Bride of the Gorilla (1951)

Genres - Horror, Thriller  |   Run Time - 65 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

The premise of Bride of the Gorilla is so goofy that one approaches it expecting a campy laugh-fest -- and why not? It's hard to pinpoint why exactly, but a man turning into a wolf is by nature an intriguing and interesting idea, while a man turning into a gorilla is by nature simply nutty. That's not to say that the latter idea absolutely cannot be the basis for a good horror flick, but it is to say that the idea requires a lot more work just to be acceptable, let alone good. Gorilla doesn't do the work, but what's much more damaging is that it doesn't even have fun with its silly premise. Indeed, Gorilla takes itself awfully seriously, with the result that it comes across as dull, dull, dull. Yes, viewers may find themselves chuckling a little during the first fifteen minutes or so of ponderous dialogue, leaden acting and sluggish direction, as well as the budget-conscious sets and flat photography. But the humor peters out rather quickly, and boredom sets in. Tom Conway manages to keep our interest most of the film, and Lon Chaney, Jr.'s quirkiness has some appeal. But aside from appreciating that he's in much better shape than he was as Perry Mason, there's little to recommend in Raymond Burr's performance. Barbara Payton, meanwhile, is a sheer delight to look at, but as an actress, she doesn't impress as much.