1997 was a prodigious year for cinema with films like LA Confidential, Titanic, As Good as It Gets, The Full Monty, and The Fifth Element. Then there was Keith Crocker’s ode to VHS and Grindhouse, The Bloody Ape. Those uneducated and obstinate horror fans may miscalculate it as horrible film making. That is, if they even have the means to find a copy.
This isn’t like many of the recent attempts to make a Grindhouse film or anything like Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror. Unlike Hollywood directors, Crocker doesn’t have any money. This film actually had a very low budget which is part of its genuine charm. There are no Hollywood beauties or household names. The Bloody Ape actually makes me wonder if Crocker randomly selected ugly, obese broads from the streets. I am not trashing these ladies by any means. In my opinion, it’s fitting. Crocker even shot this bad boy in Super 8 stock so there is plenty of grain and grit. Though some frames were too out of focus and it was a little too dark in places here and there. The audio isn’t all that great either. In some places where women are screaming, you can’t even hear them.
If I didn’t know any better, I would accuse Mr. Crocker of being an anti-Semetic. There’s so much Jew hate taking place.Â The rabbi for starters exaggerates with the “Ch” sound before everything he says. There’s also a lot of racism going on. The word ‘Chink’ is thrown into the dialogue non-stop. Everyone in town thinks the ape is a black man and Polish jokes are mixed in there as well. It’s all harmless humor though I think some might suffer from butthurtitis and take it seriously.
So what is The Bloody Ape about? A carnival barker recklessly releases his 400 pound gorilla that literally goes bananas! This thing is running around killing and sexually violating his master’s enemies in the worst possible way imaginable. This film gets down right gruesome when it isn’t too busy being fucking hilarious. I haven’t seen a horror film as hilarious as The Bloody Ape since….. Well Astron 6’s Father’s Day was pretty hilarious as well. Both are equally amazing with wall-to-wall graphic scenery and entertainment.
The very first image we see across our screen is a pair of breasts along with the title and carnival music. I LOVE carnival music. Don’t ask me why, I just do. Immediately I thought, “This is going to be good!” I don’t think I fully appreciated the film until my second viewing. I am glad I decided to revisit. The death scenes are creative and awe-inspiring. I am so inspired, I want to make a horror film just like this. Heads are smashed into tile floors, throats are slit, nipples ripped off, a car mechanic gets his head smashed in by a tire, the ape knocks a cop’s head off with his bare hands, legs are amputated, and insides are ripped out. As fun as all of this sounds, the special effects weren’t all that great. The cop’s headless body still stands and twitches. The woman’s insides being ripped out looked like pork chops smothered in BBQ sauce. I found the scenes where the ape jizzes all over his rape victims to be pretty gross and disturbing but comical at the same time.
Perhaps the funniest thing about this ape is his terrible costume that looks like it was purchased from a Halloween store. This ape is smart enough to browse through people’s kitchens in search of a knife to kill them with and I almost lost it when he steals a car and begins to drive, running people over. Oh the comedy! A cop that sees the ape driving says, â€œSome crazy nigger jut tried to run me over!â€
My biggest complaint is the ever-so-annoying fat guy playing the cop. Purely nauseating. He screams during the whole movies and bitches about nonsense. He sits back letting the murders happen and swears itâ€™s just the black man and he reminded me of Donkey Lips from Salute Your Shorts. I hate that guy.
Overall, The Bloody Ape is an epic, nostalgic experiment to recapture the prestidigitation that is low rent Grindhouse and drive-in films from the 70s. It’s a little scary if you ask me. Being raped and beaten by an ape is an idea that scares the living shit out of me. I had the pleasure of interviewing Keith Crocker years ago and he’s actually alright. Just another fellow nerd that collects VHS and has a never-ending love for horror movies.