Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Growing up in the Silver Age of Comic Books no doubt played some part in my becoming a fan of "ape-suit cinema". I even have a theory that all the intelligent gorillas that appeared in the comic books of the 50s and 60s were the results of those brain transplant experiments by mad scientists in the horror movies of the 30s and 40s. One of my favorites from the ape-suit genre was the fab 50s 3-D flick GORILLA AT LARGE.

I never considered it a horror flick. More like a murder mystery with the chief suspect a gorilla. A major reason I like this flick so much is that it features Anne Bancroft in what would be her sexiest role until she portrayed Mrs.Robinson in THE GRADUATE. In GORILLA AT LARGE she plays a nymphomaniacal aerialist who spends most of her time dressed in leotards. Another plus,for me at least,was that judo plays an integral part in the movie's plot. No there's no fight between the hero and Goliath,the eponymous gorilla at large.But the hero played by Cameron Mitchell is an ex-Marine with a working knowledge of judo. This makes him a prime suspect when characters start turning up with broken necks. You're left to guess who the real killer is...Goliath or someone in a gorilla costume?

Another favorite of mine is THE APE-MAN. Directed by the legendary William "One-Shot" Beaudine from a screenplay from Barney Sarecky this psychotronic movie isn't great art. But it's a heck of a lot of fun. It stars iconic horror movie star Bela Lugosi with Louise Currie  and Wallace Ford.And in a nod to equal opportunity it features Ernie "Sunshine Sammy" Morrison as a newspaper copy boy.Think about it. They could have cast any of the East Side Kids in the role. But they cast "Scruno". It's one of those movies where a scientist breaks the laws of the nature and pays a price for it.Emil Van Horn portrays Bela's pet gorilla. And as usual he's great. One of my favorite ape-suit actors Van Horn also worked in a few Gorilla & Girl nightclub acts.

Retro art by Vance Capley


  1. I manage to watch GORILLA AT LARGE and THE APE MAN both at least 3 times a year.And I wish there had been some more judo in GORILLA AT LARGE.

  2. While this isn't technically a judo gorilla, it's still pretty fun: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBRKhhm914o