The Ape Man (1943)

Bela Lugosi in The Ape Man (1943)

An Earlier Serial Ape-ist

On returning home from an overseas trip Agatha Brewster (Minerva Urecal) learns the her brother, scientist James Brewster (Bela Lugosi) has gone missing which leads to the press lead by Jeff Carter (Wallace Ford) wanting to speak to Agatha about her brother. But Agatha learns that things are not what they seem when her brother's colleague Dr George Randall (Henry Hall) shows her into a hidden laboratory where James resides with an ape having experimented on himself with a secret serum which has turned him in to half man, half ape. When Carter and his photographer Billie Mason (Louise Currie) arrive they become suspicious of what is going on and the noises they hear. Meanwhile James believes that if he can get enough fresh, human spinal fluid it may reverse the effects of the drug he experimented with. The trouble is that no one will help him and so he has to rely on the ape to bring in viable candidates.

When I stumbled across "The Ape Man" the fist thing to cross my mind was not that this was a Bela Lugosi movie but how much it made me think of The Big Bang Theory and the storyline about Penny starring as an ape in the movie Serial Ape-ist. Unfortunately whilst you can't really complain about a movie which is free to watch due to it falling in to the public domain, "The Ape Man" leaves you wanting, in fact it leaves you wanting a lot as there isn't much to it.

It seems that the selling point of "The Ape Man" was not the horror of a man becoming half or the extents he will go to turn himself back but more about the novelty of Bela Lugosi walking around hunched over and with a make up job which looks more wolf man that ape man. Yes there are the incidents which lead to a killing spree but this sadly comes up incredibly short and even Bela Lugosi is unable to make it entertaining.

What this all boils down to is that if you enjoy freebies than "The Ape Man" may entertain due it falling in to the public domain and so being legal to watch online for free. But if either the story or the fact this is a Bela Lugosi movie attracted you then there is a good chance you will end up under whelmed.