19 or so Cinematic Simians

19 or so Cinematic Simians

Head The Monkees’ movie, featuring Jack Nicholson, Frank Zappa and a fifty foot Victor Mature.

King Kong (1933)/Son of Kong/Mighty Joe Young The original, black and white, stop-motion epics. Witness the coming of Harryhausen — the master. Nobody to this day, including Harry and the Hendersons, has as much feeling in eyebrows, as the apes in these fine films. There’s just something magical about raging gorillas loose in Manhattan. Set the standards upon which monster movies are filmed, including/especially Jurassic Park.

Outbreak A bunch of big stars in Intel suits chasing a deadly contagious monkey — Ooh scary!

Altered States/The Fly William Hurt turns into some kind of monkey man. Jeff Goldblum not only totally fucks himself up, he also turns a baboon inside out!

Monkey Shines Not much different than Monkey Trouble. Honest.

Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan If you like animatronic apes, you’ll love this film.

Congo Unless you love animatronic apes, you’ll hate this film.

Gorillas in the Mist See Greystoke.

Bedtime for Bonzo/Bonzo Goes to College Ronald Reagan gives the world a “sneak peak” at his heroic political career by successfully house-training an unruly monkey. An excellent metaphor for the end of the Cold War.

2001: A Space Odyssey Apes, on the cusp of becoming man, foreshadow the coming of the Viet Nam Memorial.

Murders At the Rue Morgue Film version of Poe’s example of how a good mystery’s ending runs the fine line of irony, between the ridiculous and plausible. Very influential in X-Files plots.

12 Monkeys Terry Gilliam directs. Brad Pitt plays a pretty good nut. Bruce Willis’ butt. ‘Nuff said.

Walt Disney’s Jungle Book The last feature animation ol’ Walt actively participated with before his demise. Features Louis Prima as King Louie, the Orangutan who has an affinity towards transvestite bears.

Jumanji Monkeys enter the realm of CG and steal/save this fun-filled family romp. Robin Williams’ career wanes.

Every Which Way But Loose/Any Which Way You Can Clint Eastwood loves to fight and he loves his monkey. Along the same vein as Clint’s “man and his monkey” period, Tony Danza made a forgettable “triple threat” orangutan comedy. Orangutan training must have suddenly became a booming career.

The Hunger Film opens with a montage of Bauhaus performing and vampires hunting, while monkeys busy themselves attacking one another. Also contains great monkey aging/dying/decomposing stop-motion footage. Pretty trippy.

Baby’s Day Out/Trading Places Both films feature “men in suit” gorillas. At the end of TP, it’s insinuated that the bad guy, trapped in a gorilla suit, will be perpetually sodomized by a real ape! Wacky fun!

Monkey Trouble/Dunston Checks In A non-naked Harvey Kietel in his first family flick. And what a title! “Sorry I’m late but I had a little monkey trouble… Havin’ a little trouble with your monkey?” And so on and so forth.

The Omen Don’t bother looking for the birth mark. After watching a classic scene when a pack of mandrills freaks out, you know Damien is the son of Satan.

Project X Matthew Broderick’s get-depressed follow-up to his-feel-good hit Ferris Bueller.

All of the Planet of the Apes Films, particularly the two with Charlton Heston. A Rod Serling concept, tackling prejudice in its most outlandish forms, which then turns to Sci-Fi Opera. (See Simpson’s “Planet of the Apes: The Musical”)

Gorilla At Large 7-Eleven and local cable/UHF stations gave many their first glimpse at a 3-D film broadcast on TV. Other than being in 3-D and having featured poop connoisseur Raymond Burr, this film really sucked.

The Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy/Cabin Boy Two great monkey lines- “Please don’t take away my monkeys!” and “Wanna buy a monkey?”

The Wizard of Oz * The image of Ray Bolger getting’ his innards ripped out by flying purple monkeys haunts us to this day, just as it had as children.

*Oh yeah- Bullshit on that Dark Side of the Moon/Oz connection. Just what and how much have you been smokin’?

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