The name Rene Cardona may not be familiar with you-that is, unless you know of the history of Mexican genre films. He and his son actually played a big part in that field, with movies like "Survive!", "Doctor of Doom" and uh, the MST3K fave "Santa Clause" as a part of his resume. 1969's "Night of the Bloody Apes" is the movie he did that ended up on the infamous "Video Nasties" list, though that is largely due to other distributors adding gore and nudity to the product-something Cardona did not intend.
The film deals with two plots: One is female wrestler Lucy Osario (the ridiculously gorgeous Norma Lazareno), who is in a relationship with police Lt. Arturo Martinez (Armando Silvestre) and who in the beginning of the movie accidentally injures the woman she is in the ring with. The other involves Dr. Krallman (Jose Elias Moreno), whose son needs to be cured of his leukemia. How does he plan to do this? Why, with a human to ape heart transplant! Oh, and with actual heart transplant footage. Of course, this turns out to be
Because it turns his otherwise handsome son into a horrendous half man/half ape beast that has a thing for assaulting and killing women and just all around killing and mutilating dudes. Can Lt. Martinez stop this beast before it's too late?
In the traditional sense of the word, "Apes" isn't a very good movie. The gore and nudity is poorly edited in, becoming obvious that such scenes were added by distributors wanting to appeal to the exploitation market. The dubbing is also questionable and for the large part, hilariously monotone. Even someone yelling "a dead body!" sounds for all the world like somebody who isn't the least bit interested in their job. However, as a slice of cinematic trash, the thing succeeds.
The gore and nudity, whilst crudely done, has a certain low rent charm, as does the poor dubbing. It also thankfully moves at a pretty reasonable pace, rarely if ever slowing down and more often then not adding in something to keep your interest. The influence it takes from low rent horror from the 40's and 50's is also noticeable, as apart from the aforementioned exploitable elements, has a naive sense of unpretentious fun. Really, that's the best way to describe this movie-unpretentious fun. This is not a movie setting out to make a serious statement or the kind of thing you watch expecting a classic horror movie. It's an undemanding, fun bit of hokum that like the best kind of junk food, goes down easy and doesn't leave you feeling guilty for enjoying it.
One could argue "Gee, this doesn't sound like a very good movie" and to tell the truth, it isn't. To that, I say: if gratuitous exploitation, cheap makeup effect, goofy pseudo science and random Lucha Libra matches can't find their way into your heart somehow, then you have heart as black as coal.