Judge Paul Corupe knows that hell hath no fury like a woman wrestler scorned and forced to undergo involuntary heart surgery.
La Horripilante bestia humana / Muñecos infernales
Ever since public domain house Brentwood evolved into BCI Eclipse, they've refocused their business plan and embarked on a new mission to keep genre fans happy with a steady stream of DVD weirdness culled from dusty vaults around the globe. The second release in their new "Crypt of Terror" line, Night of the Bloody Apes / Curse of the Doll People is another step in the right direction; a cheesy twosome of MexiMonster madness that dishes out a heaping serving of late-night thrills for cult connoisseurs.
Facts of the Case
Night of the Bloody Apes
With his son Julio (Agustín Martínez Solares, A Woman Possessed) rapidly dying of Leukemia, surgeon Dr. Krallman (José Elías Moreno, ) does the logical thing to save him—he transplants an ape's heart into Julio's body. The operation appears to have cured his bedridden son, at least until he begins transforming into an ape-like beast that escapes and goes on a rampage of rape and murder. To stop him, Dr, Krallman decides to kidnap a masked female wrestler and substitute her ticker.
Curse of the Doll People
A team of archeologists return to Mexico City with a sacred idol stolen from an ancient temple, and find themselves in the grip of a voodoo curse. With the help of his zombie accomplice, a revenge-minded high priest (Quintín Bulnes, The Living Coffin) has each man killed, and then traps their soul into a small replica doll which comes to life and continues to carry out his evil plans.
Slapped together by notorious Mexican sleaze-merchant Rene Cardona, Night of the Bloody Apes is a lewd and crude classic. It has been kicking around on the outskirts of the public domain circuit for years, occasionally popping up on home video from particularly bold cult publishers like Something Weird. Featuring a tantalizing recipe of wrestling, gouged eyeballs, nudity, wrestling, gorilla suits, surgery footage, and even more wrestling, the film firmly belongs to the bleary-eyed psychotronic trash aesthetic we all know and love. The plot is a joke, the editing a nightmare, and the make-up is laughable. But at least the H.G. Lewis-styled gore is effective when it needs to be, spilling buckets of the gooey red stuff during a decapitation, a scalping, and the aforementioned eye trauma. This one is presented in its original, tamer Spanish language version as well as the preferable, International version with bonus sex and gore (including those infamous-yet-poorly-integrated insert shots of real heart surgery). For all its reputation, though, Night of the Bloody Apes is only really interesting when it's spewing blood and boobs at the audience. Otherwise it can be tediously talky, as though anyone might actually care about its dime-a-dozen storyline.
If the purely visceral delights of Night of the Bloody Apes aren't your preferred flavor of poison, then make sure you head straight to the rarely-seen shocker Curse of the Doll People. While admittedly not up to the quality of other vintage Mexican horrors like The Black Pit of Dr. M or The Curse of the Crying Woman, this is an undeniably creepy little effort with some of the strangest killers ever. The doll people, played by what appear to be small children wearing genuinely unsettling "adult" masks (complete with miniature eyeglasses and Van Dykes), are pretty damned nightmarish as they pull out long needles and jab them into the necks of their unsuspecting prey. Perhaps even weirder is the flute-playing zombie assistant who keeps the mini-assassins in line and delivers them in long, unmarked cardboard boxes to each victim's house! Though there's no blood or gore—this is an atmospheric black and white creeper all the way—it's still one of those truly strange films that succeeds because it's so utterly and uniquely surreal. Like Night of the Bloody Apes, Curse of the Doll People is presented in Spanish and English versions. You'll want to avoid the K. Gordon Murray dub job, which is 15 minutes short and features silly sound effects.
The full-frame transfers on this two-disc set are generally good. Night of the Bloody Apes features eye-popping color and solid detail levels, while Curse of the Doll People suffers a little from print damage. Both films are presented in acceptable mono soundtracks. There are even a few extras here, starting with three minutes of silent Ape outtakes, mostly from the gore scenes. You'll also find a trailer, and brief image galleries for each film.
A blood-spattered sleazefest followed by a black and white chiller about pint-sized executioners? Admittedly, the films don't really work well together on this double feature disc. But the open-minded horror fan will find this pleasing and affordable BCI Eclipse package a Mexican horror winner.
Not guilty / Not guilty.
Give us your feedback!
What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.
Scales of Justice, Curse Of The Doll People
Perp Profile, Curse Of The Doll People
Studio: BCI Eclipse
Distinguishing Marks, Curse Of The Doll People
• Image Gallery
Scales of Justice, Night Of The Bloody Apes
Perp Profile, Night Of The Bloody Apes
Studio: BCI Eclipse
Distinguishing Marks, Night Of The Bloody Apes
Review content copyright © 2006 Paul Corupe; Site design and review layout copyright © 2013 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.