Friday, October 22, 2010

DVD Review: The Bloody Ape (1997)

"400 Pounds of Fury Hungry for Female Flesh!"

Wild Eye Releasing

RATED: Unrated
DIRECTOR: Keith J. Crocker
CAST:  George Reis (LoBianco/Ape), Paul Richichi (Lampini), Chris Hoskins (Duane Jones), Larry Koster (Vic White), Arlene Hansen, Gus Torres (Gas Station Attendant), Joe Hutchinson (Israel), Kevin Crocker (Officer O'Flannery)

 SUMMARY: THE BLOODY APE is the most outrageous, drive-in movie take on Poe's "Murders in the Rue Morgue" ever committed to film. A carnival barker foolishly releases his 400 pound gorilla, who then literally goes bananas on a rampage of raw rape and boffo butchery - leaving the low rent population of Long Island either sexually violated, slaughtered - or both! From maverick indy filmmaker Keith J. Crocker (Blitzkrieg: Escape from Stalag 69), THE BLOODY APE is a gore-soaked love letter to the sex and violence of the grind house movie era that pulls no punches and offers no apologies for wallowing in a skin-drenched stew of crudeness and camp! Banned from numerous festivals around the world, ignored by critics and loathed by the politically correct....but now there just is no stopping THE BLOODY APE! (Written by Wild Eye Releasing)

FILM: The Bloody Ape (aka Son of Sweetback vs. Kong) is the 1997 feature film debut from gonzo director Keith J. Crocker whom is also know as the occasional editor of "The Exploitation Journal" and the proprietor of Cinefear Video, a great online shop for hard-to-find exploitation and horror from the 60's and 70's. The film originally began life as a Sasquatch cinema entry and evolved into a sleazy super-8mm shot exploitation style drive-in take on the Edgar Allen Poe short story "Murders In The Rue Morgue".

Lampini (Paul Richichi) is a nutty carnival barker who owns a 400lb. gorilla, Gorto. Richichi is bizarrely wonderful as the Long Island carnival barker with an axe to grin. He's completely out of his mind bat shit insane, it's fantastic stuff. He reminds me of a psychotic Eddie Deezen (Herbie Kazlminsky,  from Spielberg's 1941). In a diabolical scheme to take revenge on those whom have wronged him Lampini has trained Gorto to kill and sets him loose upon the community to exact bloody revenge on his ex-girlfriend, the jewelry dealing Rabbi Rabinowitz and the racist gas station attendant Vic White. Things don't quite go as planned and several innocents are brutally and bloodily killed and raped.

But fear not residents of Long Island there's a detective on the case. Detective LoBianco (George Reis) a racist cop who immediately targets a young black man Duane Jones (Christopher Hoskins) as the culprit behind the horrific rape/murders despite strong evidence suggesting otherwise. Reis is a real riot and plays the role with great zeal. George Reis now runs the cult move site DVD Drive-In -  check it out. The acting all around is enjoyably terrible and campy. Definitely a film that revels in being bad.


Let me just say that Gorto the gorilla is one horny primate and has an uncanny knack for finding naked women to kill and occasionally rape. I love the deaths in this films. A hippie gets his dick torn off complete with some low-grade psychedelic effects, Gorto steals a car committing vehicular manslaughter, throats are slit, limbs are severed and we're treated to a gushing decapitation - real fun stuff, a lot of cheap thrills.

Shot on Super-8mm film The Bloody Ape looks truly grindhouse with it grainy image, tinny audio and hard edits that suite the sleazy nature of the film. Not merely an imitation of the grindhouse aesthetic, this is the real deal.

DVD: The Bloody Ape being the super-8mm exploitation classic that is is is presented in mind-blowing 1.33:1 aspect ratio with a grainy and scratched image and mono audio that is sure to tremble your tinny tube television speakers. A good amount of supplemental materials are included on the disc including a great commentary and Keith J. Crocker's film "One Grave Too Many" - a 6 minute short about a couple of grave robbers.

Special Features
Writer/Director Commentary (77 min)
Original Trailers (2 min)
Grindhouse Gorilla - The Making of The Bloody Ape(23 min)
Kieth J. Crocker short film "One Grave Too Many" (6 min)
Exploitation Journal Cover Gallery
Press Book
Lobby Cards
Stills Gallery

VERDICT: When it comes to no-budget film making it does not get any more broke-ass than this. True trash cinema of the 1st order. The comedy is appalling, the killings are outrageous, and the nudity is sleazy as Hell. A true homage to the low-budget sleazy grindhouse films that filled the drive-ins of America in the late-60's/70's. I can't wait to watch Crocker's nazisploitation film Blitzkrieg - Escape from Stalag 69 (2008). If you love the early films of John Waters of Sasquatch cinema like Night of the Demon (1980) you're gonna love The Bloody Ape.   The DVD is available from CineFear Video and Amazon.
***1/2 (3.5 out of 5 stars)