review by Diablo Joe
A crazed, killer ape. A young, beautiful blond heroine. A big—no, THE Big City. It's a win-win cinema formula. Tried. True. Throw in some gory murders, nubile ladies, and a crazed, rapping Bill Weedon, and f-me, that isn't a recipe for success at excess.
Psycho Ape is a wild, splashy, colorful gross-out of a film. Filled with more pop-culture references than a Tarantino dialogue scene, it's made by people who love movies and everything that makes them fun. And fun this film is. Director Addison Binek, co-writer Greg Deliso, and Co. obviously love the Troma team's schlock horror indulgences. But they're smart enough and genuinely talented enough to create their own style and sense of humor without just aping Lloyd Kaufman.
Banana violence is at a premium. Blood gushes, eyes are impaled, and skulls are crushed. There's the requisite titillation as a lesbian bathtub tryst pays both homage to A Nightmare on Elm Street and forever changes the way you will ever think of rubber duckies again. The music is jazzy and swingin', and the colors look like some rave kid vomited over the whole damn thing (and that's a compliment!).
The story may span decades, but Psycho Ape clocks in at barely over an hour. Sure, that hour is padded with ad-lib asides and ridiculous monologues, but damn, are they laugh out loud fun to sit through! Practically every cinematic simian reference from King Kong to Christian Slater (What? No love for Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp???? For shame!) is doled out throughout the film. Once we move to the urban jungle of Times Square, everything from Taxi Driver to Harry Nillson becomes Chiquita fodder.
The cast seems to be having a blast, and they just drag us down with them into the depravity and ridiculousness. Kansas Bowling is endearingly earnest and sweet as Nancy Banana, an ingénue with jungle Stockholm Syndrome. Stephen Albers gives our Psycho Ape loads of character and pathos, emoting through the most insanely threadbare gorilla suit (HEY! Where was our Mad Magazine's Don Martin reference???–I'm gonna have to started deducting points here!). There are two hilarious newscasters who could get me back to watching the news, even in 2020, and the entire rest of the ensemble are an a-peeling bunch of lunatics and oddballs. Of course, Bill Weeden brings wild-eyed zoologist Dr. ZOOmis to gleeful life (and life again, as ZOOmis's resilience would be the envy of Jason Voorhees!). He and Bowling have a great rapport.
By the time the inevitable conclusion is reached, with its harrowing military reenactments and feats of aerial darings-do, we've fallen in love with Nancy, given our baboon-hearts to Psycho Ape, and cheer as the two repeatedly give Dr. ZOOmis the slip!
This devil of a reviewer gives Psycho Ape 4 out of 5 imps
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