A*P*E (aka ‘Attack of the Giant Horny Gorilla’) 1976, Dir Paul Leder
I came upon this little gem whilst researching cheap King Kong rip-offs (click here to have a look at a bunch of 1930’s Japanese examples). King Kong’s history seems to be riddled with quick cash-in’s, and here you have a US/Korean effort that was rushed out to gorge on the success of Dino De Laurentiis 1976 big money King Kong remake. Problem is Laurentiis’ film wasn’t successful and A*P*E faded into b-movie mythology. The film’s tagline was even ‘not to be confused with King Kong’, now that’s what I call marketing. Amazingly the guys behind this hysterically bad movie even had the gumption to go for 3D, which only adds to its mystique. The writers of A*P*E were either satirical geniuses who loaded the film with postmodern humour or completely incompetent.., It’s genuinely quite difficult to work out which.
The opening hilariously bad scene for example features APE escaping from the ship that is transporting him from Harlem to Disneyland. In a feet of geographical brilliance the ship is floating somewhere off the coast of Korea. What sort of captain was this guy? What on earth was he doing on the wrong side of the Pacific Ocean? The wacky plot then follows APE (who’s moth bitten costume is so bad in places you can see the stuntman’s wrists and neck where the costumes joins are) on his equally wacky adventures across Korea including: Fighting a clearly dead shark, clapping and dancing with glee at the sight of a hand-glider, stepping over a toy (I mean real) cow, laughing at children playing in an abandoned theme park (what?), and best of all flicking the bird to the camera. That’s right APE actually flips-off the audience at one point. The best 3D effect comes when APE throws a snake at the camera, which is such a good shot that the snake hits the camera, knocking it sideways (including moving the letterbox lines, meaning that the widescreen is probably fake!), and somehow surviving the edit! Keep an eye out for director Paul Leder as ‘Dino’, an obvious dig at the Hollywood producer. Great, yet truly baffling stuff.
So hands up, who’s seen this mystifying movie, who’s very existence is mind boggling?