banana-humpers,” or worse. But there is something you can do about this rising tide of anti-ape feeling: Watch some movies with apes in them. Here are five, so you know where to begin.
“Murders in the Rue Morgue”
The famous Poe story “Murders in the Rue Morgue” is considered by many to be the first-ever detective story. The guilty party in the whodunit is a razor-wielding orangutan, and while many movies have been inspired by the story, the only thing most of them retain is the “killer monkey” gimmick. In this early-30s Universal horror classic, we have Bela Lugosi as mad scientist Dr. Mirakle who mixes human and ape blood in order to prove his wacky ideas about human evolution. His super-intelligent ape Erik commits a murder or two, but only at Dr. Mirakle’s behest. Mad scientists are the real enemy here.
“Tarzan the Ape Man”
Here’s an example of the good that apes can do for society: They raised little lord Greystoke into Tarzan, one of the mightiest men to ever swing on a vine. In this film starring Olympic swimmer Johnny Weismuller, Tarzan thwarts a band of elephant poachers and ends up caught in a death match between himself and a giant gorilla. The lesson here is that there are good and bad apes out there, and we have to thank the good ones for Tarzan.
Perhaps the definitive monkey movie, King Kong is a giant gorilla who gets captured from his home on Skull Island by an overzealous showman and taken to New York City in chains. So he does what comes naturally: He goes on a rampage searching for the blonde girl that was used to lure him to the trap. Can the poor ape help that he’s in love?
Kubrick’s sci-fi masterwork has some of the most realistically rendered apes ever. As legend has it, the film lost out on an Academy Award nomination for best make-up because the members of the Academy thought they were real apes! They certainly don’t do anything un-ape-like, just running around screeching and eventually discovering how to use tools that lead to man’s exploration of the stars. Typical day in the life of an ape.