Sunday, September 12, 2021

Is That a Banana in Your Pocket?





Come one, come all! See cardboard buildings demolished with a single swipe! Thrill to a gigantic ape doing an interpretive dance to the soundtrack! Look in awe at cheesy attempts at 3d effects from a film that isn't actually filmed in 3D!  Be astounded by the numbers of fleeing citizens that are able to pack the back end of a pickup or a bus!






A*P*E (1976)

In 1976 one pf the big blockbusters from Hollywood was Dino DeLaurentis' remake of the classic King Kong.  As per usual, there was production of cheesy low-budget knockoffs that attempted to cash in on the blockbuster, and this being no exception, a company in Korea tried to beat DeLaurentis to the punch.  Hence A*P*E.  

A*P*E had all the elements of King Kong (except production values, special effects, good name actors, etc.)  The biggest name on this film was actually Joanna de Verona (who later made her name as Joanna Kerns).  This was her first feature film (and apparently her last).  She must have been so devastated by the film that she transitioned to TV and for most of the rest of her career was only in TV productions.  Her big role was as the mom in the TV series Growing Pains.

A*P*E starts out whiz bang as the title character is already captured and being transported as the show pony (ape) for an attraction in a theme park.  The people on the boat transporting the ape are confident that the drugs used to keep the ape subdued will last for 5 0r 6 days.  (boy are they wrong.)

The ape escapes in the water and does battle with a large shark (a la Jaws) then goes ashore where he begins to demolish every cardboard building in site. The US Army, led by Col. Davis (Alex Nicol) originally doubts the rumors of a giant ape, then dismisses it as being some publicity stunt being done by a local film production company.

The film company is on hand with its current star Marilyn Baker (De Verona/Kerns).  Marilyn's lover, a reporter named Tom Rose (Rod Arrants) is on hand as a romantic interest and the resident hero.  





Eventually both the Americans and the Korean army are convinced that the ape is real and make attempts to try to capture it before it destroys the entire cardboard countryside.



Of course, since this movie is trying to cash in on the blockbuster, the ape eventually finds and falls in love with Marilyn and captures her.  Leaving Tom to try to rescue his enamorata as best he can.

About a third of the movie is watching the guy in the cheap ape suit do some kind of interpretive dance in the wilderness while being attacked by critics in helicopters who think his show ought to be shut down before it makes it through its first run.



Part of the fun in watching the film is looking for the zippers that show up occasionally in the ape suit.  Ed Wood would have been proud of how the production company made use of the films interminable scenes of found footage of Army maneuvers as scenes of the Army trying to move into position to capture/kill the ape.


There seems to be some rumor that the film was originally released in #D, but maybe it was originally intended that way but they ran out of money.  There are several scenes, especially towards the end, where things come at you on screen, Styrofoam  rocks flying at the screen and gun barrels pointed directly at the screen.

The best scene is probably the one many people have seen if they've seen anything from this movie, the ape shoots the finger at the helicopters trying to shut down his one ape dance show.

Well folks that's it for this time.  Drive safely. 



  1. OMG. Never even heard of this one, though I was probably the only one who loved the King Kong remake. Saw it like six times. Joanna Kerns was so young! But no match for the charms of Miss Jessica Lange! :-)

    1. Hey, Chris. Thought you had seen It Came From Hollywood, but maybe my memory is faulty. This was one of the movies they referenced. Its pretty cheesy, but worth a look.


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