Blu-ray Review: RETURN OF THE APE MAN

RETURN OF THE APE MAN and was directed Philip Rosen from a screenplay by Robert Charles . The titular ape man (incarnated by Frank Moran and fleetingly by George Zucco) is featured alongside Bela Lugosi, John Carradine and Mary Currier in the fright fest Return of the Ape Man. The movie also features Michael Ames, Judith Gibson (Bluebeard), Ed Chandler and Ernie Adams.

Return of the Ape Man stars Lugosi as Professor Dexter, the doctor who put the mad in mad scientist. On the verge of restoring a recently unearthed simian from its frozen sleep, Dexter’s plans for the apesicle will have chilling consequences when he sets about transplanting a human brain into his frozen find. With unwitting (and unwilling) help from fellow scientist Professor Gilmore (Carradine), Dexter hopes to unravel the mystery of the “missing link.”

The movie features some good performances by some classic actors and of course Bela Lugosi is the standout here and this time he gets to play a different kind of monster. His delivery as Professor Dexter is spot on as the mad scientist and antagonist of the story. There’s also the ape man that was played by Frank Moran and George Zucco and this creature sort of stole the show from the rest of the cast and he hardly said a word. There’s also some okay makeup effects to help give this creature his caveman look. I thought Philip Rosen did a good job directing the movie and even though it might not be as good as some of the more popular horror titles from yesteryear, it’s still a cheesy good monster movie.

The front of the packaging features the classic artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and specs. The Blu-ray disc also features some similar artwork and movie logo. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. Unfortunately, I had some issues with the picture and sound quality for this high-definition release but it’s kind of forgiven considering the age and obscurity of this movie. The audio is in much better shape than the video footage which is a little distorted but watchable. I’m glad this 73-year old obscurity got the best preservation it could get by Olive Films, otherwise it would be lost forever like so many other movies.

Bottom line is, Return of the Ape Man was another first time watch for me and I enjoyed it a little more than what I thought I would. The story for this 1944 monster movie was very Frankenstein-like because it follows this mad scientist who thaws out this frozen caveman and ends up giving him a partial brain transplant to make him smarter but it all goes horribly wrong. The caveman gets loose and causes all kinds of trouble. I’ve never watched the original Ape Man (1943) so I didn’t have anything to go by except by looking at some images online but it appears this movie isn’t a sequel and features an entirely new situation. By the way, what’s up with the extremely short run time on so many of these classic movies? Return of the Ape Man makes its Blu-ray debut on October 31st and is worth checking out. This one is for more of the classic horror cinema fans out there.

Distributor: Olive Films

Run Time: 61 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Fullframe (1.33:1) B&W

Blu-ray Audio: English Dolby Digital 1.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features: N/A

 

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