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Night of the Bloody Apes

Year: 1969
Production Co: Cinematográfica Calderón SA
Director: René Cardona
Writer: René Cardona

First of all, there's only one ape. Secondly, it's a Mexican movie that's been dubbed into English (badly). The US distributors' splicing in of a few seconds of real open heart surgery footage might have been irredeemably shocking at the time, but with four decades of hindsight it's beyond comedy.

A respected scientist and doctor tends his sick son, but colleagues have already confirmed the boys' plight is hopeless. What else does he have to do but have his lumbering right hand man assist him in shooting a gorilla at the zoo with a tranquilizer so they can kidnap the animal and transplant its heart into the boy?

There's a throwaway few lines of exposition about the stronger simian blood fighting the condition, but nobody (except eager grindhouse fans) expects what happens next when the guy morphs via dodgy camera fades into a human/ape hybrid and goes on a rampage, attacking lovers in a nearby park, police and anyone who gets in the way.

Rather than looking like an ape, the bad wig and shonky clay mask just makes him looks like his parents lived near power lines, and he tends to tear womens' clothes nearly off, letting them go before killing men with gay abandon.

Meanwhile, a professional wrestler and her cop boyfriend who have nothing to do with the mad scientist story get embroiled in the case as the latter investigates the gruesome murders.

Every aspect of the dialogue, staging and special effects look like someone's done the best job they could of parodying the worst horror movies of the period. It's one to experience in a shared environment that the director probably had no idea would one day prompt shrieks of laughter.

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