Spanish Planet of the Apes (Was a Hoax)
In 1974 20th Century Fox re-released all five “Planet of the Apes” films to theaters with a marketing campaign that urged viewers to “GO APE!” And go ape they did — including a few crafty producers overseas. Seeing dollar signs (or yen or peseta signs), a handful of enterprising filmmakers tried their own hand at monkey business, fashioning local takes on the material. We’ve covered one or two of them before.
Even so, audiences who went to see “Revenge from Planet Ape” at drive-ins in the late 1970s must have been especially disappointed. Ads promised they would “see apes rise from their graves to destroy man!” The prologue recounted a “civilization of super-intelligent apes” that was massacred by mankind thousands of years ago. And then there was the title, which reinforced the awesome promises of — in no particular order — planet(s), revenge, from, and apes. Especially apes.
But there’s not one damn dirty ape in the film.
It turns out there’s no such movie as “Revenge from Planet Ape.”
What drive-in audiences were actually watching (when not making out in the back seat, as was federally mandated for at least one third of a movie’s runtime) was the 1971 Spanish zombie flick “Tombs of the Blind Dead.” Upon seeing how the folks at 20th Century Fox were making money hand over paw with their “Planet of the Apes” franchise, some wily B-movie distributors cobbled together an opening sequence which attempted to pass off the film’s mud-colored undead Templar knights [!] as simians and slapped it on the front of the film:
Apart from a couple of cuts the movie is otherwise completely unchanged, presumably leaving the audience wondering when the heck those zombies would go away so the apes can finally land their spaceships and do some revenging.
You can read more at the marvelously detailed Planet of the Apes Wiki.
Know of another movie that was re-titled after its release to cash in on a popular Hollywood film? Post it in the comments!