Chris Seaver definitely has some of Lloyd Kaufman’s DNA in him. Only a genetic descendant of Kaufman’s could make a movie that transpires in two eras, crosses three continents, and for the better part of it stars a one-eyed Debbie Rochon, on a budget of about fourteen dollars. With characters that are Nazis, monsters, street fighters, a kung fu master and a teen ape interacting in a movie with a scope so wide, TEEN APE VS. THE MONSTER NAZI APOCALYPSE is the fourteen dollar Troma version of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. And sadly for Spielberg, he hired Harrison Ford for RAIDERS, and not Rochon. (Don’t ask me how Kaufman’s DNA got into Seaver’s gene pool; a lot of gross sexual things happen in Tromaville, and I don’t want to know.)
The film begins in Nazi Germany in 1945 (no it’s not really Germany. That would have cost money, so it’s a park in what looks like New Jersey. But kudos to Seaver for scratching up the screen to give it the retro look of a period piece). Kung fu master Bonejack and his team have travelled from Bonejack Heights to kill Hitler and win the war. Both sides suffer major casualties, leaving Bonejack and the last of his ragtag crew to fight not only Hitler, but his second in command, the leatherbound, over-emoting Evonushka. With Hitler bested, Bonejack find an unconscious Teen Ape, who he and his crew bring back to the U.S. But Evonushka, even minus one eye, has escaped with a vial of Hitler’s blood. As she plans to revive him in 2010, can Bonejack reunite the crew to stop the coming of a Fourth Reich? Will Bonejack have sex with two chubby lesbians? Why does Bangkok look like a residential neighborhood in Jersey? And why giant lobster claws?
You’ll have to watch to get the answers to each. And I advise you watch, as this is the greatest $14 feature I’ve ever seen. I haven’t had this much fun watching a flick in a long time. Seaver’s technique in handling actors was to tell them to bug out their eyes every three seconds, and to overstate every line of dialogue in close up after close up. Rochon is a low budget master, and she owns as Evonushka, constantly grabbing her firm, ample breasts for emphasis. Death Ensemble’s Queen of Queens is on top of her game, and her work here is on level with her best in TERROR FIRMER. Watching Josh Suire as a reincarnated Hitler run around in just his underwear and moustache is funny stuff, and Suire brings that over-the-top charisma the real deal was known for in giving speeches to the nation. Nicola Fiore as Thunder Ambrosia and Billy Garberina as Deathbone play it up as action babe and Thundarr the Barbarian knock-off respectively, Bonejack’s loyal cohorts (and it doesn’t hurt that Fiore is hot as an oven). Behind a cheap gorilla mask, Casey Bowker can’t play it up with the eyes as much, but his voice is straight out of 70s blaxploitation. The cast knows this is a lowbrow endeavor, and plays it that way.
Of special mention is Bonejack himself. Portrayed by Seaver, he’s hysterical, with his Don King wig and Bruce Lee overcoat. His line readings are humorous, especially when he breaks into a tune of “I’m fucking your eye with my finger!” repeatedly. Many will likely find this lowbrow humor not funny, but it had me laughing for the whole flick. Seaver isn’t a great writer, but he knows how to get the most out of an exploitation flick.
Seaver also plays the action for laughs, but there’s plenty of it. The attack in Germany is the first of three large battle scenes that are as ambitious in scale as they are played for laughs. In the second, there’s even a surprise death that forces Bonejack’s group to reconfigure if it hopes to best Hitler a second time. Hitler’s ragtag group, assembled by Evonushka in his absence, act as formidable opponents, even if one’s a chimp man and another is an overweight Russian, and one more is a demon. And don’t even start me on the gay doctor, as the actor channels Andy Dick into the performance.
In the humor I was watching it the other day, TEEN APE VS. THE MONSTER NAZI APOCALYPSE was almost the perfect Tromexploitation flick. Among the few negatives: Debbie Rochon never takes her clothes off. I know I can see her nude in 100 other flicks, but her body is always a thing to delight, even after more than 200 films. This is a special atrocity, because she keeps highlighting her fine breasts by squeezing them. Also, the ending feels a bit rushed. I wasn’t expecting five endings along the lines of RETURN OF THE KING, but it would have been nice to a little bit of closure. But the heroes finish off Hitler in truly Tromatic fashion. You’ve got to see it to believe it.
And I hope you see it. This flick is a lot of fun. It’s a nutzoid approach to plot and action that cost less than a shoestring. Seaver does Hell of Famer Lloyd Kaufman proud, presenting a Teen Ape epic that only someone with the Kaufman DNA could make into a Tromasterpiece.