Mexico - 1972
Director - Rene Cardona
Something Weird Video, 2002, DVD
Run Time - 1 hour, 24 minutes
Mondo fad and mixing it up with a generous dose of nudity and Mexicana. The story concerns the distraught Doctor Krallman (a suitably ‘German’ name*) whose son Julio is dying of Leukemia. In an attempt to save him, the good doctor and his lurching, half-blind henchman replace the son’s heart with that of a gorilla. This gives ample opportunity for the showcase gross-out scene in the film; footage of an actual open heart surgery complete with squirting blood and still beating organ.
Mario Bava. After working on his father’s films (they co-wrote this one) Rene Cardona Jr. went on to direct his own low (and not so low) budget horror films, some of which, Beaks and Tintorera, we’ve covered here at LVA. I hate to make apple/orange comparisons that rob films of their individuality. If doing so will make the Cardona legacy and Mexican Cinema tangible and hopefully more accessible however, then the overgeneralization is worth it. Night of the Bloody Apes is among my favorite monster/splatter films. It is a beautiful example of the ‘serious’ exploitation filmmaking that is all but impossible in our current age of post-Scream meta-irony. Loaded with budgetary shibboleths and logic loopholes, it plows earnestly ahead with little more than coincidental interest in "art."
This sleeve comes courtesy of Itsonlyamovie.co.uk
This one from Lars Jacobsson
A poster from Radio Magma*Mexican movies of this and earlier eras (see LVA's coverage of the Aztec Mummy) loved to give the bad-guys European names. This was part of a larger project to establish a distinctly Mexican national identity as separate from European or American influence which then, as now, was often considered more ‘pure’ and important because it was whiter. Night of the Bloody Apes (a remake of Cardona’s own 1962 film Doctor of Doom) would seem to suggest that these dangerous foreign influences are just going to fuck Mexico up.