Monday, November 23, 2009

Hell hath no fury like an evil witch scorned

Bride of the Gorilla (1951)
Starring: Raymond Burr, Barbara Payton, Lon Chaney Jr, Tom Conway, and Carol Varga
Director: Curt Siodmak
Rating: Three of Ten Stars

Brutish plantation foreman Barney Chavez (Burr) rejects his Indian lover Larina (Varga) after starting an affair with his boss’s wife, Dina (Payton). After dispatching his boss in a staged accident, Barney gets both the wife and the plantation. Although Police Commissioner Taro (Chaney) suspects from the beginning that the accident was staged, he can’t get enough solid evidence to prove Chavez’s guilt. However, Chavez soon faces justice more severe than the law, as a twist in the plot proves that hell hath no fury like the mother of a woman scorned… particularly a mother who has access to deadly folk-magic.

“Bride of the Gorilla” occupies a space somewhere between an overblown melodrama and a horror film. Unfortunately, its story is a bit too thin and the characters way to stock to allow it to rise above the quality of the most feeble of “Tales from the Crypt”-type chillers. (The ending is also very remincent of those types of stories.)

Given the material they have to work with, the actors all do a respectable job, but the reason one would have for watching “Bride of the Gorilla” would be to admire the classic starlet beauty of Payton and Varga. There really isn’t anything else to recommend the film to modern audiences.