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  • The Ape Man is a story about a mad doctor who has been experimenting with apes and has slowly turned himself into a kind of ape man through an injection of sorts. The details of the experiment as well as with the plot are often never stated or incredibly vague. To be certain, poor Bela wants spinal fluid for regressing the advancing stages of apeness, and he and his gorilla friend kill with this goal in mind. Bela lurches and swings his arms as the ape man. The movie was made by Monogram and is evidently cheaply made, but the film is entertaining as a Lugosi film. He is the important character and even though his dialogue and actions are highly doubtful given the circumstances, Bela comes off as a menacing mad man. I wish I could say something good about the rest of the cast. The gorilla is fake as can be, the male and female reporters whose lives are in peril at the film's climax have no acting savvy whatsoever. Bela's sister is rather good as is their doctor friend, but remember this film is a cheapie and looks it. Nonetheless I would recommend the die-hard classic horror fan to see it.
  • One of Bela Lugosi's low budgeted Monogram films, THE APE MAN is entertaining in a so-bad-it's-good way. It's a riot to see poor Bela, so down on his luck by this point that he needed to act in anything just in order to eat, swaying and crouching about in a bad wig and beard, acting like he's "part ape" due to an experiment gone awry. And trying desperately to find some human spinal fluid to inject into himself so he may be able to straighten up again and lose his simian tendencies. If not for the stamina of Lugosi, the film would be intolerable. But he puts more energy into this crazy role than it deserves and keeps us entertained by being both effective at some times and unintentionally humorous at others. This one's not particularly well paced, and we've got the typical "hardnosed reporter/photographer" deal getting in the way of things every so often. There's also a decidedly screwy explanation offered at the end of the day for all these strange goings-ons which is not appreciated by this viewer. But there are far worse ways to spend a Saturday Night at the Monster Movies. **1/2 out of ****
  • I really don't know what some of the more snobbish reviewers expect when they sit down to watch movies such as this; "Gone With The Wind"? Maybe "Citizen Kane"? How about something that was produced last year for tens of millions of dollars? These were films produced in the thirties and forties with a low budget, by studios who did not have access to special effects and high cost productions as the majors did. Still, the films are highly enjoyable with good plots and usually fine acting. They are gems and classics in their own way despite the financial shortcomings they had to endure. "The Ape Man" is such a movie. The great Bela Lugosi and a talented cast give us a good story and a fine movie. Bela's character has, unfortunately, made himself part ape. Alas, another scientific experiment gone awry. He needs a special "spinal serum" or return to 100% human ways and has to kill to get it. He does and, well, you'll have to see the film to find out what happens. This is not a movie to be ridiculed or laughed at, but to be enjoyed. "The Ape Man" is a classic to those who enjoy these type of films.
  • Bela Lugosi acting apish, and doing a good job. Minerva Urecal acting spooky, and doing a VERY good job. The other players do an equally good job given their respective roles. Of course there is that one guy. Some things need to be played for laughs, and I suppose that was especially true during a time when it looked as if Nazi hoards would over run the world. The makeup is fun. Some of the sets and props are recognizable from other movies, one in particular from Bela Lugosi's "Bowery at Midnight". That aspect makes for a fun kind of trivia or scavenger hunt while watching this flick. A real downside with this movie is the quality of the sound track. Very poor. But, the plot is fun, and must've worked well enough at the time because they actually did a not-so-sequel, using the title in part but not the plot line or characters, the next year in "Return of the Ape Man". As far as I know they stopped there. No "Revenge of the Ape Man" or "Son of Ape Man". I suppose they decided to play it safe. Otherwise they'ed have ended up with a whole planet of the apes.
  • "Some Spoilers" One of the many films that Bela Lugosi made for Monogram Pictures as well as among the other bargain-basement Hollywood studios that he worked for during his "Lost in the Wilderness", as well as heroin addiction, phase of his career during the 1940's and early 50's until he kicked his drug habit. It was also around that time that Bela met the great cult and bad movie director Edward Wood and made the movies, that we all know and love him for, that made Bela Lugosi the legend that he is today some 50 years after his death.

    "The Ape Man" is pretty standard stuff in the movies that studios like Monogram put out back in those days. A prominent scientist Dr.James Brewster, Bela Lugosi, makes a major discovery about the link between man and primate but not being able to test the serum that he discovered on human beings, for it's against the law, tests it on himself where he becomes a half man half ape "missing link". Brewster finds out together with his associate in the discovery Dr. George Randall, Henry Hall, that the only thing that can bring him back to normal is human spinal fluid that if extracted from a person will instantly kill him. Dr. Brewster with the help of an ape, that he has in his laboratory, goes out at night and kills a number of people in order to get the valuable spinal fluid. All goes well until Dr. Randall refuses to participate any more in Dr. Brewster's mad scheme where Dr. Brewster in an insane rage kills him.

    Later in the movie Dr. Brewster with the help of his partner, the ape, kidnaps beautiful newspaper photographer Louise Currie, Billie Mason, but when Dr. Brewster is about to extract Billie's spinal fluid the love sick ape, who took a liking to Billie, attacks and kills Dr. Brewster during a long and bitter struggle. The ape chases Billie all around the laboratory until Billie finds the secret passage, with the help of her fellow reporter and boyfriend Jeff Carter (Wallace Ford), and escapes into his arms as the police, who Jeff called for help, who blasts the ape with a hail of bullets that kills him. As the movie is ending we see both Jeff and Billie go off into the sunset, it was really moon-light, and I guess lived happily ever after.

    There's nothing really that great about the movie "The Ape Man" unless, like me, you're a Bela Lugosi fan and Bela does lift the movie up a couple of notches making it if it's not scary both cheesy and campy. Louise Currie is very nice to look at and the rest of the cast did a very good job with the material that they were handed. The guy who played the ape, Emil Van Horn, made a monkey out of himself wearing a gorilla suit with him flinging his arms and grunting during the entire movie. Van Horn's or the ape's fight in the end with Dr. Brewster, as Billie was trying to get away from the carnage that resulted from it, was both exacting and suspenseful.

    What really annoyed me about the movie was that skinny and goofy looking reporter, Jack Mluhall, who popped up in almost every scene in the film as well as acting like a jerk and spoiling any tension and surprises that there were in the movie. Mluhall also got somewhat of an ego trip as the overbearing and annoying reporter in telling those of us watching, at the end of the film, that it was he who wrote the story that we just saw on the screen. At least someone like Alfred Hitchcock, a far better movie maker then Jack Mluhall, who was in almost all of the movies that he directed had nothing more then a cameo appearance in them. This guy wanted to be the star of the movie!
  • "The Ape Man" could have been a better film than it is. A doctor (Bela Lugosi) is accidentally turned into an ape man after an experiment goes awry, causing him to resort to a series of murders so that injections of his victims spinal fluid can possibly return him to normality. A reporter and a camerawoman (Wallace Ford and Louise Currie) arrive at the doctors home to investigate and the mystery begins to unravel. "The Ape Man" could have been a more enjoyable film, but Lugosi's walking around like an ape (which is unintentionally embarrassing) and awful, monotonous canned background music (which was used in Monogram's "Ghosts on the Loose" the same year) take somewhat from the overall enjoyment of the film. Wallace Ford and Louise Currie work well with each other and having them toss wisecracks back and forth is a welcome addition to the script. "The Ape Man" is not a terrible film, but not a great one. You could do a lot worse for an hours worth of viewing.
  • I thought this was basically an OK movie, although lacking in originality for the most part. In a Jekyll & Hyde genre, Bela Lugosi plays Dr. James Brewster, a scientist who injects himself with the spinal fluid of an ape and who then find himself becoming an ape. The only antidote is human spinal fluid, and, well, Brewster goes out to get it.

    Lugosi's performance was not bad, really, although I couldn't help wondering why someone with the decidedly English name of James Brewster spoke with such a pronounced Hungarian accent, especially when his sister Agatha (played by Minerva Urecal) spoke perfect English. I know - nitpicky! (Perhaps becoming an ape affected his voice!) The movie never really offered an explanation of what great medical marvel the spinal fluid of an ape was supposed to achieve, although at the start of the movie Brewster's friend Dr. Randall (Henry Hall) assures Agatha that it was a marvel. The ape make-up for the supposedly real ape (Emil Van Horn) was bad, so you can imagine how hokey Lugosi's makeup was. I will say that Agatha, a dedicated ghost hunter, injected a bit of humour (perhaps unintentionally, although it's hard to tell) from time to time as she tries to throw reporters (played by Louise Currie and Wallace Ford) off the trail.

    Overall I enjoyed this short (64 minutes) movie and because it had a few twists here and there I give it a 6/10, which might have been higher had it not been overall so predictable as a retelling of the Jekyll and Hyde story.
  • Decade of 40! It's the most suitable time for a horror b-movie , isn't it ? But how could this be successful ? Let's try the simple one – shot way! William Beuadine and Bela Lugosi , the lord of horror owns the first role. Well , Bela Lugosi acts a very bad scientist (a role that we've so many times , we loved it , we got used it in , but we never borrowed of it) Dr. James Brewster , who transforms Emil Van Horn (`Sleepy Lagoon') to Ape. Police Captain O' Brien is the role of the classical J. Farrell Mac Donald (who played in 294 movies . Of them we remember especially the `Trail Of Shadows' , F.W. Murnau's `Sunrise' , `Four Devils' , `Dangerous Female' , `Sporting Blood' and the `Phantom Killer') attends to catch Dr. James Brewster . Lugosi and Farrell Mac Donald surrounded of a wonderful cast , ideal for a b-movie , just like this one . Buise Currie (`Here Comes The Boogie Men') , Wallace Ford (Tod Browning's `Freaks' , `The Mummy's Hand' , `The Mummy's Tomb' , Alfred Hitchcock's `Spellbound') , Henry Hall (`The Ape') , Minerva Urecal (who was played again the first role with Bela Lugosi at the films `The Corpse Vanishes' and `Ghost On The Loose') , the classical Wheeler Oakman (who was played in 195 movies , from whom we chose the `Ghosts On The Loose' with Bela) , Jack Mulhall (who has not only played in 314 movies but is also the producer of Madame Spy) , Charles Jordan (Cat People) , Charlie Hall (who made some short roles in movies with Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel). The offhand script that Karl Brawn (Phantom Killer) wrote with Barney D. Sarecky (The Phantom Killer) is exalted by the master of b-movies , William Beaudine . If you're not fans of this kind , you will have a good time , but if you are fans of b-movies , you shouldn't miss the `Ape Man'
  • The main reason I decided to watch this is because it has an appearance by former Our Ganger-and current East Side Kidder at the time-Ernie "Sunshine Sammy" Morrison as some associate of someone at a newspaper building. Oh, and I was also pleased to see someone from my favorite movie-It's a Wonderful Life-in this one: he's J. Farrell MacDonald who I know played the guy who castigated George Bailey for hitting his father's tree with his car before he then thinks Bailey-in the Pottersville sequence-is crazy for thinking he doesn't know what the name of his town is! Anyway, he's a police captain here. So this is one of Bela Lugosi's poverty row movies of the '40s, huh? Well, as pretty entertaining as he may be here as a man with an ape face, I found myself mostly bored watching this thing but then I'm up really late with a sleepy demeanor right now so that may be why. Anyway, The Ape Man may be worth a look for any Lugosi completists out there but nobody else.
  • I'm so pleased that everyone who bothered to comment on this film did so in a positive light. It really is a lot of fun and,for what it's worth,the Alpha DVD release is the best print I've seen to date,and is extremely affordable,although I wouldn't be adverse to spending top dollar for,oh let's say,a Criterion release. Well,I can dream,can't I?
  • Yet another in the long list of Lugosi's B-movies as his career was in decline, this is of interest only to those who wish to follow that downward trajectory. Here he plays a stricken scientist, whose experiments have rendered him with ape-like instincts and a mass of facial hair. It's a thankless part that leaves Lugosi stumbling around for the most part in a simian stoop, leaving the best parts of the story to his supporting cast. But there's neither suspense nor horror enough to cover up the limits of the cast and the budget of the production. Ford and Currie, as the journo duo offering light relief, seem to have escaped from a different movie, and Urecal's wide-eyed posturing is ham of the highest order. Pity the unfortunate Van Horn, who spends his time in an unconvincing gorilla suit throughout. Oddly, there's an obscure, self-referential ending, which serves little or no purpose as far as I can see, and which points up the apparent irregularity of the comedy/horror subject matter.

    A short waste of time, but a waste of time nonetheless.
  • In the William Beaudine epic, THE APE MAN, Bela Lugosi (THE DEVIL BAT, THE CORPSE VANISHES) stars as Dr. James Brewster, who has gone missing. In reality, Brewster is suffering the affects of an experiment gone horribly wrong! Holed up in a secluded mansion, Brewster lives as a half man, half go-rilla hybrid (aka: Bela w/ an Amish beard and hairy knuckles). He shares a cage w/ his fuzzy, simian friend (aka: a grown man in an ill-fitting monkey suit), whom he enjoys beating whenever he acts up! Brewster shuffles and shambles about his lab, looking like Abe Lincoln w/ a bad back. Now, he needs human spinal fluid injections in order to reverse the process. Brewster paces and bemoans his condition, deciding to employ his chimp-like chum to help him get the spinal fluid. Meanwhile, reporter, Jeff Carter (Wallace Ford- THE MUMMY'S HAND) teams up w/ photographer, Billie Mason (Louise Currie- VOODOO MAN). Will they figure out what the not-so good doctor is up to in time to stop his rampage? Watching Lugosi roam around swinging his arms is a riot! His eeevil persona, usually quite effective, contrasts wildly w/ his preposterous getup! Still, this movie is very enjoyable as the schlock-eroni pizza w/ extra cheeeze that it is...
  • I need to watch more of these ancient horror flicks - The Ape Man had me in tears of laughter. Brilliant! This one has it all...

    Somehow, Bela's turned himself (slightly) into an Ape. Which means he's got bad posture and hair on his face. Apart from that he's alright. I mean, he can still speak English and wear clothes, which made me confused as to why he had to sleep in a cage with an ape. He certainly was an angry fellow though. I lost count of the amount of times he attacked that ape with a whip! When I say 'ape', by the way, I mean 'guy in an ape suit'. Bela and the guy in the ape suit talk their own ape language from time to time too, especially when arranging to kill folks and steal their spinal fluid for a laugh.

    There are some old classic horrors kicking around, but this is a BAD classic horror. Poor acting (from everyone), spelling mistakes on the headlines, and an ending that must have been shown in Italian film school under the class 'How to leave the audience scratching their heads'.

    It's public domain. You don't even have to pay to see it.

    And buy war bonds! Help our boys overseas!
  • This is a 1 point or a 10 point movie. 1 if you want to be sensible, but 10 if you love the Ed Wood or pre-Poe Roger Corman school of film. Terrible script, dreadful acting, poor lighting, and worse sound than a Caruso or Nellie Melba recording 40 years earlier.

    Bela Lugosi does a poor ape imitation, and wears a very rough prototype of the mask Roddy McDowall wore in 'Planet of the Apes.' He monkeys about (sorry!) with one Emil Van Horn wearing a full gorilla suit - he looks exactly like the one (called Ethel) that Oliver Hardy ended up with when the circus went broke. (Stanley got the flea circus.) Lugosi & another scientist have been fiddling about with 'glands,' so when Lugosi decides to test it on himself... The only way to keep himself away from the furry side of life is to keep filling himself with human 'glands' from the recently deceased. He steps out into the night and orders 'Ethel' to murder people - it's 'The Murders In The Rue Morgue' all over again.

    Hard to tell whether this was supposed to be funny or not - wisecracking journalists who annoy the editor by calling him 'chiefy,' brain-dead Irish policemen, bubbling retorts in the cellars of an old dark house etc. Clearly this was made when Lugosi's life was turning into a tragic horror story all of his own, and accepted any old rubbish to pay for the drugs and the booze.

    One kind of wishes for Abbott & Costello or The Three Stooges to turn up, but no such luck. The star turn is the wonderfully named Miranda Urecal (almost born to appear in cheap horror films) who plays Lugosi's sister, screaming energetically or fainting at the drop of a coffin lid.

    This isn't quite as funny as Ed Wood's stuff, but better than nothing now the hockey season's finished. The ending's quite amusing, and make sure you spot Charlie Hall (like Ethel, a left-over from the glory days of Laurel & Hardy) at the very start.
  • While Bela may have appeared in worse movies, he was never more embarrassed than in his work here. While a bit of the hijinks is good for unintentional laughs, this has less the fun tone of "The Devil Bat", and more the bone crushing boredom of "The Corpse Vanishes."

    While it mostly served the purpose of cheap laughs, can we just note now that George Barrow's much employed suit did not look much like a real Gorilla?

    Your heart also has to go to the excellent Wallace Ford, whose crack comic timing was often put to use in movies

    such as this. The writers even seem to be halfway spoofing the tired, tired, "screwball" button of a dame trying to make it in a man's world. In fact, I sort of like the self referential gag of the films writer, a stammering dimwit, occasionally appearing to move the plot along. Obviously, however, the joke at the closing credits is whoever sat through this thing.
  • The Ape Man produced by Monogram Pictures stars Bela Lugosi as a scientist who has been experimenting on himself with ape spinal fluids. Why anyone would do that God only knows, but the result is Lugosi as regressed back to a Cro-Magnon state and is kept in a cage with a gorilla who apparently he relates to.

    As he's a well known scientist he's keeping undercover, but his disappearance has aroused all kinds of curiosity including that of law enforcement with J. Farrell MacDonald and the press in the persons of Wallace Ford and Louise Currie. The press are police are kept somewhat at bay, by Bela's sister Minerva Urecal.

    But when Bela and his gorilla start killing people for their human spinal fluid so Lugosi can get back to being human again, that of course arouses the populace. I think you can figure out where this is going.

    It's from Monogram so naturally one's expectations is low and you're not disappointed. In a recent biography of Bela Lugosi, the author Arthur Lennig uses The Ape Man as a prototype Monogram product and contrasts it with the Universal Pictures Gothic horror films. He and I and you'll agree when you see The Ape Man, Universal has it over Monogram by an early round knockout.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    If THE DEVIL BAT (1940) looks back to Dracula (1931) for inspiration, this one smacks of MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE (1932) - though that film, flawed as it is, would probably seem like a masterpiece next to THE APE MAN! Incidentally, this is another Lugosi title I was already familiar with (thanks to an all-night marathon on Italian TV a few years back) - so its overall poorness wasn't that much of a shock; in fact, I'd even venture to say that the film's downright shoddy look has a certain inherent charm not found in Grade 'A' material.

    Lugosi's role may not be as thankless as in other films of this vintage but the unadulterated silliness of his presence here - broken English delivery, hairy make-up and stooped walk - must comprise something of a nadir for him! Also, the romantic leads in this one were particularly annoying, although their relentless banter wasn't helped any by the equally irritating hiss on the soundtrack; in fact, I found THE APE MAN to be overly talky for a film of its type. I don't know what to make of the omnipresent tramp character who turns out, in the end, to be the author of the piece (!) - comic relief perhaps? But I thought that Lugosi and the phoney ape with which he sparred all through the picture (and finally fell foul of) were doing a good job of that already...
  • django-818 January 2005
    The Ed Wood films are universally acclaimed as the nadir of Bela Lugosi's film career, but this sad entry in his filmography is worse on many levels than any of those later pictures.

    With the golden days of horror pictures long gone, Lugosi is captured here in what can only be described as a laughable attempt to recreate that bygone era in what is little more than a dreadful reworking of the Wolf Man.

    With a weak script, total lack of suspense, and of course the expected bad ape costume, it is to Lugosi's credit that he actually does appear to be trying his best in this film.

    Unfortunately it isn't enough to save the day; I watched this hoping for that odd satisfaction only to be found in poor B pictures of this era, but even such sadistic viewing pleasures were denied simply because this film is so bad.

    At only 67 minutes, it isn't long but boy does that time drag. Lugosi is a giant of the horror silver screen, but this shows his career in terminal decline. A shame as he deserves to be remembered so much better.
  • darkneox11927 September 2000
    The Ape Man is perfect fodder to be heckled and made fun out of. Half the time watching this, I was making fun out of it. " Get away from me ape boy!" Bela Lugosi is the Ape Man in all his hairy glory. May you watch this at 3 in the morning on some public access channel as I did and enjoy it. ** Out of ****
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Poor Lugosi. He gets saddled here with a ridiculous make-up job and lopes around like Groucho Marx! Dressed in a frock-coat his penguin-like antics had me giggling. And I'm a Lugosi fan! He did himself no favours by appearing in crap like this and the scene where he injects himself is rather sad considering his later problems with morphine.

    The Ape Man concerns Lugosi as Dr. James Brewster - an extremely unlikely name for a Hungarian - desperately searching out human spinal fluid to cure himself of his apish affliction. He'd have been better off just getting a shave. The newspaper byline over his photo lists him as "strangely missing"!

    Lugosi and his pet ape kill a butler for his first victim - a guy who looks like Alfred Hitchcock's half-brother. Extraction done, spinal fluid injected, all Lugsoi does is straighten up a bit.

    Wallace Ford and Louise Currie also appear. Ford had appeared in several horrors up to this point - notably Freaks and The Mummy's Hand. Currie starred in several of these Monogram potboilers. They have my sympathy.

    As the story develops a character named Zippo pops up now and then to direct things or warn people off when Lugosi's on the prowl...and he turns out at the end to be the author of the story! "Screwy idea, wasn't it?" Screwy is not the word I would use...
  • I suppose that one could see this film as a brilliant metaphor for drug addiction. Being a drug addict was called in slang "having a monkey on your back" in the 1940's. Here Bela Lugosi has a real monkey on his back, face, neck, and ass. We can see his fights with the monkey as metaphorical fights with his addiction. This way of looking at the film doesn't make it any better, but it does pass the time.

    According to the trivia section, the director, one-shot William Beaudine, took 19 days to shoot this. One must imagine that he took a two week vacation during the shoot or Bela Lugosi needed two days rest for each scene in which he tries to imitate a gorilla. It is painful to watch poor Bela at age 60 and in bad health, trying to play a gorilla. Very possibly, he had to take drugs to accomplish it.

    Is there really any redeeming feature for this movie? I think the mysterious character who appears to be watching from outside Lugosi's window and helps to prevent one woman from being murdered adds something to the film. It seems to be a failed attempt at adding humor, but it does add a touch of creepiness which relieves the dreary mad scientist tedium.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Lugosi accidentally turns himself into a half man half ape. We are introduced to Lugosi's condition when his friend brings his sister to his cage with his gorilla friend. This scene is a joke. Why is Lugosi in the cage with the gorilla? His makeup is a joke as well. Basically he's got ape hair and hunches over, walking slouched. It's funny and sad at the same time. He realizes the only way to reverse the ape condition is to get spinal fluid from people. His friend wants nothing to do with him and takes off. His sister just hangs out.

    With the help of his gorilla he kills his friend's butler to extract the spinal fluid. His sister blackmails his friend with a bullet to the head so he injects Lugosi with the cure. At first it helps. He stands upright for awhile. Best part is when he leans over to look into a mirror, his face is still hairy, then he tries to stand upright and can't. He goes out to kill a bunch of people, goes to his friend with a super supply of cure, but his friend just smashes the formula. What a friend? So he kills him.

    Meanwhile we have cops investigating at first Lugosi's disappearance, then the butler and other killings. We have a reporter and his female photographer for not so funny comedy relief. We also have a hanger on, who we find out the end of this mess, is the lousy screenwriter! What a loser.

    Anyway, the gorilla eventually fed up with Lugosi's abuse, kills him. The cops show up and shoot the gorilla dead. The 2nd best part of this mess. The end.

    This film is a sad joke. Lugosi does well, but his makeup is ridiculous, his dialogue and the entire plot is just an amateur hour. All the other actors are poor, but given the material it may not be their fault. Not recommended for anybody. Especially for Lugosi fans. This is the career low.

    To wash this nonsense off my brain I need to rewatch White Zombie for some sinister Lugosi.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Being left muddled by Attack Of The Giant Leeches,I began to hope that the second film on the disc would be an,at least,slight improvement.And although the film is very low budget,this comedy horror still has some great entertaining moments.

    The plot:

    Returning back from an expedition,a group of scientist make the tragic announcement that one of them sadly died during the expedition.Whilst everyone else goes for the explanation hook,line and sinker,two journalist suspect that foul play may have been involved in the scientist death.Searching around his house,the reporters begin to gather evidence that Dr James Brewster has been performing weird operations on apes.

    As the reporters start digging,Breswster (who has turned into a human-ape hybrid,due to performing an operation which went a little bit wrong!) comes out of hiding,and with needing spinal fluid to fully transform back into a human,Brewster discovers that he has found the perfect two people to get spinal fluid from.

    View on the film:

    With most of the acting being on the incredible "chewy" side,Bela Lugosi shines like a beacon for the film,who along with composer Edward J. Kay give the film a haunting side,with Lugosi's conviction in his performance,being something which no other actor would have given to the film.

    Checking the credits to the film online,I discovered that I had accidental viewed one of (In) famous director William "one-shot" Beaudine films,and although the film does stay on the side of the road,and is also not helped by a soundtrack which has more crackling then a piece of meat!,Beaudine still includes a few good moments in the film,with scenes of the reports doing phone calls at the office having a nice pace,and a scene of Breswster and an ape breaking plates being a well executed gag.

    Final view on the film:

    An easy going horror-comedy,with a performance by Lugosi that helps to keep the film together.
  • If you have limited time or money and want an introduction to the 9 films Bela made for Monogram, you might want to start with THE CORPSE VANISHES, or THE BOWERY AT MIDNIGHT, the one he made before this one. BUT if they don't stock anything old on your local video shelf, THE APE MAN has been in public domain for years and very easy to find.

    You still get Dave Milton as art director making great looking scenes for pocket change. It was shot by Mack Stengler, who was around for BOWERY and a couple of others. The plot is also as crazed as all the rest. This time something went wrong in the lab and Bela has turned to a sort of semi ape.

    This is one of the best running gags in the movie. The make up makes him look like a roadie for The Oakridge Boys. Speaking of running gags, we come to Ralph Littlefield. Ralph was the bum playing checkers last time in BOWERY. This time he keeps watching the action or advising the characters. He pops out of nowhere, making everyone wonder who he is. The pay off isn't worth it. Worse, it cheapens the film by appearing to lump it in with the two 'comedies' Bela made with Monogram.

    A lot of the same cast and elements also made it to the last 2 Mongrams in better form. Leading lady Louise Currie was back for VOODOO MAN, one of the best films of the series. His doctor pal, Harvey Hall also returns in VOODOO MAN as the sheriff. Ralph Littlefield is also back...reduced to an uncredited cameo. Even Mongram could admit it when they made a goof.

    The 'doctor pal role' turns up again in RETURN OF THE APE MAN, this time played by John Carradine. Both men make the same mistake of telling Bela FIRST they won't work for him anymore BEFORE calling the cops. Carradine is just better at it.

    Go ahead. Guess what Bela does.

    For Bela fans, you'll want to see it at least once, and it IS enjoyable in that loopy Monogram style..but there are bigger fish to fry.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The basic story of the Ape Man is straight forward. Lugosi plays a scientist messing around with nature (these guys never learn). Through some experimentation he has turned himself into a half-ape (he had a heavy beard and walked stooped over). He, along with his gorilla assistant, must kill to get the spinal fluid he needs to reverse his previous experiment.

    The Ape Man can be fairly entertaining if you don't take it too seriously. Lugosi is fine as the scientist - sometimes funny (as when trying to subdue his gorilla) and sometimes menacing (as when threatening the doctor who has been helping him). Henry Hall as the doctor and Minerva Urecal as Lugosi's sister are also worth mentioning. Typical of comedy/horror films from this period, some of the jokes work while some fall flat. Most of the jokes are delivered by Wallace Ford (Ford was also the comic relief in The Mummy's Hand and The Mummy's Tomb). The movie was made by Monogram and is a typical Monogram cheap-B-quickie.
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