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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Bride of the Gorilla (1951)

Werewolves are a staple of the Horror genre- but human transformation isn't restricted to wolves.  There have been human to spider transformation movies, human to wasp transformation movies, and human to ape ones.

After Barney Chavez murders his employer and seduces his wife, a series of strange animal killings begin.  His new wife, Dina begins to suspect that Barney's odd behaviour is connected to the events going on.  Soon she and police chief Taro close in on the truth... and find Barney's a changed man...

"Bride of the Gorilla" is a bit of a silly movie, but suitable for a night of B-movie guilty pleasures.  The story is an interesting twist on the classic werewolf tale.  There are some nice little threads put together to weave a decent little plot- though it the movie relies heavily on Raymond Burr's acting chops.

Other than Chavez, the characters are somewhat laughable and shallow.  Chavez is the only one that has any real depth for someone you're not supposed to like.  I also liked Taro- though only because Burr and Lon Chaney, Jr are great in their respective roles.

This movie really relies on Burr and Chaney to carry it along and keep people interested.  The two of them do a decent job of doing it too.  I was a little disappointed that Chaney didn't get more opportunity to flesh out the character of police chief Taro.  Burr's portrayal of a man slowly losing himself to the call of the jungle and the animal inside him was a joy to watch.

I was rather let down by the camera work.  The scenes in the jungle tended to be under lit, and hard to tell what was going on, and the camera was pretty static throughout most of the scenes.  A little more camera movement similar to the prologue and epilogue would've helped to make this movie a little more dynamic and visually engaging.

As much as this is a guilty pleasure for me, it's not one that I would recommend to people other than fans of B-movies.  But since I would have little problem pulling it out for a night of cheesy poofs and beer, I'm placing "Bride of the Gorilla" in The Good.

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