A*P*E (1976 South Korea)

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A*P*E (1976 South Korea)

Post  BoG on Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:54 pm

A cash-in on the 1976 King Kong version (the Kong film came out during the X-Mas season in '76; this quickie came out a couple of months before). You know what you're in for with the very first scene, in which a ship is represented by a small toy boat bobbing in the water. The story is a rough redraft of the Kong legend: the ship has a 36-foot ape in its hold, already captured. But, the giant ape breaks free, the ship explodes (more amateurish pyrotechnics) and the huge primate starts to prowl the land. Eventually, the ape crosses paths with an actress (Joanna Kerns, later famous for her regular role on TV's Growing Pains) who is filming a movie in the area. He grabs her and is soon attacked by the army.

The embarrassing moments are too numerous to go into here, but we can start with the ape suit itself, a mockery of what a gorilla suit should be. We are afforded at least one peek of the actor underneath in one of the close-up shots, when the ape head shifts away from the body suit. The story periodically shifts to an army colonel (Alex Nicol) in his office, who disbelieves reports of a huge ape. There was barely any money for the FX, which explains the shoddy look of the miniatures, but it didn't stop the filmmakers from presenting a lengthy climactic battle with the army, in which the unconvincing toy models - tanks - and hurled boulders are shown over & over, all of it having the look of being shot in a backyard by some kids. There is one sequence when the ape slowly rampages through a city and the roughly 1/6 scale buildings are acceptable. Also, there is some charm and amusement sprinkled throughout, notably the scenes of the movie within the movie being filmed. BoG's Score: 2 out of 10

Ape Trivia:  A*P*E stood for Attacking Primate MonstEr and was to spoof the acronym title of M*A*S*H, a show that was based in Korea where this film was produced; Kerns was credited using her original name, Joanna de Varona.
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