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Monkey Shines (1988)

R  |   |  Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi  |  29 July 1988 (USA)
6.2
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 7,215 users  
Reviews: 61 user | 55 critic

A quadriplegic man has a trained monkey help him with his paralysis, until the little monkey begins to develop feelings, and rage, against its new master.

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Title: Monkey Shines (1988)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Kate McNeil ...
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Christine Forrest ...
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Boo ...
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William Newman ...
Tudi Wiggins ...
Tom Quinn ...
Chuck Baker ...
Ambulance Driver
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Party Guest
David Early ...
Anesthetist
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Storyline

When Allan becomes a quadriplegic he loses all hope for living until he meets Ella - a monkey trained to fetch and carry for him around the house, obeying him in all things. But Ella is part of another experiment, and when she starts responding to Allan's underlying rage and frustration she has the ability to carry our her master's darkest wishes. Written by David Carroll <davidc@atom.ansto.gov.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil... See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 July 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Monkey Shines: An Experiment in Fear  »

Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$5,344,577 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the first film role for Stephen Root, then a stage actor. According to Root, he had been instructed by his agent not to let the casting directors know that he was inexperienced with film as an actor. Root's official debut was Crocodile Dundee II (1988), which had been released in theaters a month before this film, despite being shot a month after it. See more »

Goofs

Ella urinates on Allan as a sign of mating, but it's actually the male capuchin who urinates on it's mate. This would suggest that Ella is in fact a male capuchin. See more »

Quotes

Geoffrey Fisher: You're a clinical cunt.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Malcolm in the Middle: Monkey (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

The Glory of Love
Written by Billy Hill
Performed by Peggy Lee
Courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc.
Under license from Capitol Special Markets
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Monkey Shines (1988)
13 December 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

George Romero does an excellent job of swapping Zombies for Monkeys. This film may sound ridiculous in the most preposterous way. But then again, we now live in a world of Snakes on a Plane and Burning Bright, so this is a little easier to swallow. In its genre, it is one of the best examples, and I'm not just talking about killer animals. I'm also referring to the stalker/obsessive partner/friend genre.

What Romero does brilliantly, is to take a number of characters and the audience on a journey of emotions and self discovery. For example, I started off wanting one of these monkeys. The relationship built up is a genuinely loving one. It's really cute, and this could easily be one of those lifetime inspirational movies. If the monkey wasn't a genetically modified, telepathic, homicidal, psycho monkey. The well trained monkey takes us from tragic victim of experiments, to a loving carer. We get a wonderful cleaning montage, as the monkey helps the friendship expands. The monkey's obsession grows steadily. It starts off with a few temper tantrums and escalates into bananas in the slippers. Soon bananas turn to murder. It's the evolution of all species.

None of this would work if it wasn't for a dramatic human connection. Beghe is a law student/athlete that is paralysed. He goes through acceptance, denial, frustration, which is understandable as his girlfriend leaves him for his doctor (a sleazy Tucci), he gets a patronizing nurse, and then his overbearing mother. It's great to see how the characters react to Beghe's quadriplegia, as it enforces Beghe's later anger. Beghe also does a terrific job of facial acting, which is most important as he can't use his body. In a single look he can convey the embarrassment of his mother having to wash him.

On the surface, this is a story of a monkey being a bitch to a cripple. But look deep down, REAAAAAAALLY deep, and you'll see a social commentary. For a long time, the monkey is the only one that treats Beghe as an equal. It doesn't throw money at his problem, try and cheer him up, nor can the monkey do everything for him.

Romero fills the film with dread, absurdity, and most of all a serious edge that clearly does the film justice. It's easy to mock this film. But the truth is, this could actually happen. Monkeys are creepy and untrustworthy.


7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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