According to the medical officer (Michael Fox) from Fish and Game, some of the animals in the jungle have been acting different than normal but they don’t know why. Jungle Jim (Johnny Weissmuller) remembers seeing a baby elephant acting strangely. He decides to find it and see if he can find out what is causing the lethargy in the animals.
While searching he runs across a tribe of nomad hunters. One of the nomads, Shari (Carol Thurston), tries to capture Jim’s pet monkey, Tamba. Jim warns her and her fiancé, Ramada (Burt Wenland) to leave Tamba alone. Shari’s brother Mahara (Paul Marion) is the leader of the clan. Jim warns him about them being so close to the territory where a half man, half ape lives. The locals call him the Killer Ape (Max Palmer).
Jim then sees a group of white hunters near the canyon where the killer ape lives. He himself had a run in with the ape man and knows how dangerous he is. The hunters are being led by Andrews (Nestor Paiva). He warns Andrews, who is arrogant and dismisses Jim’s warning. Jim notices that the animals the white hunters have are basically unconscious. Jim decides to keep an eye on things.
The Ape Man enters their camp and trashes everything. Andrews tries to shoot him but bullets have no effect. With all their animals gone Andrews talks to Mahara about getting more. When questioned, Andrews tells them that there is no such thing as a killer ape man. Mahara decides to see for himself and ventures out into the jungle to find Jungle Jim. Mahara is killed by the ape man and Jim is blamed. Tamba rescues Jim from the nomads. Shari goes after Jim and runs into the ape man. Jim saves her. Now the ape man has taken a fancy to Shari and eventually kidnaps her.
Ramada brings the animals they have to Andrews but when Andrews refuses to tell him what they do with the animals Ramada decides not to sell them. Andrews, however, isn’t taking no for an answer. Andrews turns out to be a mad scientist trying to develop a drug that will make animals incapacitated. In humans it will take away their will thus providing a chemical weapon that makes people slaves. Jim must find a way to rescue Shari, Ramada and his men as well as thwart Andrews and the ape man.
“Jungle Jim: Killer Ape” was released in 1953 and was directed by Spencer G. Bennet. It is a jungle adventure film and the 12th of 16 Jungle Jim movies starring Johnny Weissmuller.
The baby dinosaur that the elder shows Shari is a California alligator lizard. Stock footage includes a fight between a monitor lizard and a black mongoose, a crocodile roundup and a monkey stampede, which was used in a previous Jungle Jim movie. I’m not sure but it may have also been in a previous “Tarzan” movie as well. Tamba drives a truck into a tree. Everybody laughs.
The Killer Ape was played by Max Palmer. Palmer was an American actor and a professional wrestler. The movie was filmed at Corriganville. Palmer owned the ranch at the time. Crash Corrigan plays Norley, one of Andrews’ henchmen.
The film was ridiculous enough to be a lot of fun.
In 1939 Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O’Sullivan starred in “Tarzan Finds a Son”. To capitalize on the popularity of the Tarzan films an entrepreneur brought to America six Rhesus monkeys. The “couples” were marooned on an island near Silver River in Florida as a tourist attraction. The businessman, Colonel Tooey, didn’t realize that Rhesus monkeys can swim. Some 80 plus years later a population of at least 1,000 monkeys has spread over various parts of Florida. Despite their population the monkeys don’t seem to have an adverse impact on the state’s ecosystem.