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Bride of the Gorilla

USA 1951
produced by
Edward Leven (associate) for Jack Broder Productions
directed by Curt Siodmak
starring Raymond Burr, Barbara Payton, Lon Chaney jr, Tom Conway, Paul Cavanagh, Gisela Werbisek, Carol Varga, Paul Maxey, Woody Strode, Martin Garralaga, Felippa Rock, Moyna MacGill, & Steve Calvert as gorilla
written by Curt Siodmak, music by Raoul Kraushaar, assistant to the producer: Herman Cohen

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Somewhere deep in the jungle: Landowner Van Gelder (Paul Cavanagh) & his foreman Chavez (Raymond Burr) get into fights about pretty much everything, but actually it's about the fact that Barney is in love with Van Galder's wife Dinah (Barbara Payton), & she feels drawn to him as well. Eventually, Van Gelder even fires Chavez, but the two get into a (fist-)fight about that as well ... until Chavez knocks down Van Gelder  exactly in front of a poisonous snake ... & doesn't do anything to help him up again either ...

Doctor Vieth (Tom Conway) can only state death by snake poisoning in the death certificate, & even though the local police Commissioner (Lon Chaney jr) thinks he knows better, he hasn't the hint of a proof against Chavez, who is even cleared of any suspicion by an unexpected false alibi of an old native woman in Van Gelder's employ, Al-long (Gisela Werbisek).

What Chavez of course doesn't know is that Al-long is also a witch who has laid a curse upon him because he has killed her master & mistreated his ex-girlfriend Larina (Carol Varga), her daughter.

Soon, Chavez & Dinah are getting married, but even in their wedding night, 'Chavez feels a sudden urge to go to the jungle, & once there he turns into a gorilla (& is played by Steve Calvert).

The next day, Dinah finds her newlywed hubbie on her porch, in a delirious fever. Chavez' urges to go to the jungle & turn into a gorilla don't get any better the following days either, & soon the commissioner gets reports about slain cattle from the natives & landowners of the region, & eventually one native turns up dead - & the Commissioner, a native himself (despite being played by Chaney jr), soon knows he has to blame it on a beast/demon borne out of native superstition.

Soon, traps are set for the beast, & wouldn't you know it, Chavez is caught in one of the traps ... however, he turns back to normal, & is found by his wife, who has gone to the jungle worried sick, & who now frees him & brings him back to the house without anybody else knowing about it ... & because of this experience, Chavez promises Dinah to leave the jungle for good with her as soon as the next day ... only that night, he again is drawn to the jungle & turned into a gorilla, bzut this time Dinah has gone after him, & before long, the gorilla/her husband takes her captive.

But fortunately, the Commissioner & Doctor Vieth have picked thagt night to go beast-hunting as well, & in the end, they manage to shoot the gorilla ... who, upon his death, turns back into Chavez ...

 

No, Bride of the Gorilla is not a great movie, on a pure quality level it's hardly adequate ... but somehow, this low budget bastardization of the werewolf myth spiced up with a bit of jungle flair comes off as loveable trash, partly due to the dead-seriousness all the actors bring to the stupid story, partly due to the story's loveable pulp-roots (in my book, a film featuring a gorilla is rarely all bad). However, one must not think too much about the plot.

 

By the way, if you have noticed parallels between Bride of the Gorilla and The Wolf Man, this is hardly surprising, because Bride's director/screenwirter Curt Siodmak also wrote the screenplay for The Wolf Man. Bride of the Gorilla was his directing debut by the way.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
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starring
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out now on DVD