Director: Paul Leder
Cast: Rod Arrants, Joanna Kerns, Alex Nicol
Production Company: Kukje Movies
Runtime: 86 minutes
Do you feel like watching a giant monster movie? Of course you do! Would you like something that’s light as well as really entertaining? Well, it’s time to call in the dogs! A*P*E (1976) is sure to scratch that gorilla-sized movie itch.
In the movie, a recently captured giant ape busts loose, escaping from a freighter. It then goes on to terrorize the people of South Korea. Actress Marilyn Baker is there to make a movie, but she’s quickly abducted by the enormous beast.
A*P*E was an obvious knock off of King Kong (1976), which was one of Hollywood’s biggest money makers from that same year. The film also featured a shark to cash in on the popularity of Jaws (1975), which had been released the previous year.
This film was originally shot in 3-D, and took full advantage of the process. The filmmakers threw or pushed everything they could toward the camera! The effect is stunning in the Blu-ray release from Kino Lorber Incorporated. It’s probably the best 3-D film this side of Comin’ At Ya! (1981).
There are so many classic moments in this movie. I defy you to keep a straight face when the actor in the ape costume steps over a mechanical cow! The hang glider scene is also exceptionally funny and charming. And where else could you see a giant ape give the finger to the military?
A number of goofy scenes also happen at the home of Captain Kim. His threat to become a monster if his kids don’t eat breakfast is hilarious. There’s also a scene where his kids laugh uncontrollably at a marionette. The excessive laughter seems to go on forever. You might as well join in…
Joanna Kerns from Growing Pains is the star of the film, going by the name of Joanna DeVarona at the time. This was her first film, and it sure is a doozy! She does a great job in the role, obviously aware of all the amusing elements in the movie.
The film ends with a spectacular military assault against the misunderstood animal. Alex Nicol from The Screaming Skull (1958) leads the battle from his sparsely furnished office. In the end, A*P*E is just too big for a little world like ours…
– John Migliore
For more information on the film, check out the links below…