You have heard me talk about this time and time again... Bela Lugosi is the greatest horror actor of the Golden Age. He is practically responsible for the popularity of horror during that period. My mom is the one who really got me into watching horror movies and she would talk about Bela Lugosi forever. So he is partially responsible for me loving horror as much as I do. This movie was released one year after his defining performance in Dracula. It actually introduces Bela as "Dracula Himself" which is pretty funny to me. He never got out from under that role, hell he was Dracula.
So in this movie Bela is playing Dr. Mirakle, a mad scientist in France who does these crazy experiments on his monkey. You see he gets these girls, right, and he injects them with monkey blood to try and get a little play date for his killer ape. I don't really know if the doctor is a real doctor or just a lunatic. Oh one of the funniest things I thought is that the Ape's name is Eric. That was too funny. I love animals with humans names. I, just like everyone else, would someday like to own a dalmatian named Steven or a husky named Todd.
Another thing about this movie, it's one of those killer ape films. I don't know why they thought that ape's were so scary in the 30's. There are like tons of horror movies that feature monkeys and apes. I don't really think that this is any real antagonist. It's just so far fetched, I can't really understand why they are scary??!! It must be a thing from the era. People were really stupid back then.
The movie came out during the weird period between silent films and the film code. There were alot of movies that came out during this time and they are considered "Pre-Code" films. These movies had harsh violence, sex/nudity, drug use, and various other things that we see all of the time now. For this movie we have a prostitute and some really brutal beatings and murders. For its time this movie was like an Ultra-Violent weird Horror film. By today's standards, it is considerably tame.
There are some really interesting expressionist type shots that the movie makes. Probably due to Karl Freund being behind the camera, his cinematography was pure quality. Oh and look at that, ol'kingpin Carl Laemmle is attached.
- Movie is set in Paris
- The movie was a flop when it first came out, but is now considered to be pretty awesome.