The Ape Man

The Ape Man is a 1943 horror-science fiction film directed by William Beaudine and starring Bela Lugosi. The film follows the tale of a part human part ape.

The Ape Man
Directed byWilliam Beaudine
Produced byJack Dietz
Sam Katzman
associate
Barney Sarecky
Written byBarney A. Sarecky
Based onstory "They Creep in the Dark" by Karl Brown
StarringBela Lugosi
Louise Currie
Music byEdward J. Kay
CinematographyMack Stengler
Edited byCarl Pierson
Production
company
Banner Pictures Corporation
Distributed byMonogram Pictures Corporation
Release date
  • March 5, 1943 (1943-03-05)
Running time
69 mins
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

An in-title-only sequel Return of the Ape Man followed in 1944 and starred Lugosi, John Carradine and George Zucco.

Plot

Dr. James Brewster (Bela Lugosi) and his colleague Dr. Randall (Henry Hall) are involved in a series of scientific experiments which have caused Brewster to transform into an ape-man. In an attempt to obtain a cure Brewster must inject himself with recently drawn human spinal fluid. Reporter Jeff Carter (Wallace Ford) and photographer Billie Mason (Louise Currie) are on assignment (initially suggested by an odd character who seems to have no relevance to the plot) investigating the recent disappearance of Dr. Brewster. Before interviewing Brewster's sister Agatha, a "ghost-hunter", they hear strange sounds outside the house. After Dr. Randall's butler is murdered and the only clue is a fistful of ape-like hair, Carter deduces that the ghostly sounds they heard may well have been from an ape. Carter returns to investigate further. Dr. Randall informs Agatha that he will not help her brother again - and will go to the police if necessary. Needing more of the fluid as its effects are only temporary, Brewster and his ape (Emil Van Horn) go on a killing spree (the odd character appears yet again - saving one of the potential victims). Brewster returns to Dr. Randall demanding he inject the fluid. When Randall breaks the precious vial on the doctor's floor, the enraged Brewster strangles him. Carter and Mason return to Brewster's home separately. While cautiously investigating, Billie knocks Jeff unconscious. Dr. Brewster then carries the photographer off to his basement lab - to again withdraw more spinal fluid. Carter regains consciousness and while he and the police attempt to break into the secret basement entrance, Brewster is attacked by the ape. The ape breaks Brewster's back, killing him. Jeff and Billie leave together, to be met by the odd character who has so inexplicably appeared throughout the film. He is sitting in Jeff's car. When Jeff finally asks who he is, the man replies "Me? I'm the author of the story - screwy idea, wasn't it?" He then rolls up the car window. "THE END" appears on the glass.

Cast

Actor Role
Bela LugosiDr. James Brewster
Louise CurrieBillie Mason
Wallace FordJeff Carter
Henry HallDr. George Randall
Minerva UrecalAgatha Brewster
Emil Van HornThe Ape
J. Farrell MacDonaldPolice Capt. O'Brien
Wheeler OakmanDet. Brady
Ralph LittlefieldZippo
Jack MulhallReporter
Charles JordanDet. O'Toole
Charlie HallBarney (the Photographer)
George KirbyDetective #1
Ray MillerReporter
Ernest MorrisonCopyboy
William Ruhlas MartinEditor

Production

The film was originally known as The Gorilla Strikes.[1]

Filming began 18 December 1942 and took 15 days. Louise Currie replaced Amelita Ward.[2]

Reception

The Los Angeles Times said "chill chasers will get a tremendous thrill out of the picture, while the more detached will obtain laughs out of the slyly satirical moments."[3]

References

  1. MONOGRAM TO MAKE 48 FILMS IN 1942-43: 16 Westerns Among Feature Pictures Listed by Corporation New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 16 May 1942: 10
  2. Rhodes, Gary Don (1997). Lugosi. His Life in Films, on Stage, and in the Hearts of Horror Lovers. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. p. 129. ISBN 978-0-78640257-1.
  3. Ape Man' Stars Lugosi Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 20 Feb 1943: A7.
  • Wingrove, David. Science Fiction Film Source Book (Longman Group Limited, 1985)
  • Halliwell, Leslie. Halliwell's Film & Video Guide 2002 (HarperCollinsEntertainment, 2002), edited by John Walker
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