Wednesday, 1 July 2015
The Monster Walks (1932)
I have a pretty high tolerance for the cheap, creaky productions that were churned out by Hollywood's poverty row in the pre-war years, but even by the incredibly modest standards of such fare, The Monster Walks is execrably written and acted.
We're presented here with the hoariest of cliches: a gathering on a dark and stormy night for the reading of a rich man's Will. It's not much of a gathering, though. Other than the lawyer who is there to read the Will, there's the dead man's two servants, his invalid brother, and his daughter (who brings along her fiancee and their chauffeur, a painfully racist and unfunny "comedic" African American character).
There's also an ape chained up in the basement of the house. The film insists on calling it a gorilla, but it's clearly a chimpanzee (and is never seen in shot with any of the human characters, presumably as an attempt to disguise its actual size). The chimpanzee/gorilla (chimporilla?) was present in the house for unspecified experiments conducted by the deceased man.
When the Will is read, the daughter gets almost all of the estate and wealth. Then that night, as she tries to sleep, a hairy hand reaches through a secret panel and tries to strangle her.
Yes indeed, this is a 'killer gorilla' movie (and not the last one in this pack, either). Of course, the beast must have a human directing its actions, and given the teeny tiny cast, the list of possible suspects is not exactly daunting.
The movie shambles tediously through its paces as the villains are revealed and eventually overcome. This all takes a mere 60 minutes, but frankly it feels much longer.
Avoid, unless you're suffering from the world's worst case of insomnia.