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THE BLOODY APE
DVD region 1. Wild Eye Releasing.

The Bloody ApeOriginally shot for nothing in the mid 1990's, The Bloody Ape is a homage to low rent exploitation cinema that does its job a little too well. While the combination of a man in an ape suit, sloppy gore and naked women should ensure a degree of fun, this doesn't really cut it.

The story concerns carnival barker Lampini, who runs an act with his pet gorilla and has an ill-defined relationship with fianceé Ginger. The gorilla escapes and goes on the rampage, murdering Ginger and her flatmates, a racist garage mechanic, a Jewish stereotype and various other people. Meanwhile, racist cop LoBianco is determined to blame the spate of killings on a black man.

The Bloody ApeShot on super 8 film, The Bloody Ape certainly looks like an Andy Milligan reject, but it doesn't quite manage to capture the demented feel that made so many of those earlier films fascinating. The racist satire isn't subtle or well-written / acted enough to actually work as satire - although director Keith Crocker defends it in the accompanying documentary and claims the film to be anti-racist, it's hard to avoid thinking this is just for shock value.

Bad taste, however clumsy, is forgivable - being boring isn't. And the first half of this film is entirely lacking in bloody ape action. There's only so much you can take of bad actors spouting bad dialogue, and this stretches the limits. The second half, thankfully, perks up, with an old school gorilla (ie a man in a suit) on the rampage. He rips off a hippy's dick (in tribute to video nasty Night of the Demon), attacks a naked women in the shower - in fact he attacks several naked women - and generally has a fine time disembowelling, decapitating and mutilating various people in a welter of crude, unconvincing gore effects. He also steals a car at one point! Welcome as this action is, it unfortunately comes too late to save the film.

While the movie itself is pretty poor, the DVD at least pulls out all the stops. There's a commentary track from Crocker and co-writer / star George Reis, a retrospective documentary, a 6 minute short film by Crocker (this is more impressive than the feature) and assorted art galleries, including a cover gallery for Crocker's fanzine Exploitation Journal.

LES DE MONZE

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