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Mistress of The Apes

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Release Date: 
Cheezy Flicks
Aspect Ratio: 
Directed by: 
Larry Buchanan
Jenny Neumann
Barbara Leigh
Garth Pillsbury
Bottom Line: 
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Does anyone remember Larry Buchanan?  For fifty years (until his death in 2004) his body of work as a director will always be remembered though perhaps not in the way he hoped. It is generally agreed upon that the films of Mr. Buchanan are regarded as so unequivocally terrible that they have immediately become cult works of art by modern cult movie collectors everywhere who can’t tell a bad film from a good one (and are damn proud to admit it).  Let us meet this “Mistress of the Apes” and see this late seventies take on “making sweet monkey love”.

When the film begins Susan Jamison is attempting to give birth to a child in a hospital that is currently being overrun by a team of pistol toting drug addicts.  In a tragic accident, she has a miscarriage, an admittedly stark and senseless event for a film like this, but it will make sense later. Yet somehow things are about to get worse for her, even as she lay in her hospital bed some news reaches her that her husband, a famous anthropologist has disappeared overseas in his quest to find the missing link between apes and man, a creature known simply as “Homo Hablis”.  Furthermore the film recovered from her husband’s cameras contains blurry footage of live, primitive men who look a little like weightlifters in Planet of the Ape makeup (because that’s exactly what they are).  Of course she must go to Africa at once to search for her husband.

Compounding matters is the fact that young pretty Susan hires the worst possible man to finance her on this trip, a complete and utter asshole named David Thurston, a rich, publisher type who pays for this whole endeavor under the guise of getting the first exclusive pictures of the elusive “Homo Hablis”. It should be stated that his actual motives are so evil, duplicitous and boundless that he sounds like either a Machiavellian mastermind or a big fat jerk in a safari jacket who just enjoys screwing with everyone and everything at all times. See if you can figure out his ultimate motivations here and whether or not they are the best laid plans of a criminal mastermind, or just the goofy “evil overkill” antics of another B movie heel in a sexploitation film.

It seems Mr. Thurston has been secretly in love with Susan for quite some time and has orchestrated her missing husband’s murder.  The fact the film footage was eventually found is initially an upsetting matter to him, but being the man of opportunity that he is (as well as an insane poacher) he figures it may be interesting to experience the long lost missing link of humankind alive and well (all so he can shoot them to death with a hunting rifle and presumably mount them in his study with all his other specimens of endangered species).   Once in Africa he makes advances upon Susan one time too many and she brutally rejects him. He becomes even more evil then and secretly instructs his two partners to murder everyone else on the trip, even going so far to allow his own wife to be raped twice by his underlings, because it’s not like he is going to allow anyone to leave alive anyway.  

Meanwhile Susan Jamison has wandered deep into the jungle and has come across a colony of the ape people after Thurston shoots one their only female.  She walks up to one of their babies and promptly begins to breast feed it, saving its life.  The ape people are so touched Susan’s selfless act of cross species humanity (as well as a stupidly suggestive scene of her teaching them how to eat a banana) that they welcome her as one of their clan.  Later one of them actually has sex with her in a scene that was rated R but was cleverly filmed to look loving, tender and judging by her (mouth wide agape) facial expression absolutely painful. How painful? Think of the look on the face of Jason Jennifer Leigh’s character as she loses her virginity from “FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH” and take it times ten.

The ape men are eventually conscripted to help save the only two people in the party who survived Thurston’s evil plans and the “Homo Hablis” people do what you expect to Thurston-That is if you were expecting them to figure out how to operate his high power rifle moments after picking it up and shoot him from a hundred feet away with a single shot, using the scope no less (opposable thumbs=awesomeness). Yet it should be noted that the film actually ended on a happy note, (depending on your definition of bestiality). Susan is now pregnant again, carrying an ape child abomination in her womb and she is going to stay with her new hairy family. 

Suddenly a funkadelic 1970’s tune that sounds like it was sung by Jerry Reed plays in the background, its lyrics something of a ballad that tells the heroic story of the ”MISTRESS OF THE APES”.  I suppose all of this would be all patently offensive to most every human being in the world (and most great apes) if it wasn’t so laughably goddamned stupid. Seriously, I am linking to a video of the ending credit music here just to prove I didn’t imagine this.

This wasn’t terrible. Any seven dollar forgotten film O’ filth that can actually still make me swear in disbelief during its duration is probably enough to shock the viewer as much as it did back when this was released some thirty years ago so I am giving one skull for every time it actually made me say “WTF!” aloud. It’s so harsh, stupid and ill-conceived that it has to be seen to be believed and then it immediately becomes something that your mind can’t unsee. I don’t know how to justify my strange three skull rating of this film except to say that much like the Susan Jamison’s unredeemable taste in “man-things”, this movie itself  is so brutal, dumb and ugly that some viewers may just find themselves “loving it” as well (albeit unnaturally). 

Extras include a collection of trailers from other Cheezy Flicks.

Grab a vine and swing into this one yourself, here.



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