- The Ape Man (1943) **1/2 8/28/2004 12:00:00 AM by JoeKarlosi
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 ****
- This movie is cool. 1/5/2007 12:00:00 AM by KennethEagleSpirit
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.
- A Retelling Of Jekyll And Hyde 12/31/2004 12:00:00 AM by sddavis63
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.
- Hampered by an uncomfortable Lugosi and monotonous background music 8/10/2005 12:00:00 AM by MarcoAntonio1
"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.
- Good, Campy Fun With Bela and the Director Who Brought Us "Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter". 6/8/2010 12:00:00 AM by JohnWelles
"The Ape Man" (1943), directed by legendary hack William Beaudine (the man who gave us "Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter"  and "Billy the Kid versus Dracula" ), this b-movie gives us a deliciously hammy, over-the-top performance from Bela Lugosi, who had gone down a long way since his myth-making role in Tod Browning's "Dracula" (1931). The plot is the usual hokum: a crazed scientist, Dr. James Brewster (Bela Lugosi), with help from his more sane counterpart, Dr. George Randall (Henry hall), injects himself with spinal fluid that turns him into an ape man. But at sixty-nine minutes, the film moves so fast that plot logic is never anything you spare a great deal of thought on. Wallace Ford (who apart from having minor roles in a few Hitchcock movies and featuring in lots of TV shows, is most famous for starring in the brilliant "Freaks" ), Ralph Littlefield and Louise Currie are decent and the whole movie on the technical side, is quite competent. A fun film for people who enjoy the works of Edward D. Wood Jr.