martinez is summoned to headquarters, and must explain to an angry Lucy that he will not be able to keep their date for dinner. Goyo carries a tray of food down to the laboratory, where an exhausted Krallman sleeps in a chair beside the recovering Julio. Suddenly, Julio begins to undergo a startling transformation, turning into a frightening, ape-like creature. Roughly pushing aside both Goyo and Krallman, the beast smashes a window and escapes. Grabbing the tranquiliser-gun, Krallman orders Goyo to get the car, so that they can go in pursuit. In a nearby darkened alley, the monster Julio’s attention is caught by an apartment across the way, where a young woman is preparing to take a shower…

Comments:  While the signs that those at the forefront of the British “Video Nasties” panic of the 1980s knew nothing about horror films and cared even less were many and varied, perhaps the most significant was the claim that the “Nasties” represented a single class of film with a set of defined characteristics, so that it was simply a matter of (as good old Justice Potter Stewart put it, with respect to another form of contentious film-making) “knowing it when you saw it”. The truth is, however, that among the thirty-nine official “Nasties”, to say nothing of the several dozen other films that spent some time on the infamous List, we find a remarkable mixture of films, which vary extensively with respect to production date, country of origin, content, tone, genre, level of violence and standard of special effects. In fact, the only thing these films truly have in common is that at some point, someone got their knickers into a twist over them.

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And while it is easy enough to understand why people might lose their heads over deliberate assaults on the sensibilities like Cannibal Holocaust and I Spit On Your Grave, there is a subset of films on the List so fundamentally harmless that the thought of them being blamed for damaging the fabric of society is even sadder than it is hilarious. After all, what does it say about the society in question if it can be damaged by a film about a creature one-tenth ape and nine-tenths man, who runs around terrorising people while wearing his pyjamas?

Of course, the irony of Night Of The Bloody Apes is that the scenes that upset the British censors weren’t actually in the film when it was originally produced. Directed by René Cardona, who co-wrote the screenplay with his son, RC Jr (with whom I’ve not been on speaking terms since Tintorera), Night Of The Bloody Apes started life as La Horripilante Bestia Humana (The Horrifying Human Beast). Its story is basically a mish-mash melding of Las Luchadoras Vs El Médico Asesino (Doctor Of Doom), in which a mad scientist has his ape-ified assistant kidnap young women so that he can practise brain transplants on them for reasons that I’m sure seemed perfectly cogent at the time, and Las Luchadoras Vs El Robot Asesino (Wrestling Women Vs The Murderous Robot), in which a mad scientist uses his robot to kidnap wealthy industrialists in order to fund his research, which in contrast makes perfect sense. Both films, inevitably, feature extensive footage of female wrestlers, and in the latter the heroine has a policeman-boyfriend.

In the late 1960s, it was a fairly standard practice amongst Mexican film-makers to produce alternative cuts of their movies, one for the domestic market and another, spiced up with nudity, for international export. This was the case with La Horripilante Bestia Humana, with the Cardonas producing a variant edit of their film that played in the Spanish-language cinemas of some American cities under the simply glorious title, Horror y Sexo (Horror And Sex).

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Two years after the 1969 cinema releases of La Horripilante Bestia Humana and Horror y Sexo, the rights to the latter were purchased by Jerald Intrator, who some of you may know from The Curious Dr Humpp. As with that film, which started life as La Vengenza Del Sexo (again with the Sexo, Jerald?), Intrator re-worked the material, adding to Horror y Sexo a bit more nudity, a handful of spectacular if not exactly convincing gore scenes, and some documentary footage of genuine open-heart surgery. The advertising art for the new version played up these additions for all it was worth, which in the long run no doubt helped to bring it to the attention of the British censors.

Conversely, and rather amusingly, all things considered, Intrator trimmed out of the film anything he felt would give away its Mexican origins, like the street signs, so as to give it a more “international” flavour. Apparently he thought that the significance of the lengthy scenes of masked women wrestling would escape the future viewers of what was now known as Night Of The Bloody Apes.

As should be obvious from even this brief account of its origins, Night Of The Bloody Apes is a film of many delights, bundling together mad science, melodrama, extreme violence, nudity and wrestling, and topping them off with a script produced via a literal translation from Spanish to English – the result being some of the most marvellously mangled dialogue you have ever heard.

And in spite of Jerald Intrator’s best efforts, it gives away its background in its very first shot, a close-up of a red, full-face wrestling mask sitting on a coat rack.

These opening bits could hardly be more typical; the only really odd thing about them is that in contrast to most of the Luchadoras movies, the wrestling in Night Of The Bloody Apes is almost completely tangential to the main plot, while Lucy is the film’s heroine only by default. Truthfully, the unfortunate Elena, who gets tossed out of the ring onto her head in the opening sequence, could just as well have been the victim of a traffic accident.

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Uh-oh.

Some extremely awkward editing introduces us to Dr Krallman, who works at General Hospital (no, really). After receiving a message that he is expected at a meeting in “the conference room” the next morning, Krallman shuffles out to a bilious green station-wagon, where a man we shall shortly know as Goyo, Krallman’s scar-faced, limping lab assistant, waits behind the wheel.

Goyo [opening line]: “Ready, master!”

Krallman and Goyo head for the local zoo (these scenes were shot in Mexico City’s Chapultepec Park). Goyo unlocks the padlock on the front gates, which seems to be all this place has by way of security, and the two make their way to the cage of—well, of an ape.

The creature is played in its first moments on screen by a large male orangutan, but when Krallman points his tranquiliser gun at it, it mysteriously transforms into a man in a dismal, moth-eaten ape-suit.

For the record, though, the animal is referred to throughout as a gorilla. It collapses when struck by Krallman’s dart, as a chimp in a nearby cage (or possibly a hamadryas baboon; who can tell the difference?) shrieks in protest. Goyo unlocks the cage, and he and Krallman prepare to pick up the gorilla and carry it out to their car; although for some strange reason, the film cuts away before we get to see them do so.

Lucy and Arthur have followed Elena to the hospital (in a nice touch, Lucy has only stopped to put a coat on over her wrestling gear). Lucy is wracked with guilt over Elena’s condition, although Arthur tries to convince her that it was just an accident, and that all wrestlers take the same risks. A polite young doctor (“How do you do?…Hi! Very glad to know you, Lieutenant.”) tells them that Elena has a bone splinter in the brain and will need an immediate operation.

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Horror y Sexo! But mostly Sexo.

In an astonishing twist, the surgeon will be Dr Krallman. The telephone call finds him in his basement laboratory, gazing down a microscope while surrounded by random electronic equipment and Conical Flasks Filled With Mysterious Coloured Fluids. The laboratory is also equipped with a cage, which contains the surprisingly placid gorilla.

Before departing for the hospital, Krallman goes upstairs to visit his son, Julio, who is suffering from an as-yet unexplicated illnesss. Krallman comforts the young man, encouraging him to get as much rest as he can.

(The person dubbing Krallman wanders back and forth between Julio-with-a-J and Julio-with-an-H for the duration.)

Lucy and Arthur wait to hear the outcome of Elenas’s operation, but the immediate signs are not good: the first doctor questioned by Lucy hesitates, suggests, “Why don’t you ask Dr Krallman?”, and then scuttles away as fast as he can.

As for Krallman, he gives them a look that hardly bodes well before adding in a burst of startling originality, “All we can do now is wait…[amazingly long pause]…and pray.” Krallman will actually spend a lot of time in this film talking about trusting in God, which seems odd for someone so set on tampering in His domain.

We then cut awkwardly to the meeting in the conference room, so presumably this is the next morning. Krallman and his colleagues all huddle together in the centre of the room, possibly in an attempt to disguise the fact that the set-dresser was running late that day and the room has no furniture in it.

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Oh, Lucy, you crazy red-head!

We now learn that Julio’s days are numbered, and no wonder: according to one of these experts, he’s suffering from a condition called, “Loose-eemia.” This news comes as a shattering blow to Krallman, although given that he’s already embarked upon a career of gorilla-napping, he must have had his suspicions.

Nevertheless, Krallman tells Julio that he’s getting much better. “All the doctors have definitely agreed with me,” he assures his son, “that your infection has been detained.” Krallman then gives Julio a great big smile, before turning to do a dramatic agony-face into the camera.

In preparation for the step ahead, Krallman goes down into the laboratory and lays a gratitude trip on Goyo, reminding him how all the other doctors gave up on him, and how in spite of that, he, Krallman, saved his life. Goyo assures him of his support and assistance, and Krallman tells him that they will go ahead – “Now; tonight.”

Cut to Krallman firing another tranquiliser dart into the compliant ape. Once again we are deprived of the sight of the animal being carried around, a sight all the more desirable in this instance as Goyo is ordered to prepare it for surgery on his own. In the background, Julio lies unconscious on a gurney. Krallman then explains to Goyo the drastic measures he is about to take.

The problem, Krallman concludes, is that Julio’s “weak” blood isn’t up to the task of fighting off his disease; he needs instead the blood of a “powerful” animal like the gorilla. Unfortunately, the shock of the transfusion might kill him—so in order to make him strong enough to withstand it, Krallman intends to first give him the heart of the gorilla.

Because a heart transplant is much less of a physical shock than a transfusion. Also, pardon me for mentioning it, if you kill the gorilla in order to take out its heart, where exactly are you going to get the gorilla blood for the transfusions from?

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“I’m already an endangered species. Did they have to add insult to injury by casting me in this?”

We then cut, using the word advisedly, to the first block of inserted heart-transplant footage.

These scenes were one of the things that upset the British censors, who had something of a fixation on the subject, and often went after videos (documentary, exploitation, call them what you will) featuring real surgery. They were not necessarily alone in their objection: quite a number of people, while coping with Night Of The Bloody Ape’s gore effects, found the surgery hard to tolerate.

Of course, these days, with all sorts of reality shows depicting real-life operations of all kinds, this footage doesn’t have quite the same impact as it did in 1972, when many people found themselves confronted for the first time by a genuine, pulsating human heart. (Or even as it did in 1983, when it made the BBFC faint.) Modern viewers may even find themselves distracted from the surgery per se by the fact that there are more pairs of hands involved in the operation than there are people in Dr Krallman’s laboratory.

Afterwards, Krallman and Goyo nervously monitor Julio’s new heart (rather than his brain activity, which is what the visuals suggest). The dot on the screen of the cardiac monitor appears to moving in an alarmingly flat line, but evidently it’s the machine’s beeping that matters. Almost immediately, Julio regains consciousness (!).

It’s briefly back to the arena, where a nervous Lucy gets her butt handed to her, before we return to Krallman monitoring Julio as the night passes. Communicating by blinking, Julio assures his father that he feels no pain (!!). He smiles beatifically before drifting back to sleep, apparently feeling no urgent need to get to the bottom of why, if his “loose-eemia” had been “detained”, he needed a fricking heart transplant.

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SCIENCE!!

Krallman reports Julio’s progress to Goyo, but warns him it’s too early to claim a victory (I’ll say!). He then utters one of Night Of The Bloody Ape’s signature lines of dialogue:

Dr Krallman:  “Come – help me drag the cadaver of the gorilla over to the incinerator.”

To which Goyo, not batting an eyelid, responds, “Yes, master!”

Okay—by my reckoning it is now a day and a half since the gorilla-napping took place, but it is only at this moment that the zoo staff notice the animal’s disappearance (!!!). The staff then spend “one whole day” searching for the gorilla in the zoo grounds (!!!!), before reporting to head office. The irate manager (who has a vaguely Irish accent, although not so much as another character we’ll meet later on), with thoughts of what might happen if the gorilla is loose in the city, calls the police.

Anyone see where this is headed??

By the way, despite the fact that its cage was presumably found unlocked – or locked but empty – it never occurs to anyone that the gorilla might have been stolen.

Earlier on, Arthur introduced himself as “Lieutenant Martinez of the police, Special Service”. Evidently that means he’s in charge of missing gorillas, as it is inevitably he who is assigned to head the search. Even more inevitably, this new duty forces him to break a dinner-date with Lucy, who goes into a typical cop’s-neglected-girlfriend hissy fit.

The date was to celebrate Lucy’s decision to retire from the ring, a move that makes possible her marriage to Arthur, who is of course delighted that his girlfriend has decided to give up her career. Mind you—if Lucy can’t deal with being stood up for Arthur’s job as his working girlfriend, it would seem to bode ill for the domestic happiness of Mr and Mrs Martinez.

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How many hands can you see?

Be that as it may, the date-breaking scene is notable for offering the film’s first nudity, as Norma Lazareno (discreetly towel-clad in La Horripilante Bestia Humana) leaves the shower and walks towards her dressing-room door with a towel covering only the front half of her body. We are given ample opportunity to notice that she doesn’t really have the physique of a professional wrestler.

(We also notice that, as actresses tend to do in these situations, Ms Lazareno is walking on her toes.)

Goyo carries a tray of food down into the laboratory, where the exhausted Dr Krallman sleeps in a chair at Julio’s side; the boy has been taken out of his oxygen tent. However, no sooner has Goyo turned his back, than Julio begins to transform…from the neck up. Krallman will later exposit that the powerful gorilla’s heart has increased the pressure of the blood flow to Julio’s head so much, it has damaged his “cerebrum”.

Apparently the rest of him is okey-dokey, although he seems to have put on a good fifty pounds or so, most of it around the chest and shoulders. Also, his hair has changed colour – gasp!

(Gerardo Zepeda, who plays Monster-Julio, was a professional wrestler before becoming an actor; he usually did play monsters or henchmen.)

Monster-Julio sits up, showing off his surgery scar and making a low growling noise that eventually attracts Goyo’s attention. His cry of alarm wakes Krallman, who after a stunned moment tries to placate his transformed son. Monster-Julio roughly thrusts both him and Goyo aside, however, and makes his escape by smashing through a window…leaving us to ponder the question of why this underground basement has windows in the first place.

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The film’s justification for its claim to be about “bloody apes”.

It turns out that Julio was wearing pyjama bottoms while lying unconscious on a gurney in the basement, so Monster-Julio has no reason to blush as he prowls the dark alleyways near his father’s home.

Also not given to blushing is the young woman across the way, who doesn’t seem to have curtains on any of her enormous apartment windows. Monster-Julio catches a glimpse of her bare back, as she (oh, surprise!) prepares to take a shower, and immediately heads in that direction…

There are few things in the annals of film-making that I despise more than rape scenes that exist only to add nudity to a film. However, if there is anything worse, it’s a rape scene that exists only to add nudity – and then gets coy about it.

Victim #1 is confronted by Monster-Julio the instant she steps out of the shower, but she stops to wrap her towel around herself before she screams. Both this first victim and a later one expose their breasts to the camera, and this one also exposes her buttocks. At the same time, however, Victim #1 manages to position herself throughout her violent assault and murder so as to prevent any glimpse of her pubic hair.

I’m not quite sure what’s more ridiculous, Monster-Julio taking care not to displace the towel from across the woman’s groin while he’s sexually assaulting her, or the woman carefully positioning her leg so as to preserve her modesty while she’s being sexually assaulted. Meanwhile, Monster-Julio’s pants remain firmly in place the whole time, so that it’s hard to know if the rape actually happens, or whether Monster-Julio can’t quite figure out what to do, as some of his random mauling suggests.

(As icing on the bad-taste cake, the unfortunate woman’s modesty towel changes colour mid-scene.)

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I’m fighting an urge to refer to him as “the guy with shit on his face“.

In the end, Monster-Julio is overcome by rage, and he mauls the woman to death. Or at least, she ends up covered in blood despite no discernible physical injuries. Her desperate screams do attract the other residents of her apartment building, but instead of trying to break in, one of them rattles her doorknob ineffectually, while someone else goes off to get the manager.

Not surprisingly, the woman is very thoroughly dead by the time the manager arrives with the key. The camera leers at her breasts one last time. A sub-Murders In The Rue Morgue sequence follows, as Arthur tries to get coherent statements from the dead woman’s neighbours.

Meanwhile, in the first of many such scenes, Krallman and Goyo are prowling the neighbourhood in their disgusting green car. Krallman spots Monster-Julio on the roof of the woman’s building, but he gets away. His wanderings take him to the vicinity of a corner store (note the Corona beer!), from which a cheerfully whistling small boy emerges with his purchase…but no, it’s not that kind of film. Instead we get one of those “monster looks sadly at symbol of lost innocence” moments.

Whatever Monster-Julio might have been planning to do next is rendered moot, however, as Krallman and Goyo then catch up with him, and Krallman manages a remarkable around-the-corner shot with his tranquiliser gun. Krallman bends over to begin lifting his transformed son, and once again we cut considerately away.

Back in the lab, Monster-Julio is bound to his gurney with ropes. Krallman shakes his head in disbelief, and utters the Mad Scientist’s Lament:

Dr Krallman:  “I was prepared for everything – but not for this!”

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“…but looking on the bright side, my loose-eemia has been detained.”

A king-sized serving of delicious gobbledygook follows, the upshot of which is Krallman’s brain-damage-through-blood-pressure theory, a situation that has left Julio with a “lesioned cerebrum”. Krallman further contends that the transformation is “impermanent”, although how he would know that is a mystery, and that Julio could return to normal at any moment – but even so, the brain will be permanently damaged…unless – !!

In a Lightbulb Moment©, Krallman realises that he can save Julio (at least from the transformation, if not from the loose-eemia) by taking the gorilla heart out of him again.

There is of course one slight flaw in this plan, which Goyo points out, but Krallman has thought of that. I mean, it’s not like Elena is really using her heart any more…

Goyo:  “But that would be a crime!”
Dr Krallman:  “But justifiable! That woman will die regardless!”

Yes, we can readily believe that this is the usual outcome for Dr Krallman’s patients. The good doctor tries to placate Goyo by explaining that Elena, too, has a “lesioned cerebrum” (my God, it’s an epidemic!), and that even if she does survive, “She’ll be an idiot for the rest of her life.” Goyo isn’t exactly convinced by this argument, but after some hesitation, his final word on the subject is of course, “Yes, master.”

Krallman has to go (go where? it’s the middle of the night!), so he leaves Goyo in charge, giving him a supply of sedative with which to inject Monster-Julio “every eight hours” (how long is he planning on being away?), and ordering him to board up the smashed window. “All of the precautions we can take are too few!” he avers solemnly.

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Sure, it’s a gratuitous rape scene…but there’s no need to be tacky.

Suddenly, I guess it’s the next night, since Krallman and Goyo are off Elena-napping. It’s certainly pitch-black outside.

(Although… At about the same time, Lucy stops by to inquire after Elena, and greats the desk nurse with, “Good afternoon.” Hmm…)

In their absence, as I’m sure you’ll be astonished to hear, Monster-Julio wakes up – throwing off the ropes that are binding him to the gurney with great ease, as I’m sure you’ll also be astonished to hear, before smashing his way out of the laboratory through the window which, by way of taking “all precautions”, Goyo has covered with a haphazard collection of loose boards.

Monster-Julio’s wanderings this time lead him to a park, where he comes across a necking couple – and we all know what that means, right? Sure enough, Monster-Julio grabs the man by the throat and begins mauling him, managing at the same time to tear the woman’s dress so that as she runs away screaming, her left breast is exposed.

Monster-Julio takes his time disposing of the man, doing a combination strangling / throat-ripping. Even so, the woman is still within easy loping distance when he comes after her, screaming and tripping over and breast-waving, but not really getting anywhere. She trips over one too many times, and Monster-Julio throws himself upon her, ripping off what’s left of her flimsy dress and pulling down her panties…but only at the back.

(The two struggling figures manage to kick loose the “grass” on which they are lying, revealing the concrete studio floor underneath.)

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“I don’t understand how my plan to save the life of my terminally ill son by transplanting a gorilla heart into him so that he can tolerate transfusions of gorilla blood could have gone wrong!”

We get a brief cutaway to Krallman and Goyo, lifting the unconscious Elena out of the station-wagon, and then we cut back to Monster-Julio, who leaves the battered woman sprawled on the ground. Whatever he’s supposed to have done to her, she still has her panties (mostly) on; though I guess if he doesn’t have to undress to rape, she doesn’t have to, to be raped. Meanwhile, this scene is blocked so as – without a single callous impulse on the viewer’s part – to make it impossible not to be distracted from the woman by the huge expanses of concrete beneath the grass of this park.

The woman starts to scream again, and for some reason, now she is heard. She runs to a nearby shop, that same corner store, in fact, and miracle of miracles, her dress is in one piece again. Also, her hair has restyled itself, and re-tied her bow. Also, all of her hysteria concerns the fate of her boyfriend. Hmm.

A customer phones the police as the woman sobs nearby, while the shopkeeper strides off into the park. He finds the spot where the original attack took place (of course, in this universe there was only one), only for Monster-Julio to seize him from behind, wrench from his hand the knife he just happened to be carrying when he left the shop, and stab him with it repeatedly.

It has taken Krallman and Goyo all this time to carry Elena to the basement, where they are understandably disconcerted to discover that Monster-Julio has taken a powder.

A cut back to Monster-Julio finds him encountering a random stranger on the street, grabbing him by the throat, and popping his right eye out, in an effect once described not inaccurately as looking like it was, “Achieved courtesy of a rubber mask having mashed potato squeezed from the eyehole.” Meanwhile, we note the strangely feminine eyebrow and lashes on the male victim.

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“All the precautions we can take are too few!”

Monster-Julio’s activities have attracted the police and a gawking mob, which also brings Krallman and Goyo to the scene in the nausea-wagon. One of Night Of The Bloody Ape’s most cherished cameo performances follows (by Leonor Gómez, I think), as around the corner, an elderly woman almost stumbles over the eye-victim and runs away waving her hands and wailing, “Oh! A dead man! A dead man! A dead man! A dead man!” She finds her way into the middle of the gawking mob and, in response to police questioning, asserts in the tone of a person prepared to brook no argument, “There around the corner, there’s a man and he’s dead!”

Nearby, Krallman finds Monster-Julio before the police do (no real surprise in that), and yet another dart takes him down. Krallman sends Goyo to “bring the car around”. Hilariously, they’re parked just near the gawking mob. As Goyo pulls out, a police car arrives at pace and very nearly collides with him. And then a second police car arrives, which nearly collects the rear section of the gawking mob. The squealing brakes in this scene are, we infer, perfectly genuine.

The second car contains Arthur, who [*cough*] takes charge. Remarkably, the stabbing victim is still alive. Seeing the damage to the dead boyfriend, however, Arthur concludes that the escaped gorilla must be responsible for all the attacks, including the shower-victim. Because, as we all know, gorillas are notorious for their knife-wielding abilities. And their second-storey work.

This, by the way, in spite of the fact that in both versions of the action, “the pretty girl in the park”, as Arthur likes to call her, had a perfectly clear view of the assailant.

Back at the lab, Krallman and Goyo peel the sheet back from the naked Elena – thanks, guys! – and the camera goes in for a lingering close-up.

(She was naked in the hospital?)

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“I thought that patch of ground felt hard!”

An abrupt cut takes us to the second insert of heart-surgery footage. When we cut away again, it’s all over, and Elena lies dead like the gorilla before her, with a slightly blood-stained cloth over her chest. Also like the gorilla, her next stop is the incinerator. But looking on the bright side, Julio’s surgery was apparently successful…

Mwoo-ha-ha!

At General Hospital, they are just now discovering that Elena is missing—after enough time has passed for (i) Elena to be abducted, (ii) Julio’s escape to be discovered, (iii) Julio to commit two murders and two assaults, (iv) Julio to be tracked down, drugged, and carted back to the lab, (v) Arthur to conduct something that vaguely resembles an investigation, and (vi) Julio to undergo another heart transplant.

The polite young doctor from earlier contacts Krallman. He and the senior staff gather in the conference room (they actually sit down this time, perhaps because the set-dresser has finally gotten around to providing some chairs), and after much hand-wringing about the potential damage to the hospital’s reputation, and very little expressed concern over Elena herself, Krallman allows himself to be “persuaded” into a cover-up.

The story agreed on is that Elena was a sleepwalker (!) and just wandered off. Without anyone noticing. (Let me remind you, she was naked. I think someone would have noticed by now.) The doctors also agree that there is no immediate need to tell anyone what has happened, and to blame the whole thing on “the hospital personnel”. After impressing upon the same personnel the need for “discretion”.

Somewhere, Hippocrates weeps.

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“So, gentlemen, we are agreed: this room is a lot more comfortable with furniture in it!”

There’s a conference going on at police HQ, too, complete with the results of the crime scene analysis. The science boffin tries to explain the odd prints found at the site of the first attack, but can’t decide whether they’re human or animal.

The doctor then gives his autopsy report, and expresses his doubts over the gorilla theory. And now we belatedly learn that the surviving girl did give a description of her assailant that should have put the gorilla theory to bed some time ago. In fact, it has emboldened Arthur to advance an incredible suggestion: that the monster terrorising the city is “a horrible half-beast, half-human”.

This theory provokes the head of the Special Service into a remarkable outburst:

Police Chief:  “I’ll say that’s absurd! The proofs are circumstantial! It’s more probable that of late, more and more you’re watching on your television many of those pictures of terror!”

There’s no possible response that Arthur could make to that, so we cut away to the lab, where Still-Monster-Julio is having a blood transfusion, although whose blood, or what’s, is unclear. (Although the fact that the blood has its Rh factor clearly marked is, under the circumstances, rather amusing.)

Goyo brings the newspaper in, and we discover that Arthur’s theory has escaped into the world at large. Unlike the head of the Special Service, the paper’s editor has swallowed the notion of “a horrible half-beast, half-human” hook, line and sinker, and demands to know how such things could be allowed to happen – “In the 20th century!” – and what The Authorities are doing about it.

NOTBA72-elena2b
“Come…help me drag the cadaver of the female wrestler whose heart we’ve just given my hideously transformed son to replace the gorilla heart we transplanted into him earlier over to the incinerator.”

Krallman then looks to the heavens and prays, literally, for just a little more time; just another six hours. God is evidently in a forbearing mood (or perhaps it’s more a case of give-him-enough-rope), and obliges. Sure enough, six hours later, to the second, Still-Monster-Julio retransforms into Normal-Julio. “Thank You!” says Krallman, glancing up again.

Krallman tells Goyo that they have to take the risk of moving Julio immediately, in case he recognises his surroundings and gets upset, which may bring on “traumatised emotions” and “a crucial nervousness”, which could in turn induce another transformation. Just like that, huh? “We’ll carry him,” proposes Krallman, which by now I’m sure you’ll recognise as a cue for a cut. However, while the trip up the staircase is conspicuous by its absence, we do see Julio being carried across his room and returned to his bed.

Krallman then goes to the hospital, where he has not put in an appearance for two nights – “I don’t want anyone to get suspicious!” – and Goyo is left in charge. So to speak.

Meanwhile, Arthur is patrolling the city, listening to Lucy’s final professional bout on the radio (!). She wins, and so “retains her crown”. Arthur is delighted, but whether over her victory or her imminent retirement, we can’t really say. He has the police dispatcher put through a call to her dressing-room, where – surprise! – Lucy is in the shower. She first does the towel-drape thing again, but then takes the call lying naked but face down on a massage-table.

Amazingly, Lucy has another hissy fit over Arthur neglecting her just because a horrible half-beast, half-man is rampaging through the city and raping and murdering. To placate her, Arthur arranges for them to meet a bit later – in “that little side-street, near the park”. You know, where the murders were committed.

NOTBA72-arthur1b
“All the crimes have been committed in this sector…but I see no particular reason to search for evidence there, or to question the residents, or to patrol the park.”

Yes, if I were Arthur, I’d be tired of her, too.

Arthur’s patrol-route takes him past Krallman’s house, where the good doctor is just now departing in the vomitorium. Given that the streets are otherwise deserted, this seems suspicious to Arthur, who summons a beat cop. Sure and begorrah, ’tis a son of Erin, i’tis, to be sure, to be sure! The cop identifies Krallman, and Arthur strokes his lip in a thoughtful way. Apparently doctors stopped making house-calls in Mexico even earlier than in other places.

Inside—well, what a shock! Julio is undergoing spontaneous transformation! I’m not sure how, considering the removal of the gorilla heart. I guess his “cerebrum” was just too “lesioned”. Which makes all this a complete waste of a perfectly good unconscious naked woman.

All sorts of growling and huffing noises emanate from Julio’s bedroom, to which Goyo is slow to respond even considering the gimp leg. He slowly, with his halting gait, walks up the stairs, glances into the bedroom from the doorway, at an angle at which he can’t see the occupant of the bed, and then goes away again. Well—that was pointless. THRILL!! – to the staircase ACTION!! ACTION!! ACTION!!, as we watch Goyo walk all the way back down again, and across to the study.

By this time, Re-Monstered-Julio is up and around. He has a much shaggier visage this time, and fangs; although this new look is offset by the full set of blue cotton pyjamas, buttoned tight to the throat. (Which fit him perfectly, despite belonging to the much more slightly built Julio.)

Goyo conscientiously sees and hears nothing as Re-Monstered-Julio sneaks up on him, and has time for only one gasp of terror before having his head literally pulled off his shoulders.

NOTBA72-julio2b  NOTBA72-MJulio4b
“Oh, no! I’m experiencing traumatised emotions augmented by crucial nervousness – and we all know what that means!”

Krallman arrives home to find Goyo’s head sitting on his nice new living-room carpet – irony! He hurries upstairs, but Re-Monstered-Julio is not in his room. Instead, he comes up behind Krallman, carrying Goyo’s head by the hair in time-honoured fashion. Krallman backs away in terror and manages to trip and knock himself out.

As soft music plays, Re-Monstered-Julio bends over his father, stroking his hair gently before picking him up and tucking him into bed. The moment tries way too hard to actually achieve poignancy, but still, I bet the Cardonas had fun writing it.

BUT! – a horrible half-beast, half-man’s gotta do what a horrible half-beast, half-man’s gotta do, and a sinister musical sting soon lets us know that the beast in Julio has regained the ascendancy. He smashes his way out of the house through a window, rather than departing by the door, which alerts Paddy O’Toole O’Grady O’Sullivan to the fact that something is wrong. The cop runs down to the intersection and then helpfully turns and stands with his back to a clump of bushes, allowing Re-Monstered-Julio to attack him from behind.

A truly glorious moment in the history of special effects follows, as Re-Monstered-Julio scalps his victim simply by grabbing and pulling: the whole thing lifts right off, just like it was a cheap toupee, or something. The unfortunate Paddy pitches forward, revealing—

Let’s just say that, for those of you who enjoyed the accidental blood-tube exposure in Zombie Lake, this moment could induce a state of nerd-vana.

NOTBA72-goyo2b  NOTBA72-goyo1b
Live Goyo……………………………………………………..Dead Goyo

Lucy arrives at the scene just in time to witness all this, and her screaming gets Re-Monstered-Julio’s attention. Naturally, she takes off through the park – you know, the park where the murders were committed? where her boyfriend asked her to meet him?

Fortunately, Arthur is cruising by and hears the screams. He stops briefly to inspect the body of poor pate-less Paddy, and then sets off in pursuit.

Lucy has evaded Re-Monstered-Julio up to this point, but now she performs the obligatory trip. Astonishingly, in doing so, she manages to pick out exactly the same small patch of grass-covered concrete on which the previous victim was attacked. Lucy is, however, the closest thing the film has to a heroine, so she suffers nothing worse during the subsequent attack than getting her knickers flashed into the camera.

Re-Monstered-Julio then lets her go and runs, presumably because Arthur is approaching, although we might be inclined to wonder why he’d run now instead of sticking around to maul / strangle / stab / scalp / decapitate the next person to cross his path, as he has all the other times. Except, you know, IITS©.

While Arthur has been pursuing Lucy and Re-Monstered-Julio, Krallman has been pursuing him; and now, just when Arthur corners his quarry, Krallman jumps him, crying, “My son!” By the time Arthur has subdued his attacker, Re-Monstered-Julio has conveniently retransformed into Normal-Julio, complete with perfectly fitting pyjamas.

NOTBA72-paddy3b  NOTBA72-paddy4b
NOTBA72-paddy1b  NOTBA72-paddy2b
Saints preserve us!

However, this encounter, on top of the earlier, highly suspicious “leaving the house” episode, has put Krallman in Arthur’s sights. Of course, if he’d actually thought to canvass the area where the murders were committed, this breakthrough might have taken place several dead people ago.

We arrive at the doctor’s house in time to see what’s left of Goyo being carted away; there is a distinct lack of blood at the scene, considering.

Krallman did at one point order Goyo to clean up the lab and destroy any evidence of the presence of Elena and the gorilla, “In case we have visitors”, but apparently Goyo was about as good at cleaning up as he was at keeping watch. And taking precautions. One of Arthur’s underlings calls him downstairs, showing him the cage and the incinerator – the latter still containing suspicious debris.

The following remarkable exchange then takes place, following Arthur’s inquiry as to the identity of the pyjama-clad boy in the park:

Underling:  “It’s the son of Dr Krallman.”
Arthur [after a long, thoughtful moment]: “He just might give us a clue to the case!”

Oh, you think!?

Both Krallmans have been admitted to General Hospital [*snicker*], and a nurse enters Julio’s room to find—well, what do you think? Her screams reach the polite young doctor, who is examining, sigh, a small child in a nearby room. “Don’t be frightened,” he tells her. The girl obligingly turns and gives the camera a look of unutterable boredom.

NOTBA72-kid1b
“Do you people honestly have nothing better to do than watch movies like this?”

Re-Re-Monstered-Julio has mauled one person to death by the time Polite Young Doctor gets there, and then he is the next to go. The nurse, still screaming hysterically, helpfully takes refuge in the child’s room. She tries to hold the door shut but is brushed aside, and Re-Re-Monstered-Julio stalks in. The child looks at him, unperturbed, as a most unconvincing scream is dubbed in.

Now, this is the closing stage of a monster-on-the-rampage movie, so naturally Re-Re-Monstered-Julio’s response to the situation is to scoop the little girl up and carry her off across the rooftop. I’m pretty sure the standard Monster’s Union contract insists upon that.

Arthur rocks up while what’s left of the hospital’s staff are staring helplessly at their dead colleagues, and asks to see “the sick man”. Really. One of the remaining doctors opines that, “He’s not a man, he’s a monster!” Arthur asks directions to the roof. In another of the film’s indelible bit-player moments, the guy who responds points dramatically, not once, but twice, and proclaims, “At the far end of the hall!! [point] To the left!! [point]”

Outside, another gawking mob has gathered, as a cop shines a spotlight on Re-Re-Monstered-Julio and the kid. A second cop draws his gun, and looks distinctly disappointed when Arthur sprints in shouting, “Don’t shoot! He’s got a child!” Meanwhile, Krallman overhears two of the staff agreeing that the monster will have to be shot, and he follows Arthur up to the roof.

The rest plays out so entirely predictably, it’s like watching a tribute to Great Monster Movies Of The Past. The only surprise that it has for us – and granted, it’s such a break with tradition it truly is a surprise – is that Re-Re-Monstered-Julio, having listened to his father’s pleading, handed over the child, and then been immediately shot, does not clutch his chest, spin around, and plunge to the ground.

NOTBA72-end2b  NOTBA72-end1b
Where do they get their ideas?

Instead he is helped down off the ledge by his father and Arthur and collapses onto the roof. That done, however, he again picks up the torch of his forebears, and undergoes a final transformation into Normal-Julio, while Krallman sobs.

Night Of The Bloody Apes seems to be trying to make us feel sorry for Krallman here, but given the body count, I don’t think so. In any case, the final words on the subject go to Arthur and Lucy, the latter of whom seems surprisingly calm under the circumstances; although given what we’ve seen of their relationship to date, I don’t imagine that Arthur has heard the end of the whole “Meet me in the Murder Park” thing. Not by a long shot.

Krallman, we learn, remained “lucid” for just long enough to ’fess up to everything, before going “completely out of his mind”.

Arthur:  “Poor fool! The desire to save his son from death was the cause of so many people’s suffering!”
Lucy:  “It’s unfortunate. Really sad.”

You can’t argue with that.

NOTBA72-end3b
“Explain to me again why you asked me to meet you where you knew there was a killer loose?”
“Um… It seemed like a good idea at the time?”

 

Footnote: Night Of The Bloody Apes was finally released uncut on DVD in the UK in September of 2012 – and there was much rejoicing…

Want a second opinion of Night Of The Bloody Apes? Visit Jabootu’s Bad Movie Dimension!

Click here for some Immortal Dialogue.

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2 Responses to Night Of The Bloody Apes (1972)

  1. Pingback: Hell Of The Living Dead (1980) | and you call yourself a scientist!?

  2. Pingback: Immortal Dialogue: Films I – N | and you call yourself a scientist!?

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