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March 25, 2011

Movie Review: The Bloody Ape (1997, Wild Eye Releasing)

Wild Eye Releasing has put out some interesting releases over the past couple years. Of course you have the outrageously sleazy doll epic Dolla Morte, Del Close's lost hippie flick Gold and one of my picks for "Best of 2010", The Electric Chair, all being released last year. One thing that may surprise some of you reading is - these guys are actually filmmakers themselves. Wild Eye owner Keith Crocker has directed a few films, one of which I've had the pleasure of reviewing today called The Bloody Ape. Crocker and friend George Reis (creator of the popular genre review site DVD Drive-in) take a stab at recreating an homage to the great schlock films of yesteryear . As a longtime fan of exploitation, this DVD got me all sorts of excited.

Buy The Bloody Ape on DVD

Crocker does something that's quite unique and actually foreign to a lot of independent filmmakers - he shoots the feature entirely on 8mm film-stock. The "story" unfolds at a carnival where Lampini (Paul Richichi) is showing off his massive "harmless" ape (George Reis). Our furry beast isn't quite satisfied with being Lampini's source of revenue so the poo-flinger decides to escape the carnival business and go on a rampage. Somehow tearing naked women and obnoxious racist gas-station attendants to pieces is more fun than dancing around for carnies. The Bloody Ape is a pure exploitation trash throwback that knows its trash. That's part of the fun.

The gore is very much in much of the H.G Lewis variety (an obvious influence along with Andy Milligan). Heads are hacked off, guts are pulled out and we even get the castration of a public urinator who’s hung like a Tibetan yak. The kills are laughable and completly over-the-top but they're meant to be though. If you take The Bloody Ape too serious, you shouldn't be watching it. Amazingly, The Bloody Ape is based on Edgar Allen Poe's Murders in the Rue Morgue. I'm sure if Edgar were still alive he'd be overjoyed that his short story was given this treatment.

Easily one of the best parts of the disc are the extra features piled on by Wild Eye. We get a commentary with Crocker, Reis and Richichi that's moderated by Rob Hauschild. Reis recalls his issues with the suit and how it was too small for his frame. It's a playful yet informative commentary that covers a lot of ground in terms of the production. The fact that these guys are friends is pretty cool too. There's also a nice little featurette on The Bloody Ape that goes into detail about how 60's and 70's B movies like Carnival of Blood and Night of the Bloody Apes inspired the film. Crocker has a story about how he would obtain the 8mm rolls that's especially amusing.

The Bloody Ape is certainly not for everybody, but I'm not everybody. I actually enjoyed the hell out of it. Crocker and Reis did exactly what they set out to do - make a faithful homage to 60's and 70's exploitation. Essential viewing for schlock enthusiaists!


  1. Fun review, Jeff! Love, love, love THE BLOODY APE. It's one of those rare films that has smart, social commentary woven into layer of great, lurid horror and sleaze. Love Wild Eye in general.

  2. Thanks Heather! I'm huge fan of Wild Eye and ahem.. Devil's Den. "Bloody" was fucking funny.