I have said time and time again that old porno never dies; it just gets repackaged in bulk form and sold by the glut. This is a review for PLAYMATE OF THE APES; a repackaged video from 2002 and sold for roughly half the price. Normally such repackaging tricks upset me because it usually results in a cheap, scaled back product where they put ten titles in the same plastic box with cheap sandpaper envelopes that can only scratch the double sided/ multiple film DVD’s which everyone knows are already more susceptible to damage to begin with. Such products usually come with their special features removed to deliver the most “cost-effective” product possible; perfect for people who just want to say they “own” a given title or series, even in the most technical sense. As for the packaging, forget it. Such products are usually enclosed in a standard plastic case with a badly Xeroxed label and no printed booklet whatsoever. Companies like Mill Creek are notorious for doing exactly this, and it seems every company has a discount line where they offer you not so much a release of an old film as a bizarre shareware version of it, with its best features disabled, diminished, or deleted. Yet, I was pleasantly surprised by this reissue as it was truly a different approach (more on this in a bit).
As for the movie, PLAYMATE OF THE APES is the exact sort of thing they broadcast on Cinemax After Dark, which is where I first saw it. Misty Mundae plays Commander Gaylor, an intrepid captain of a starship that crash lands on a planet filled with apes, or, more accurately guys, in a variety of terrible rubber ape suits. With her fellow female Crew members Lt. Fornication (Sharon Engert) and Lt. Pushkintucushkin (Anoushka), the three travelers from afar soon find themselves captured and locked in flimsy PVC cages until they do what any women trapped in such a premise on an unrated late night cable movie from ten years ago would do; they engage in countless lesbian sex acts. For unrated scenes, they are what you expect, and by that I mean they are maddeningly designed to give you everything but that one damned camera angle that would actually adult “action” which, after having seen hundreds of films just like this, you should know full well you aren’t going to get. Yet you watch (as I do), somehow hoping that this time it will be different, even as you die a little on the inside while you watch seven suggestive girl on girl scenes of buxom, naked women taking turns licking each other’s bellybutton or inner thigh area as their partner somehow screams in mad orgasmic release while their long hair strategically obscures the good parts, ultimately resulting in the same dry humping that pleases only the most timid adult late night erotic aficionado who must be careful not to play the cacophonic cries of fake orgasms too loud lest they wake their wife and kids in the next room for some real drama.
Of course there is some semblance of plot, though of course it is very little indeed. While not a shot for shot remake of THE PLANET OF THE APES, it does follow the basic plot structure of the sci-fi classic, only filled with bad puns, silly softcore sex, and a complete lack of production values. With the exception of Misty Mundae, most of the budget is dwarfed by the tens of thousands of dollars obviously spent on the breast augmentation of the female leads, easily evidenced by the amount of camera time they command during the eighty nine minute running time. Men are basic creatures; give us enough senseless nudity and most of us don’t have enough blood left in our brain for critical thought to realize or care that the space ships controls are made out of PVC pipe, all the weapons are cheap plastic toy costume props sold from a Spirit Halloween store, or that all the ape suits are obviously the sort of high-end pink gorilla creature effect replicas you can buy at Johnson Smith Co.
There was one thing I did like about this reissue; something that elevated it beyond the two skulls that extremely-naked-but-dumb movies usually earn from me. First of all, it is almost half the price it was back in 2002, and, at $10.00, it might not be a bad little flick for young (THOUGH LEGALLY ADULT) males who are obviously the target audience for this product. As “Joe Camel” taught us, before he was killed by Congress, comic book characters can be used with great success to indoctrinate youths on the verge of adulthood into buying some really bad, stupid products. This is why the plastic envelope enclosed comic packaging was, in my opinion, a stroke of marketing genius. While the comic itself was black and white, and only strove to provide a faithful “breasty” visual synopsis of the film, I have to admit that if I was 17 again and still tricking my dad into buying me issues of HEAVY METAL magazine because he mistakenly thought it had something to do with music, I have to admit I would probably have this entire slipcovered series stashed under my mattress somewhere, if not hidden in a stack of unopened vintage collector comics just to throw off the scent of my ravenous porn-trashing mother.
Special Features include two new commentaries and a comic book created by Noel Scotch.
Unsophisticated Unrated aficionados of all ages may order it here as of July 12. Special thanks to Alternative Cinema for the advance copy.