From writer/director George Romero, the man who unleashed Night of the Living Dead, comes a 'terrific psychological thriller (L.A. Weekly) that delivers a disturbing message about messing with Mother Nature. Starring Jaso... more »n Beghe ( Melrose Place ) and Janine Turner ( Northern Exposure ), this riveting tale is a white-knuckle triumph [that doesn't] let up (Newsweek)! Allan Mann (Beghe) is a bitter, angry and vengeful man ever since an accident left him paralyzed from the neck down. He's fed up with himself and everyone around him. All that changes when he's given Ella, a monkey trained to meet his every need. But when Ella begins anticipating Allan's thoughts, strangeand deadly things start happening. And as she stalks and wreaks havoc on Allan's fair-weather girlfriend (Turner), incompetent doctor and meddling mother, Allan realizes he must stop the cunning maniacal creature...before she takes over his mind!« less
"Yes, fans of George Romero who believe he's only capable of creating zombie/gore films and are looking for cheap thrills will likely be disappointed in this film; others who appreciate razor-sharp suspense, well-defined characters, and the fascinating thin line between man and animal will love this spellbinding thriller. A wheelchair-bound man who is sufffering from depression gets a scientifically altered monkey as a companion and helper...suddenly the man develops a renewed interest in life when the monkey steals his heart. But before long, science has hindered the progression of nature, and the monkey starts acting on its own animal instincts, ensnaring the man in a psychological battle of wills. The final half hour is edge-of-your-seat riveting; Romero did a splendid job balancing the drama and shocks with a fascinating insight in teh relationship between man and beast. "Monkey Shines" is, simply put, a classic suspense film, and most highly recommended for fans of quality cinema."
Alison Friedman | ny | 09/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From a purely animal training perspective this movie is brilliant. Romero did a great job directing these 6, 10 pounds capuchin monkeys to look like 1 monkey did the job. Much harder than Lassie and Flipper.The editing was also very slick. Watch the movie from a technical POV and see if you can find the different monkey faces, bodies and also puppets used in the more intense scenes.I trained them all and was very proud of them."
Show me the monkey!
Staci L. Wilson | USA | 01/29/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Allan Mann (Jason Beghe) had a bright and promising future. He had a beautiful girlfriend. He was physically fit. All of that is taken away from him in the blink of a headlight, when Allan gets run down by a truck and is left a bitter, hopeless quadriplegic. He loses all zest for life until a sprightly Capuchin monkey named Ella (played by Boo) enters his world. She's been trained to do everything for him, but soon she starts to read his mind... And what's in Allan's mind isn't very nice. Still, Ella is determined to fulfill her beloved master's every wish: Allan think, monkey do.
As someone who is not enamored of Romero's zombie flicks, I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. Yes, it's hokey here and there, but it never fails to entertain.
Based upon the novel Monkey-shines, by Michael Stewart.
Staci Layne Wilson "
Good "Scary" Science Fiction with Human Drama
Www.SubjectiveArt.Com | Miami, FL USA | 12/16/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The story is not only scary but has both science fiction and human drama. I think the good acting helps the film not to appear silly as the idea of laboratory experiments on animals cause human to mentally connect to the experimental animals is silly.
Since murder and violence are part of the film, this is not something you can relax with or feel warm afterwards... I still think as a scary science fiction it is well made in terms of story telling, sound and photography effect, and acting.
I am not personally into scary movies because lots of unhappy people appear in them, but I am okay with this one."
One of the forgotten gems of the 80's
Www.SubjectiveArt.Com | 04/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Night of the Living Dead" fanatics will disagree, but in my opinion "Monkey Shines" represents George Romero at the top of his game. (Okay, I love "Creepshow", too.) It is one of the most well-crafted suspense movies I have ever seen. It takes a potentially ludicrous scenario and knocks your socks off with it. A quadriplegic law student named Alan (excellently played by the underrated actor Jason Beghe), develops a psychic bond with his nurse-maid monkey, Ella. Alan understandably has a short temper and no sense of humor about his condition; he's not aware, however, that the confused but well-meaning Ella has been acting upon his violent revenge fantasies. It all comes to a head one dark and stormy night when Ella finally goes over the edge and menaces her master endlessly, despite vain rescue attempts by his pals.
How many ways can a little monkey torment a grown man? Plenty, it turns out, if you can't move like Alan. His claustraphobia and terror are wonderfully and effectively splashed across the screen by both Beghe and Romero's camera. The supporting cast, especially the two actors playing his overbearing mother and his best friend Geoffrey (forgive me, I can't remember their names at the moment), is superb. And if the suspense-packed final 30 minutes of this movie don't give you goosebumps a-plenty, you'd better check your pulse.
A couple flaws:
1. An overly cheesy ending preceded by a lame "final scare" (which I hear was forced upon Romero by the studio).
2. A bizarre sex scene which induces either head-scratching confusion or incredulous laughter.
3. The whole "mad scientist" aspect of the plot: WHY exactly does Geoffrey's intelligence-boosting potion wind up linking Ella to Alan psycically? Not explained.
But these flaws are far from fatal. They can be easily ignored, in favor of the immense enjoyment factor of the movie as a whole. Spooky, suspenseful, and frequently touching, it's a great "popcorn" movie. Bravo, George!"