director Curt Siodmak
“White people should not like be too long on the jungle.”
Curt Siodmak’s 1951 B-picture Bride of the Gorilla is pretty preposterous, pretty racist, and at the same time, pretty interesting. Possibly I would receive the most dissent over that final adjective.
Curt Siodmak might not be a major name in classic American horror films, but he certainly deserves a spot somewhere in the next tier. Best known for his original script for The Wolf Man (1941) and Donovan’s Brain (1953), he wrote numerous horror and science fiction scripts, mostly of the B-picture variety, and even got around to directing one or two. Bride of the Gorilla is his first.
It stars heavy Raymond Burr as an upstart on a rubber plantation, who sort of kills his boss and marries his boss’s wife, Barbara Payton, toot sweet. Only he’s got an even heavier Lon Chaney, Jr. as the local cop on his tail. And more worrisome, the local native gypsy who throws a curse on him.
What ensues is a psychological horror, in which Burr goes more than native. In fact, he goes full on ape. In his head, at least.
Siodmak churns out a poor man’s Val Lewton type of picture, and not the best of Val Lewton, but still interesting.
I also found it interesting to finally see a Barbara Payton picture. An interesting read on her here at Sunset Gun.