THE APE MAN (1943)
Article #151 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 8-14-2001
Posting date: 12-28-2001
A scientist’s weird experiments have caused him to turn into a hairy bent-over half-man, half-ape creature. In order to return to normal, he needs some of that panacea for all ills of medical dementia, human spinal fluid.
And now, for the third time this week, a half-man, half-other-species movie, this time from Monogram and with Bela Lugosi as the afflicted scientist. Though it isn’t a remake of Karloff’s THE APE, there’s no doubt that parts of that movie were borrowed for this one, especially the spinal fluid angle. It’s interesting to compare the two, actually; I can’t help but notice how the Karloff movie is more or less serious, while this one seems a lot sillier and more melodramatic. There are some nice moments in this one, though; the scene where Lugosi first takes the fluid and is able to straighten out of his bent position is actually a good moment of physical acting on his part. I also have to admit a certain fondness for that bizarre comic relief character who seems to be everywhere and know everything; my favorite moment is his warning a woman not to go down a certain street where Lugosi and his pet gorilla (Emil Van Horn, though I would have guessed George Barrows) are waiting to pounce. Also on hand this time around are Minerva Urecal as Lugosi’s long-suffering sister, and Wallace Ford as (once again) a wise-cracking reporter. William Beaudine strikes again.