Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Kentucky Fried gorilla man !

Kentucky Fried Movie, is a crazed, zany, and raucous example of frat boy humor gone wild !
This exercise in lunacy is a collection of  adult oriented skits, like "Catholic Schoolgirls in trouble", and " A Fistful of Yen" strung together with snippets of madcap hi jinx, and fart jokes.
One such snippet is a running gag, featuring a news program with a guest from the local zoo.
One of the animals the zookeeper introduces is Dino, a mountain gorilla. ( Rick Baker)
It seems Dino, has been unsuccessful in the zoo's breeding program, and the discussion regresses into details of Dino's sex life.
The poor gorilla is suitably embarrassed by this, ( brilliantly acted by Baker),
and proceeds to express his dissatisfaction by destroying the TV studio.
Dino continues to pop up periodically throughout the movie, and always with hysterical results.
Kentucky Fried Movie, was directed by a young John Landis.
Landis was no stranger to the rigors of being a primate, after having played the ape man in "Schlock",
and also a background chimp in" Battle for the Planet of the Apes."
Landis befriended Baker during the Schlock production, as Rick created the Ape suit that Landis wore.
For Kentucky Fried Movie, Landis wrote in the gorilla role for Baker, as a way for Rick to get his comedic revenge at the poor treatment he had received while playing the title role in 1976's King Kong.
To accomplish this, it was decided to name Rick's gorilla character "Dino" after Kong producer Dino Delaurentis.
To ad to the insult , it was decided that Gorilla "Dino", despite his great size and strength, would be impotent. (hence the breeding problems.)
I do want to say that the suit Rick made for KFM is brilliant !
It's a great looking beast, and possessing a beautifully expressive face.
The mechanisms were a upgraded version of the classic gorilla framework.
The main factor in the expressiveness of this amazing ape, is the incredible display of body English by Rick Baker !
A true gorilla man, Rick used the teachings of his gorilla mentor (and mine) Bob Burns, to turn in an outstanding performance as a poor humiliated gorilla gone wild.
Ricks eye expressions, created a realism that has never been achieved with the newer styled gorilla suits with the animatronic eye movement.
So if you're looking for some nice, mindless, comedy gold, watch Kentucky Fried Movie !

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Ape man

The Ape Man....A true classic of Simian Cinema ! 
The Ape Man....A masterpiece of Monkey Movie Madness !
The Ape Man.... A powerful...er..amazing....well...awww crap !...It's got a gorilla in it !
If your the hard boiled gorilla man fans I know you are, then you've hopefully seen it !
If not...What are you waiting for ?!!
Be forewarned, my mad monkey minions, there are spoilers ahead !
So if you haven't seen the Ape Man yet, skip now to the bottom of the post and watch it...Go ahead..we'll wait. After you've watched it, read on , and well have a good laugh at it.

The plot; apparently for some reason, Dr. Jonathan Brewster (Lugosi) felt the need to inject himself
in the spine with the spinal fluid of a gorilla. Why you ask? Who the hell knows !
It's a damn well weird thing to do to yourself !
I would assume the fluid was taken from the gorilla Brewster keeps lock away in his basement laboratory. (Emil VanHorn )
The results of this bizarre experiment, are a bad case of poor posture, an Amish beard and a hairline that starts at his eyebrows. Dr. Brewster is so horrified by his ape-like appearance, that he hides out, making the world think he's dead.
Enter, Agatha Brewster ( Minerva Urecal), the nutty Doctors even nuttier sister. The old battle axe's arrival is tipped to a reporter by a loony halfwit tipster named Zippo,(Ralph Littlefield) that keeps popping in and out of the story periodically.
The reporters the goofball Zippo tips off , are none other than Jefferson B. Carter (Wallace Ford) and his cutie side kick photographer, Billie Mason.(Louise Currie)
In a quest to interview the loony old Brewster sister, they wind up at Dr. Brewster's creepy mansion. Before their arrival, old Agatha had gotten the shock of her life to find her brother she thought dead, to be very much alive...though more than a little messed up !
When the reporters arrive outside the old house, they hear the Docs gorilla raising hell, and decided to investigate.
Agatha, (not wanting to disclose her Brothers secret, covers for the noise by claiming it was a recording of ghost sounds from some old castle she was at. ( she's a medium, you see.)
As luck would have it , Billie Mason snaps a photo of the old bag for the article they are writing, just as the ape faced Bela pears through a window behind her.
He sneaks off, not being noticed, and the reporters leave...Very suspicious of the goings on in the old house.
Meanwhile Bela, decides the only chance he has to get cured is to inject human spinal fluid into his back.
The fact that it needs to taken from a live host, and it will kill them to extract it, is inconsequential.
So old Bela and his trained Hench gorilla set out to go on a murderous rampage in a macabre scavenger hunt to collect the fluid.
Bela's friend and fellow physician,Dr. George Randall, (Henry Hall) is approached to do the injections.
Horrified at how he intends to acquire the stuff, George refuses at first, but relents after Brewster has his gorilla kill his butler.
The shot does the trick and they all live happily ever after...NOT.
The cure only works for a short while, so off the hairy duo go to procure more of the secret sauce.
After several more killings, Bela figures he has enough to reverse the curse permanently.
Now all these hairy murders haven't gone unnoticed by the dynamic newspaper duo ,and after yet another tip from the Idiot Zippo, they follow the clues back to the Brewster mansion.
Can you guess what they discovered on the photo of the old hag Agatha, that Miss Mason took...You guessed it, old monkey face Bela himself! The cops have determined that the killing were done by an ape, because of the crushed bones in the victims, and here they find an ape staring at them in the photo. So after a few more words of wisdom from the moronic Zippo, off to the Brewster place the intrepid duo fly.
Meanwhile old George is brought out to the old house to do the honors with the injections.

In a fit of morality, George refuses his friends request and breaks the vial of the good stuff.
Bela doesn't take this lightly and kills him out of spite.
Before long, the girl reporter winds up captured by Brewster and sis, and Carter winds up face down on the floor with a vase busted over his head.

( a classic still, beautifully colorized by artist Mark Thompsen)

Meanwhile, back in the lab, old Brewster's pet gorilla takes a liking to the pretty Miss Mason.
Brewster menaces the poor girl, whilst Jeff Carter, having regained consciousness, is frantically trying to get into the lab with the cops.
Bela is closing in on the dame when she accidentally releases Magilla from his cage.
Not wanting to see his little girlfriend sullied by the Dr.'s grimy paws, the gorilla attacks old Bela, and proceeds to kill the crap out of him.
With Brewster pushing daisies, Magilla turns his affections toward Billie Mason who ain't to happy about that.
Just then Jeff Carter and the cops burst in with guns blazing and turn the poor monkey into hairy Swiss cheese.
As if on cue, the to reporters fall in love and all is happy....Even the idiot Zippo, who wrote the crazy thing.

Is The Ape Man a great movie ? I'd be a damned liar if I said yes.
But it is a fun movie...Wallace ford is likable as the wise cracking reporter, and Louise Currie ain't too hatefull to look at.
Bela is as over the top as I've ever seen him in any movie !
There is some nice atmosphere in a lot of the shots, and the story moves along at a pretty good pace.
.One thing that's funny is Minerva Urecal could pass for the Man from Planet X in drag. No kiddin...She looks just like him.
So on behalf of Emil VanHorn, enjoy the movie...and have a good laugh at the expense of...
The Ape Man !

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Ape 1940

The Spanish Herald mini poster promoting The Ape in Spain !

The Ape 1940 

I thought it might be nice to revisit one of the classics in simian cinema, Monogram Pictures, The Ape, starring Boris Karloff.
This is a really touching film..Boris Karloff stars as a lonely country doctor, who has lost his wife and daughter to polio.
Doctor Adrian ( Karloff), is on a  guilt ridden search to find the cure, the result of a broken heart at having lost those he loved to this vile disease.
A young girl in town, (Maris Wrixon) also suffers from the dread disease, and Doctor Adrian is
  damned and determined not to let the disease take another innocent life. the key to the cure, he hypothesise, is the introduction of human spinal fluid into the spine of the patient.

The only drawback is the spinal fluid must be extracted from a live donor.
As luck would have it, this causes the donor to die, thereby cutting down the list of potential volunteers.
In a series of fortunate events, a traveling circus happens into the little town the good doctor lives in.
One of the exhibits is a huge gorilla,( Ray Corrigan).
The poor beast is horribly abused by his trainer.
Then one evening, after viciously flogging the crap out of the poor gorilla, the A-hole trainer makes the mistake of getting to close to the vengeful behemoths cage.
Then the gorilla does a little flogging of his own. (YAY !) 
One dropped cigar later, and the circus is now on fire, with part of the cage burned through, the ape
escapes into the night
The circus folk find the mangled body of the trainer, still somehow alive !
The trainer is taken to old Doc Adrian (Karloff) to try to save him.
The monkey did a thorough job of whipping his ass so the trainer's well on his way to a dirt nap.
Old Doc figures since the guy's on the way out, a donation to the spinal fluid bank won't hurt him any way.(since to extract it is always fatal.)
After getting the secret sauce, old Doc injects the young girl he's trying to cure and sees a glimmer of hope in the treatment.
Meanwhile, as Doc's returning to his office, the mean old gorilla has come sniffing for the trainer's scent.
As luck would have it, the trainers blood stained jacket is still in the office and old Magilla can smell it !
It breaks through the window scaring the hell out of the Doc!
But rather than run away, the old Doc busts a bottle of chloroform over the enraged critters snot locker !
Then when the monkey was two sheets to the wind, Doc jumps the monkey with a knife and stabs the hairy intruder though the heart, from behind.
Then , in a moment of mad inspiration, he skins it, and makes a costume out of it, and set out to get as much spinal fluid as he needs to cure that poor girl.
I do want to point out, that for the most part, Doc was taking it from local scumbags.( who probably deserved it)
I also want to say, that Docs motives were to help the girl, and by virtue, mankind as a whole through finding the polio cure.
This is polar opposite to Lugosi (in the Ape Man) killing for spinal fluid to cure his own selfish butt! ( after having messed him self up in the first place !)
But, back to the Karloff flick.
The Ape costarred Ray "Crash" Corrigan as both the real gorilla, and Doc Adrian in disguise.

This was necessary as Kaloff could barely stand in the heavy costume, much less move in it.
Karloff wore the suit for one scene only, as a reveal of the culprit.
This film marked the last time Ray's original gorilla costume ( Bonga) was ever used, as it was falling apart.
When the gorilla is looking through the windows of Docs office,
you can see the monkeys teeth through horizontal rips in the upper lip.

You can also see a steel wire sticking out from the lower lip that was part of the mechanism to make the mouth move.
After the Ape, Crash retired the old suit, and had a new suit constructed, that was even more menacing.
But at any rate, I like this little film, because it truly shows old Boris giving a heck of a performance as the painfully conflicted Dr. having to kill, to save lives.

See it here my, Mighty Monkey Movie Minions !
Have fun ! Have popcorn !