Beasts and Beauties: Cinema’s Golden Age of Gorilla Men, Killer Apes & Missing Links: A Filmography 1908 – 1949 by G.H. Janus
Trade Paperback – Deicide Press – October 2023 – 157 pages
A major horror and fantasy sub-genre of cinema’s first decades was that dealing with rampaging gorillas – either jungle-wild, circus-tamed or trained to serve wicked masters – killer apes, and a range of ape-human hybrids, either evolutionary “missing links” or creatures spawned by medical experimentation and radical surgeries. Inspirations for this genre came from both fantasy-horror literature and the populist cultural trope of gorillas as abductors and ravishers of human females, a fear which arose from early European expeditions into Africa. This idea found its apex expression in RKO’s King Kong (1932) – with Fay Wray as the blonde snatched away by a giant ape – while its unspoken logical conclusion, a grotesque miscegenation of species, was shown in the infamous Ingagi (1931).
Charles Gemora, Ray “Crash” Corrigan, Emil Van Horn and Hollywood’s other delinquent gorilla men – seen in feature films, shorts and serials alike – persisted into the 1940s and only began to slow with the mass advent of colour cinema, marking the period up until 1949 as the golden age of beasts and beauties. This book documents that period with an annotated filmography of informative texts and a stunning array of over 150 rare film stills, many culled from the darkest depths of cine-archives and never published before either in books or online.