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Killer Ape

Entry updated 4 April 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (1953). Columbia Pictures. Produced by Sam Katzman. Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennett (credited as Spencer G Bennett). Written by Samuel Newman based on the Comics character Jungle Jim created by Alex Raymond. Cast includes Nestor Paiva, Max Palmer, Carol Thurston, Johnny Weissmuller and Burt Wenland. 68 minutes. Black and white.

In southeastern Asia, adventurer Jungle Jim notices various wild animals acting strangely; he captures some and sends them for laboratory testing. This reveals they have been subjected to experimentation with unknown Drugs – eventually shown to be the work of Dr Andrews (Paiva), who is trying to develop a deadly new drug as a Weapon which can be shot into people or animals. Before learning this, Jim has met Andrews – who lives near the Canyon of the Man Ape, where a half-man half-ape creature (see Apes as Human) is said to live – and warned him to leave owing to rumours of this dangerous creature's presence. Andrews stays put; the Killer Ape (Palmer) attacks his compound damaging his laboratory badly. Jim issues the same warning to Mahura, leader of the local Wazuli tribe, who insists on seeing the creature for himself and is killed despite Jim's rescue attempt. Mahura's daughter Shari (Thurston) and her spouse Ramada (Wenland) accuse Jim of murdering her father; the Killer Ape attacks again, and is scared away by Jim.

Further complications lead to Jim, Shari, Ramada, a tribal elder and the Killer Ape itself all being captured by Andrews and his henchmen, with plans to use them as experimental subjects. Jungle Jim's pet chimp Tamba and his ape friends come to the rescue, attacking Andrews's compound and freeing all the captives. The Killer Ape slaughters the henchmen; Andrews is killed by a panther; the Ape (with possible thoughts of Sex) tries to make off with Shari; Jim rescues her and cruelly disposes of the Killer Ape by setting it ablaze. He is presented with a tribal medal for his deeds.

Killer Ape is the twelfth of sixteen Columbia Pictures films starring Weissmuller as Raymond's jungle hero, produced 1948-1956; a few featured mild sf elements. [GSt]


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