Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla

Posted by Michael Pinto on Sep 4, 2009 in Cinema, Horror |

Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla

What do you get when you mix up Dracula, a cloned version of the comedy team of Martin & Lewis and a guy in a gorilla suit? Well on this day in 1952 you got the opening of the cult classic comedy film Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla. Frankly poor Bella was always an afterthought, in fact he only spends a few minutes on the screen although it’s his name that has kept the flame going for lovers of camp films all these years later. The film was made at the height of fame of the comedy act of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis — in fact the duo sued to stop the film but failed.

The film stars Duke Mitchell and Sammy Petrillo who were doing their nightclub act when they were introduced to Jack Broder at Realart Pictures Inc. Realart had acquired a backlog of films from Universal Pictures, although they made a few low budget films too. Sadly while Mitchell and Petrillo won their lawsuit, this was the first and last picture that they did together. After the film they tried to go back to their nightclub act, but Jerry Lewis threatened anyone who would book them that he would boycott their nightclub. This closed doors for the duo and they ironically split apart about the same time that Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis also split up.

Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla

The plot of the film is that our cloned comedy duo is on their way to a nightclub in Guam only to find themselves stranded on a mysterious island known to the natives as “Kola Kola”. The natives turn out to be quite kid to our duo, especially the tribal chief’s daughter Nona who tries to help them escape off the island. But it only takes them a matter of time to come across a mad scientist (doesn’t every tropical island have one?) named Dr. Zabor who is played by Bela Lugosi. I don’t want to give away the ending but let’s just say that one of our heroes winds up being turned into a gorilla by a love spurned ex-vampire.

Editor’s Note: If you’re too cheap to buy the DVD of this lost classic you can watch the entire film for free at the Internet Archive on this page…

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