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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
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
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