The Monster Walks (1932)

Article #100 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 6-24-2001
Posting date: 11-7-2001

When her uncle dies, a woman finds she is to inherit his fortune. Attempts are then made on her life. Is it the ape locked up in the basement that has always hated her? Is it the man in the wheelchair whom everyone suspects, but who can’t walk? Or is it…

Yes, folks, we’re taking another trip into the old dark house. This is pretty standard stuff, and I figured out who the killer was long before the movie was over; it was a simple matter of figuring out which character wasn’t suspected by any of the others. The movie is mainly noteworthy for two things. It was one of the first screen appearances of Willie Best (as Sleep ‘n’ Eat) in one of those stereotyped comic black roles that is embarassing to watch nowadays. The other is that it uses a full-grown chimpanzee as the ape rather than a man in a gorilla suit. We’re so used to seeing only baby chimps in films that it is rather novel to see a full-grown one. The downside of this is that we don’t really perceive chimps as dangerous animals, though I’ve heard that in reality they can be some of the most temperamental and dangerous of the apes. Still, gorillas simply look more threatening, and perhaps they would have better off with a man in a gorilla costume.

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