Cast: George Reis, Paul Richichi, Chris Hoskins, Larry Koster, Arlene Hansen
Extras: Writer/Directory Commentary / Trailers / Behind the Scenes Footage and Interviews / Keith J. Crocker Short Film “One Grave Too Many / Exploitation Journal Cover Gallery / Bloody Ape Stills and Art
Besides the Hollywood invested and universally famous franchise of King Kong and the guilty pleasure that is Congo, there are no other killer primate films in my vast library of visual entertainment. I would like to believe that my inexperience with killer primate films hasn’t been a subconscious neglected sway away, but instead an enormous lack of material out there in the world, readily and easily available to people like myself. Lets face it, what is the first film that pops into your head when you think of a killer primate film? I bet you wouldn’t think of The Beast That Killed Women or George A. Romero’s Monkey Shines. Ever heard of one of those? Luckily, director Keith J. Crocker puts a mound of faith into me and slipped me a DVD copy of his 1997 film The Bloody Ape. A movie that recreates the look and feel of old-school grindhouse cinema.
Sideshow ringleader Lampini runs through a string of bad luck due to some very bad people. His mechanic, Vic White, is a racist, no good loaf who not only doesn’t fix Lampini’s car, but insults him and makes sexually suggestive passes at his girlfriend, Ginger, who later on decides to break the relationship off from Lampini due to her high maintenance persona. Then, there is the Jewish JEWelry dealer Rabbi Rabinowitz who attempts to con Lampini out of thousands of dollars for cheap glass jewelry. After all that hardship, Lampini’s 400 pound gorilla, Gordo, escapes his chains and runs loose. Gordo’s rampage strikes those who did Lampini wrong; the victims, whom include innocent bystanders also, suffer sexual violations, horrible mutilations and even gruesome fatal consequences!
The Bloody Ape is one giant homage to horror and the exploitation films of the 70′s. Crocker purposefully shoots in Super 8 stock to ensure a grainy, gritty and dark overtone to his already tenebrous and overly extravagant work. The resulting finish is pure uncut sleaze that would make any hippie remember the good old days of drive-in cinemas and would further along any younger generation in their search for gratuitous violence and lust – you know kids these days, bunch of maniacs! My favorite homage from The Bloody Ape is Christopher Hoskins character named “Duane Jones”. Does that name sound familiar? It should to all you horror hounds out there. Real life actor Duane Jones took on the iconic role of “Ben” from Romero’s Night of the Living Dead; Christopher Hoskins does “ape” (HA! – editor) the look of Duane Jones’ “Ben” with the white button down shirt, the dark slacks and he even looks like Duane Jones. Crocker even goes as far as to giving Hopkins’ “Duane Jones” the almost exact finale treatment as “Ben.”
Crocker works hard to convey a social commentary about communication that is absent in the nation or even the world. Here is a real world example: two deeply religious countries can not agree on the way the Lord works and how he connects through us all. So, what do they do? A hate builds and rivals are created; the possibility of religious war could start between them, devastating the countries economic structure and livelihood. Back to the movie, so when Lampini is unsuccessfully able to communicate with his mechanic, his girlfriend and his jewelry salesman, all of who just don’t listen or understand Lampini, their racist, narcissism and greed fuels Lampini’s Gordo into a horny, raging mutilator! A personal war stems out of Lampini’s struggles and results into grindhouse ultra violence! The Bloody Ape will not delight everyone as the George Reis and Keith Crocker script may offend, disgust, angry and potentially even harm those who are delicate sunflowers. The film is a proud duplication of 70′s inspiration that would make H.G. Lewis gawk in admiration and have Quintin Tarantino cry unmercifully with tears of joy. Welcome to the beloved grindhouse cinema boys and girls – enjoy your stay!