Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Shock the Monkeys

The Encyclopedia Britannica defines an “island” as “any area of land smaller than a continent and entirely surrounded by water.” I only mention this because the film featured in this week’s Mis-Treatment—Kong Island—is set in Africa which, by definition, is not an island (or a single country either). But then geological confusion was the least of the problems of this movie.

Previous entries in this series are:
The Skull
Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women
Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet
The Wasp Woman
The Horrors of Spider Island
The Atomic Brain
The Amazing Transparent Man
She Gods of Shark Reef
Moon of the Wolf
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
Queen of the Amazons
The Incredible Petrified World
Kong Island (1968)
Auteur/Perpetrator: Robert Morris (actually Roberto Mauri)
Star(s) of Shame: No one to speak of
Monster: Radio-controlled gorillas; really dumb evil genius
“Plot”: Um...ah...that’s a good question; I’ll have to get back to you on that

Kong Island is one of those movies that have a multitude of titles, depending on what poorly executed part of the film it was trying to emphasize. When it was marketed as a “scantily-clad native babe cavorting in the jungle,” it was called Eva, la Venere selvaggia (or, in English, Eve, the Wild Woman). When it was marketed as “King Kong-esque rogue gorillas attack humans,” it was called Kong Island or, in one iteration, King of Kong Island, despite the fact that Nairobi is decidedly not an island. Kenya dig it? There may also have been versions entitled Kong of King Island, Island of Kong King, Kong of Kong Kong, and, Island of Island Island. I say, let’s just call it King Eve, Wild Kong of Woman Island and be done with it.

Call it what you will, the fact is that a turkey by any other name would still be as painful to watch... Yeah, this one blew. They should distribute it on Blew-Ray DVD. Speaking of video quality, the version in my science-fiction movie boxed set does appear to have been digitally remastered from the original 20th-generation EP-mode VHS version taped off a poorly received UHF channel.

We open on a Jeep trucking (or Jeeping, I guess) through what looks like a rock quarry. So obviously, the movie did not skimp on the scenic locations. The Jeep rounds a corner and Bert (Brad Harris, our hero, by the way) holds them up at gunpoint, demanding money that is apparently being transported in the Jeep. However, Bert’s cohorts jump the gun, so to speak, and start firing on the Jeep’s passengers. You know that Bert is the good guy because he voices mild complaint about the fact that four people were just killed in cold blood. Bert and two other guys (one of whom is wearing dark glasses and a hat) are after the “payroll money”—$300,000—that the jeep was carrying. And since the name of the company is written in crayon on a strip of cardboard and taped to the windshield of the Jeep, you know it’s a top-notch company they’re stealing from. “That means we’ll never have to work for a living anymore,” says one cohort, and is immediately shot. Well, he was prescient, I have to give him that. Who shot him? Bert’s partner—who then shoots Bert. Bert goes down, but will survive to fight another day.

Cue titles...

After a stark black-and white title sequence, we are in some kind of operating theater...or “cave” might be a better term for it. Two white-masked figures are daubing red tempera paint behind the ear of what looks like a gorilla mask. Oh, I see: they are actually making an incision so they can implant what looks like a binder clip behind the ear of a gorilla. It must be Africa because the heartbeat is vaguely polyrhythmic. This takes rather a while and I am guessing the sound editor just saw 2001 because all we hear on the soundtrack is the heartbeat and the sound of heavy breathing.

The “doctors” remove their masks and chuckle mischievously; I think they’re actually my HMO’s in-network doctors. One guy is Albert, the guy who shot Bert before the title sequence. The other guy is named Turk, and is Albert’s hired goon. He struggles to remove his large face from his surgical mask, and it turns out he kind of looks like Eddie Rabbitt.

The gorilla stirs and starts wheezing horribly. It was a bold choice to place the microphone in the ape’s larynx.

We then cut abruptly to some kind of bar or restaurant, where an African woman is singing “Go Down, Moses.” Oy. The owner, Theodore, comes in and he just looks like he’s going to be unpleasant. And, sure enough, the first thing he says is “Hurry up,” in a crotchety voice to the cleaning woman. He stops at the bar, chugs down a drink, and proceeds into what I assume is his home, which is attached to the restaurant. He suddenly has a cigarette in his mouth; was it in the drink? He pauses outside a door and hears a female voice. He enters and Ursula, his wife, tells him that they have a visitor: Bert, who is apparently a “prodigal” of some kind. They all provide some back story: Theodore mentions Bert’s pre-title sequence “accident” and thought Bert had left Africa. Bert says no, but that there is little work for mercenaries at the moment. Who would have thought that the job market in the middle of the African jungle would be bad? Meanwhile, Ursula is parading around fixing drinks with her robe wide open. When you got it, flaunt it, I guess.

Bert asks Theodore, “Have you seen Albert?” Theodore looks shifty and says, “No.” So, in other words “Yes.” Ursula is begging for more back story: “Which one was Albert?” But then she answers her own question: “Oh, yes, I think I remember your mad doctor friend.” She insists that she hasn’t seen him for several years. But she says it in such a way that implies, “Oh, I’ve seen him rather recently and am plotting something with him.”

Bert has no ear for nuance, and hopes he can find him, “I want to see him about this.” And he opens his shirt to reveal a large scar on his shoulder. Thank you.

As Bert leaves the room, Ursula closes her robe. Show time’s over, apparently. Theodore closes the door and confronts his wife. “So you’re back to your old game, eh?” Parcheesi? Chutes and Ladders? Hungry Hungry Hippos? Bert overhears their loud conversation from the hall. Theodore is not happy that Bert is back; Ursula was in love with Bert at one time. I don’t know what made Theodore suspicious; maybe her swanning around in front of Bert mostly nude? “Be careful, Ursula,” says Theodore, proving once again what an utter dickweed he’s going to be. “If you’re lying to me, you’ll regret it.” I can’t see why she would ever want to take off with someone else. Ursula responds, “Just remember this...” A kiss is just a kiss? “He’s the one you have to worry about.” Bert smiles in satisfaction at hearing his character sketch.

Bert walks down the hall and passes another door and hears another female voice within. He pauses to listen. Man, this is more like “Eavesdropping, the Wild Woman.” He barges in and we pan slowly up the legs of Diana, Theodore and Ursula’s daughter, who is unaccountably glad to see him. She is holding a rifle—was she talking to it? She throws herself at Bert and sits on his lap while he is standing up, which is no mean feat. A gun is poked into Bert’s back. “Better take your hands off her,” says a gruff voice. Oh, it’s just some good-natured ribbing from Robert, Diana’s brother. Diana says she is going big-game hunting in the morning. “What animal are you hunting?” “Sacred monkeys,” she says. “I’ve never heard of them,” says Bert. “What are they?” Robert explains, “They’re supposed to be some kind of sacred wild monkey.” Ah! That explains everything. Now I get it. That’s—huh?!? Now wait a minute. Sacred to whom, and is it generally a good idea to hunt animals that are considered sacred in other people’s religions? “It’s in the forbidden part of the jungle,” says Diana. “Forbidden to white men.” I guess she thinks because she’s a white woman it doesn’t apply to her. Either way, gee, I can’t imagine anything going wrong on that trip. “Bert,” says Robert, “why don’t you come with us? It’ll be a hell of a lot of fun.” Yeah, venturing into forbidden parts of the jungle, crapping on natives’ religions, shooting monkeys. Sounds like a ball. Who could possibly turn that down? As it turns out, Bert does. “Firearms make me sick,” he says, picking up the gun.

They talk about old times, albeit very briefly, and Robert mentions Turk, “Albert’s friend, the one with the scar on his face.” He apparently comes around to Theodore’s restaurant, and this intrigues Bert. He nods thoughtfully, then we pan over and zoom in on some kind of African mask painting.

Cut to later that evening, at the local dance club. (In Nairobi? Huh?) Everyone is a-movin’ and a-groovin’ to the epic instrumental “Music for Surf Guitar and Hammond Organ” (it was 1968). Bert sits at the bar; Ursula points out that there is a man in the bar “who has been eyeing you for a long time.” Oh god, I hope this doesn’t turn into Brokeback Jungle or something like that. Said “guy” looks like a cross between Jack Lemmon and the guy who played the psychiatrist in M*A*S*H. Could he possibly be more out of place? They exchange unknowing glances.

Diana shows up, wearing a leather go-go outfit held together with white duct tape. Ah, the late 1960s! They then start boxing with each other...oh, that’s dancing. My mistake.
We then pan around the room to see everyone frugging like mad. It’s like one of those party sequences in Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. I expect to see Joann Worley, Arte Johnson, and/or Henry Gibson pop up. Is that a chicken joke?
We return to Bert and Diane and they compare wristbands, watched over by the Jack Lemmon/psychiatrist guy. Then, in walks Turk, and Bert is not happy. Turk takes off, with Bert in hot pursuit. Outside, Bert is set upon by four guys wielding machetes. In a classic James West disarm, Bert takes down four guys with one blow. There is a brawl, and Bert is ultimately saved by the Jack Lemmon/psychiatrist guy. Bert thanks him; “The pleasure was all mine.” Bert then walks off, apparently uninterested in who this guy is and why he just saved his life. Go figure. Diana is waiting for him. “You were right; it’s the men and not the animals who are the real danger.” I think that’s generally a given. “Right now, it’s men not animals that I’m going to settle with.” But after that, look out, rhinos. She again tries to cajole him into going hunting with her. He again declines.

I have to say at this point that however much the movie may suck, the soundtrack music is surprisingly good, being a kind of 60s acid rock with vaguely African music. Peter Gabriel, eat your heart out.

The next day, a caravan of Jeeps sets out on Diana’s hunt for the sacred monkeys. They pass by a couple of elephants. “Too bad we’re not hunting elephants,” she says. “I’ll bet you are,” returns Robert. What? Welcome to Non-Sequitur Theater. “It’s so exciting,” she quivers. Yeah, exerting one’s dominion over the creatures of the earth, killing things. I know I can’t get enough of that. “I can’t wait to find out if there really is a sacred monkey,” she says. “I told you it’s just a legend,” returns Robert. So wait a minute: is this only a big snipe hunt?! Don’t tell the guys who are lugging the gear.

“Look, a pair of lions!” shouts Diana. Replies her brother, “And they didn’t even condescend to look at us.” Who could blame them? “Look at those birds!” shouts Robert. Unfortunately, the Jeep is jouncing around too much so all we can see are white blurs. And besides, they’ve lived in Africa for years and they’re still amazed by birds?

The drive continues on in silence for a while. Cool music, through.

They arrive...wherever they are, and begin unloading the Jeeps. Meanwhile, Turk watches them through binoculars while really cool fuzztone guitar chords strike up. Turk must have severe vision problems or really cheap binoculars because the field of vision is rather restricted.
The hunters lug two Jeeps worth of crap into the jungle. This takes rather a while. They come upon two leopard cubs and Diana thinks they are too cute to kill. Awww.... So they move on. They come across what one could assume is the cubs’ mother, and proceed to fire at it. Boo!! Fortunately, the leopard has far more intelligence than any of the humans in this movie and easily outwits the mighty hunters by hiding behind a tree. They give up. Whew!

They trudge onward. This takes a while. Cool music, though.

They come across a campsite and cut to later that evening. They are finishing dinner. “You’re really a good cook, Molumba,” says Robert, sarcastically. Ha ha ha. Diana actually liked it. “You must be very hungry,” says Robert. “Your appetite is never like this at home.” Diana never has a second cup of coffee at home.

Meanwhile, the native guides are taking loudly amongst themselves. Robert asks Molumba what the problem is; “My men don’t want to continue. There’s a devil in the jungle. They say, there is a powerful evil spirit.” Yes, we know; you’ve been lugging her crap. Robert knows how to sensitively handle native religious beliefs. “Tell them I’ll double their pay, and be ready in the morning.”

Later that evening, Diana is undressing in her tent. Of course; you knew there was going to be at least one scene of Diana undressing. But as the cool fuzztone guitar returns, a guy in a gorilla suit peers out of the bushes and watches Diana undress. A second gorilla appears and peers. One of the gorillas bursts into Diana’s tent and carries her off. She drops her bracelet. Meanwhile, the other gorilla attacks the humans, leaving one dead and Robert dazed on the ground. The gorillas flee into the woods. Gorilla, you’re a desperado. Turk appears and stands over Robert. “Now remember this...” A kiss is just a kiss? Oh; “Diana’s life depends on you. Go back to Nairobi. Immediately. And explain what happened to your father.” What happened to his father? Oh, I see, never mind... “And say, if he wants his daughter back alive, there’s only one way to get her.”

Cut to—hey, wait a minute! What’s the one way to get her back?

The gorillas carry Diana through the woods; someone in desperate need of a pedicure finds Diana’s bracelet on the ground in her tent. Man, this is like “Accessory Island.”

Back in Nairobi, Robert is explaining to Bert about the monkeys, how one grabbed Diana and the other attacked the rest of the camp. “It’s like they were...human almost....They behaved as if they had a plan, as if it had been prearranged, as if they were some kind of robots.” So were they humans or robots? Bert is a mite skeptical. Theodore comes in and pleads with Bert. “I don’t know who else I can turn to to help Diana.” He avoids looking at Robert while saying this. Probably for good reason. Bert is hesitant, and Robert opts for the passive-aggressive route. “Well, if Bert doesn’t want to help, we’ll look for Diana ourselves.” “You haven’t got a hope of finding her. I’m not going,” says Bert. “I’d lead the safari myself if I were younger,” says Theodore. Man, this is like “Wuss Island.” Theodore offers him money.

“Bert,” says Robert, “there’s something important I didn’t tell you. I was afraid you wouldn’t believe me. I saw Turk out there.” Yeah, that’s so much more unbelievable than the robot gorilla thing. That gets Bert’s attention, and to symbolize Bert’s inner turmoil the cameraman abruptly zooms in from a long shot to a close up of his nose. “I’m convinced that he’s behind it. The kidnapping,” adds Robert. “I’ve changed my mind,” says Bert, “I’ll go.” Well, I guess we know what his priorities are: “I think you mentioned money.” Jeez. Weren’t Bert and Diana dancing the night before, and now he has to be bribed to go save her? What an ass. Theodore hands him a wad of bills; he looks at it confusedly. “You’ll get the other half when Diana is safe,” says Theodore. Bert stalks off. A fine, noble hero this guy is. I think I’ll root for the monkeys.

After Bert is gone, Theodore chuckles. “You did it, Robert.” Robert is ashamed, as well he should be—for any number of reasons. they’re setting Bert up for something. Pity. And to get out of this scene, we pan over and zoom into another African mask. Is the director also shooting a documentary on African art?

At the bar, Bert sits adown and calls “Whiskey.” Ursula sidles up and says “Two whiskeys.” Wow can she drink. But then to be married to Theodore and in love with Bert, I’m guessing she hasn’t been sober since the Taft Administration. “Watch your step,” she advises him. “You may find it’s dangerous to violate ancient taboos.” Wasn’t this advice she should have given her daughter? “Don’t say anything,” she warns, as Theodore comes over and ushers her away.

Cut to the next day, and Bert, Robert, and several others are on a boat. Boat? But Diana’s hunting party didn’t take a boat anywhere. Where are they going? Bert points out some birds. Was the screenwriter a birdwatching aficionado? Oh, no! Robert is being attacked by a large, furry creature! Oh, wait, that’s just his body hair. Oh, please please please put a shirt on. He tries to shoot a crocodile but misses, and one of the other guys in the boat is struggling to not laugh uproariously. I guess it’s good for the indigenous fauna that the hunters in this movie couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. Oh, no! Robert is rubbing water all over his body. I haven’t been this ill since The Horrors of Spider Island. Bert eyes a bunch of hippos lasciviously. “I wish it was me in there swimming.” Yeah. Well you know, a childhood obsession with Henrietta Hippo on The New Zoo Revue can recur at the oddest moments...

Soon, they are walking through the woods. “Something’s moving,” says Robert. “A python,” says Bert. (Cue “The Liberty Bell.”) “Don’t kill it,” says Bert as Robert raises his gun. Wow, that’s not a line one hears too often in this movie. Like he could even hit it anyway.

Meanwhile, the Jack Lemmon/M*A*S*H psychiatrist guy pops up from behind a street and looks on. Now wait a minute. How did he follow them without them noticing another boat following them?

They all continue through the woods. It takes rather a while. Cool music though. Sounds vaguely like The Residents’ “Six Things to a Cycle.”

Someone yells out, “The sacred monkey! The sacred monkey!” And we pan up to a chimpanzee in a treetop. That’s the sacred monkey? Don’t let these guys watch BJ and the Bear. (God, I’m old.) But wait: “I don’t mean the chimpanzee.” What then? No, don’t tell us or anything.

They walk on and come across their campsite from the previous evening. “It’s just as I left it,” says Robert. So the maid didn’t come by to tidy up? I guess not; even the dead guy is still there. Funny; I would have thought there would be any number of creatures in the jungle that would take care of a dead body on the ground. I guess the local fauna are all on a hunger strike or something.

Secretly watching them is a very scantily clad female figure sitting in a tree. I’m guessing this is Eve, the Wild Woman? She kind of looks like a composite of the two women who were Dawn in Tony Orlando & Dawn. (God, I’m old.)

“All right, step on it,” shouts Robert. Um, what exactly? “Take that body down the hill and bury it.” That goes over well with the locals. “No! Taboo! Taboo!” “Don’t be stupid! Do what you’re told,” admonishes Robert. It’s amazing he’s never been murdered in his sleep. You know you’re being a dink when Bert is the voice of sensitivity and understanding. “There’s no reason to act like that,” says Bert. “You’ve been getting worse and worse since we left the boat. What’s wrong with you kid?” Kid? He’s like 45. “I’m getting worried about you.” Robert has some issues, probably stemming from the fact that he’s setting Bert up to be killed. Psychological depth? Nuance? In this movie? Oh, I don’t think so.

Meanwhile, Eve looks on. And the Jack Lemmon/psychiatrist guy camps nearby...

In the woods, Robert and Turk confront each other. Robert insists he delivered his part of the bargain (Bert) and demands to have his sister back. They nearly come to blows.

Here’s what I don’t get (among other things). If Turk (or Albert, whom Turk is working for) wanted Bert, why not just go into Nairobi and capture him? Sure, they screwed up the first time, but he’s just one guy. Surly enough hired goons—or the gorillas—could get him eventually. Why concoct a needlessly complicated kidnapping plot, talk/bribe him into going to rescue her, and then capture him along the way? And then, even once Bert is out in the woods, wait a good long time before going after him? This is like Rube Goldberg planning revenge.

So Turk says, “I’ll let you see your sister when I’ve got Bert. And that won’t be none to easy.” Why? Bert doesn’t have super powers or anything.

Robert stalks off.

Across the camp, Eve slinks around and wanders into Bert’s tent and ogles him while he sleeps. So what would stop Turk from taking him now? Getting people in this movie to do anything is such a chore. Man, it’s Like “Lethargy Island.” As Eve is staring intently at Bert, something startles her and she jumps back (aided by cutting a few frames from the film) and she darts into the jungle.

It is suddenly the next day, and Eve is calling to her chimpanzee. “Hymie!” Hymie? The Jack Lemmon/psychiatrist guy looks on. Everyone is always watching everyone else surreptitiously in this movie. Man, it’s like “Voyeur Island.”

Bert and co. are on the move again. It takes rather a while. No music this time; but lots of loud jungle noises (except for that “ooh ooh ooh, ah ah ah” creature you always hear in jungle movies. Eve and Hymie the chimpanzee follow them and Eve giggles at a lion. You can’t hide your lion eyes. There are random intercuts between Bert’s party, Eve, and random jungle animals. At one point, a leopard shapeshifts into lioness.

Suddenly, the jungle noises abruptly stop. I guess the sound editor’s tape ran out. Bert stops. “Hey,” Bert protests. He needs the sounds of the jungle to relax him, like some people need a white noise machine to sleep. One of the guides says, “When the jungle is quiet, the spirit of death is near.” “We’ll soon see if there are any spirits around here,” says Bert, brandishing a rifle. He’s not clear on the concept. Even the Jack Lemmon/psychiatrist guy is concerned. Who is that guy?

The fuzztone guitar kicks in—Ah, the Ape Theme! Two gorillas leap out of the bushes and jump on the Jack Lemmon/psychiatrist guy. Bert hears the melee and/or the guitar theme, and rushes over. He fires some shots. he hits one gorilla, and the other takes off. Bert rushes over. “Ugly beast,” he says looking at the dead gorilla. Hey, you’re no prize yourself, pal. He asks of the Jack Lemmon/psychiatrist guy is OK. He is, but he’s not happy about it. “Thanks. Now we’re even.”

Bert asks what he wants. “My name is Forrester,” he says. “And I’m working with Interpol.” Oh, really? I especially liked Turn on the Bright Lights, but all three albums are pretty good. So why is he out there following Bert? Is that the Heinrich Maneuver? “I’m investigating your robbery.” He explains that he is looking for Albert, adding, “She was all right ’cause the sea was so airtight, she broke away.” The Interpol guy gives some more back story about the robbery we saw before the title sequence: “When you were in the hospital, you were delirious for weeks.” Only weeks? “From what you said, we were able to reconstruct the crime.” What’s to reconstruct? Three guys robbed a Jeep, and one partner shot the other two. It wasn’t exactly the Brinks job. Says the Interpol guy, “We only let you go so you would lead us to Albert Muller,” and then adds, “How are things on the West Coast? I hear you’re moving real fine. You wear those shoes like a dove.”

The Interpol guy explains that they are looking for Albert because they think he is experimenting on “conditioned brain reflexes in certain kinds of animals. The results could be disastrous.” Or just plain silly. It’s a fine line. Bert, of course, has his priorities. “What do I get out of it if I help you?” Once again: our hero, ladies and gentlemen. The Interpol guy promises him some kind of reward, like maybe their live EP. Bert is still eager to settle his score with Albert. “I won’t save him,” says the Interpol guy. But, I thought...weren’t you trying to...oh, never mind.

They come back across Robert, who has been attacked by the gorillas. “It wasn’t part of the plan,” says Bert, and he admits that he was wise to the fact that the whole thing was a set up. Oh, come on: this guy isn’t that smart. “Who put you up to this: Diana?” Yes, that’s right: the girl who was kidnapped. OK, yes, he really isn’t that smart. Robert admits that Albert was the one who kidnapped Diana—and Robert admits that Albert is working on...something. “Even my father put money into it.” There’s a prospectus I’d like to see. But, before he can say anything more, he is shot by Turk standing in a nearby tree. He also takes out a few of the natives who were charging out of the woods at him.

Bert and the Interpol guy sneak away, but are captured by a local tribe and are tied to a stick and carried away. Yes! Meanwhile, Eve looks on with concern.

Turk reconnoiters with Albert and has to admit that the plan has gone wrong, that Bert was captured by a local tribe of Hakawi or something (is this F Troop all of a sudden?). Albert says, “I had everything planned to the letter. It was perfect.” Um, no, it really wasn’t. “It was the gorillas that ruined the plan,” says Turk. It was beauty killed the beast! No, actually, I think the blame goes all the way up to the top on this one. “What went wrong? What?” asks Albert, ignoring everything Turk has just said. Some evil genius. They take off. “We have work to do,” says Albert. I bet.

Meanwhile, Bert and the Interpol guy are untied. “Why are they untying us?” Bert explains, “They’re savages. They expect us to run for our lives.” Ah. So...they then run for their lives. They charge down into a ditch and the tribe stands up top hurling spears at them,. Naturally, they all miss. No one can hit anything with any weapon in this movie. I think they need an optometrist. Man, it’s like “Myopia Island.”

Bert stabs a native with his own spear and takes off into the woods, ditching the Interpol guy. He comes to a stream by a waterfall, takes his shirt off and goes for a swim. Ugh. This takes rather a while. Cool music, though.

He is startled to see that, placed on top of his shirt over on a rock, are two bunches of bananas and a flower. Hymie the chimpanzee makes fun of him. He swims over and has a banana. Across the lake, he spies Eve, and we zoom into his banana-filled open mouth. Thanks for the chew’n’show, movie. “Hey,” he yells through a mouthful of banana. Our hero! He charges over towards her, and she flees. One could hardly blame her. She’s gone, and he returns to the bananas. She then returns to the rock across the stream. She smiles at him. What the heck is going on? He lights a cigarette and they stare at each other. He throws the cigarette in the stream, and the littering doesn’t seem to bother her.

The apes’ fuzztone theme kicks in, and, sure enough, one of the gorillas comes out of the woods right behind Bert. Eve starts yelling something in Junglese at it, and we zoom in on the stitches behind the gorilla’s ear and hear loud static. Huh? I think the gorilla’s now picking up AM radio. Bert spins around, draws a knife, and stabs the gorilla. Eve seems cool with this. Bert sneaks off, finds a cave, lights a fire, and goes to sleep.

Meanwhile, Ursula Undress is getting out of a bathtub. She dons a robe and pads into her bedroom, where Theodore is sitting, waiting for her. “I hope I’m not bothering you, sweetie,” he says, although you get the sense that he’d prefer it if he were bothering her. He caught her as she was packing, about to skip town. They fight; Theodore thinks she was planning to run off with Bert. She admits that living in the African jungle wasn’t the high life she had been led to believe it was. “For years you promised to take me away from this hellhole—Paris, London, Rome.” Not Schuylerville?

Now Theodore really turns on the charm. “You think you can just pack a bag and go?” Well, that was the idea. “Everything you own is mine!” You can’t walk out on me, I’m Charles Foster Kane! Well, maybe not... And he proceeds to give her a beating, which makes him even more loathsome than he had been before, which is quite something. “You’d like me to let you go, wouldn’t you?” Well, yes! Of course!

She dashes to the dresser and pulls out a gun. “Come any closer, you’ll get exactly what you deserve: bullet in the gut.” That gut? Better use at least a few rounds, or maybe a bazooka. “You’re revolting to me. I just can’t bear to have you touch me.” She does have a point. “Oh, calm down, Ursula. You know it’s just because I love you that I’m jealous.” Sorry, pal; you lost any sympathy when you beat the crap out of her. I vote for the bullet in the gut. He insists that thanks to Albert’s invention, which he helped finance, they’re going to be rich. Uh, I wouldn’t count those chickens just yet... He then snatches the gun away from her. Damn. He then starts kissing her madly, and thankfully we cut away to some burnt embers.

Eve is skulking about Bert’s sleeping body. He leaps to his feet, and knocks her to the ground. Whoa—she’s got nothing on under her long black hair. She is a wild woman. “That’s more like it, woman,” he says. Ugh. Well, this movie ratcheted up the loathsomeness in the past 10 minutes. He tells her he is not going to hurt her. They smile at each other. “Are you the sacred monkey?” he asks her. What? Where did that come from? Is he bananas? He attempts to communicate with her, but it doesn’t work. “I’ll call you Eve,” he says. Sure, why not? He then finds Diana’s bracelet on her. Once again, the accessories pay off in this movie. He tries to persuade her to take him to Diana.

In Albert’s lair, a radio-controlled gorilla wanders past cages of prisoners. It opens Diana’s cage and escorts her to Albert. “You monster! You maniac!” she shouts. Albert chuckles. “You think I’m a monster?” Actually, I thought she meant that the gorilla was the monster and Albert was the maniac, but if the shoe fits... Albert then has to repeat his order to the gorilla three times before it obeys. He then introduces Diana to the gorilla, which he calls Malik. Sure, why not?. “Just like a robot. It always obeys.” Well, it takes three tries, but eventually it obeys. The gorilla is the culmination of all his theories. Which are, what exactly?

Here’s the part where the mad scientist explains his plan and how everything works so at some point he can be easily thwarted. He leads Diana up to a large luminous brain on the wall. “This brain is the nerve center that controls all the apes.” He then shows her the transmitter, and probably where the instruction manual is. “Their will ceases. It puts them at my command.” Yeah. “They’re my pets. I’ve managed to eliminate their savage ways.” No, you haven’t. You’ve just harnessed them for your own ends. He then demands obedience from her, or she’ll end up in the cage with the other women he plans to experiment on.

“I can take control of all humanity with this invention. I’ll be rich and powerful. All of you will do as I say!” Huh? That’s his big plan—to implant radio receivers in everyone on earth? What was the population in 1968, 2 billion or something like that? That’s a lot of operations, and I’m guessing some folks will be trying to stop him once he gets beyond the five people who live in his jungle village. You know, it’s one thing to develop a technology, but very often you need a strategic partner to effectively deploy it. Then again, this clown would have been a natural during the dot-com boom.

On the wall, the brain throbs. I know how it feels. There are either intruders, or the cave has a migraine. It could go either way at this point. Albert sends Turk (who has been pretty quiet during all of the foregoing) out to see who it is. Albert puts Diana back in her cage.

Outside, Bert and Eve look quizzically around. Eve leads him toward Albert’s cave. Albert has a loudspeaker system set up, and announces, “Bert. I’ve been waiting for you.” He then explains how he had Theodore send him into the jungle. Albert says that he had been afraid that the native tribe had foiled his plans, “But you were too smart for them. You’re an excellent specimen of the human race.” No, he most certainly is not! “That’s why I chose you for my first experiment on a human being.” Oh, is that all? OK, that’s sounds fine. I say go for it. “Ha ha ha! You’ll have the honor of being the first man to become my slave!” You know, the evil is one thing, but the gloating is really just the worst. Albert eggs Bert on as Bert makes his way through the cave. Albert really is a bit too pleased with himself, and for no good reason.

Bert takes a while to wander through the cave. Cool music though. Turk jumps out at him. “I keep bumping into you everywhere I go. It must be fate,” says Turk. Um, no, it’s your boss who brought him there. Weren’t you listening to the PA system, or anything else Albert had said throughout this movie? Then the PA cuts in again. “Bring him here, Turk!” That startles Turk, and gives Bert the opportunity to run away. Turk starts shooting at him.

Meanwhile, one of the gorillas meets up with Eve, who calls the ape “Loomba.” There is some static from the radio receiver, then Loomba captures her and brings her into the cave.

Inside, Turk is looking for Bert, while Albert is being a pain in the tuchis over the PA system. Turk sees a boot sticking out from behind a rock, and thinks he has him. However, it is just the boot, and Bert is actually hiding behind him. He slugs Turk and Turk goes down. “Now I’m gonna kill ya,” says Bert.

OK, get this: the rifle is on the ground some distance from Turk, but not far from Bert. Turk sees the rifle, but scrambles in the other direction. Bert makes no move to get the rifle, but grabs Turk and throws him over toward the rifle, where Turk can easily pick it up. An excellent human specimen, eh? But Turk can’t seem to fire it and gives Bert ample time to slug him some more. Somehow, Turk has a knife all of a sudden, but it doesn’t matter because Bert manages to knock him to the ground and disarm him anyway. Does anyone actually know how to use a weapon in this movie? While on the ground, Turk grabs a rock, unseen by Bert who is the one pinning him to the ground, and clouts Bert in the thick boot with it. They struggle some more, and ultimately Turk is strangled by his own rifle.

Back a Albert’s, Loomba brings a screaming Eve in, and Albert is pleased to have the sacred monkey captured by one of her subjects. Albert gloats to a woman who speaks no English that he now controls all the gorillas. Um...yeah. On the wall, the brain throbs some more and Albert sends the gorilla out to attend to whoever it is. He then gets back on the PA system and tries to cajole Bert into obeying him. Man, this guy has control issues. Albert tells Bert that Eve and Diana are his prisoners, and their life depends on Bert obeying. “You wouldn’t want their deaths on your conscience.” Well, with Bert, it really depends how much money is involved. Albert gives Bert 10 minutes or he turns the women over to the gorillas, “and there won’t be much left for you. The gorillas are getting excited.” I thought he had removed all savagery from then, unless he’s ordering them to get excited about killing women. Albert keeps droning on and on... He’s worse than the gorillas.

At that point, Theodore and Ursula show up and insist that Diana be released. He is also pissed that Robert was killed. Albert suddenly has a headache. So do I. Theodore orders him to open Diana’s cell. And he does. Theodore takes him to task, but then Ursula points a gun at Theodore, and lets Albert disarm him. “Surprise, Theodore. I wasn’t going to escape with Bert but with him.” Six of one, half dozen of another really. “Albert promised to take me away from this horrible country.” She then shoots Theodore. Let the cast-thinning begin! Diana is upset that her father was killed, and Ursula then yells at Diana: “I hate you! I hate you! It’s all your fault I could never get away!” She is about to clout Diana with the butt of the rifle, but Eve leaps out and stops her. They wrestle. Albert chuckles. Albert then shoots Ursula. “I’ve been hunting the sacred monkey for a year, and I don’t intend to lose her now. When I want something, I take it, and I keep it forever.” Jeez.

There is another gunshot. It’s Bert, one of the only characters left alive. “Not this time, Albert.” Albert commends Bert on his punctuality. “But I haven’t lost the game yet.” Neither the excellent human specimen nor Diana who is looking right at him notice the two gorillas lumbering up behind him. The gorillas grab Bert. Diana tells Bert to shoot the brain on the wall. While the gorillas hold him, he shoots the red light—but I thought that was just the visitor alarm. Whatever it is, the result is that the monkeys all clutch their heads, and all the equipment bursts into flame. Cover me though the fire indeed. Pretty touchy stuff. Eve then takes control of the gorillas, and Albert chews the scenery big time. “I’m your master!” he cries, and runs down a cavern. Two gorillas catch him and carry him off. You get the sense that there won’t be much left. The rest of the equipment goes up in smoke.

Outside, Bert and Diana bid Eve farewell, although now they call her Eva. And the payoff? Diana gives Eve(a) her bracelet. Yes! The accessory motif pays off. And Bert and Diana sail off, as Eve(a) ambles back into the jungle with Hymie the chimpanzee.

The end.

Hey, what happened to the Interpol guy? I wanted to quote some more lyrics.

I have decided to take a tip from the evil genius in the movie and overthink and overplan everything I do. So here’s my plan. The next time I want to have a pizza delivered, instead of just calling up and ordering one, here is what I will do. I will have my animal henchmen (there are no gorillas here in Saratoga, so I will have to make do with what I have; thus, my army of radio-controlled squirrels) carry off the daughter of the pizza shop. I will then have my hired human goon (well, an intern, a local student who wants to learn graphic design—I get a fair number of resumes) persuade one of the pizza shop’s delivery guys to rescue his boss’ daughter by leading an expedition (complete with large, pepperoni pizza) into the labyrinth of Geyser Crest. Then, I will have my squirrel army attack, and carry the pizza back to me. It’s perfect! What could possibly go wrong?

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