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Monkey Shines (1988)

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.

Director:

George A. Romero

Writers:

Michael Stewart (novel), George A. Romero (screenplay)
7 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jason Beghe ... Allan Mann
John Pankow ... Geoffrey Fisher
Kate McNeil ... Melanie Parker
Joyce Van Patten ... Dorothy Mann
Christine Forrest Christine Forrest ... Maryanne Hodges
Stephen Root ... Dean Burbage
Stanley Tucci ... Dr. John Wiseman
Boo ... Ella
Janine Turner ... Linda Aikman
William Newman ... Doc Williams
Tudi Wiggins Tudi Wiggins ... Esther Fry
Tom Quinn Tom Quinn ... Charlie Cunningham
Chuck Baker Chuck Baker ... Ambulance Driver
Patricia Tallman ... Party Guest
David Early 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 out her master's darkest wishes. Written by David Carroll <davidc@atom.ansto.gov.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the very few films depicting a quadriplegic having sex. See more »

Goofs

(at around 1h 40 mins) Ella urinates on Allan as a sign of mating, but it's actually the male capuchin who urinates on its mate. This would suggest that Ella is in fact a male capuchin. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Allan Mann: [after waking up] Linda? I'm gonna go run.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"Introducing Boo as Ella" See more »

Alternate Versions

Earlier versions of Monkey Shines allegedly contained a bizarre brain surgery scene, as well as several abusive scenes involving the small monkey, Ellie. Although the scenes were all staged and no animals were harmed in the making of the movie, the filmmakers decided it would be better to simply leave them out to avoid conflicts. See more »

Connections

References Star Trek: The Original Series (1966) 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 »

User Reviews

 
Monkey Shines (1988)
13 December 2011 | by SnakesOnAnAfricanPlainSee 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.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 July 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Monkey Shines: An Experiment in Fear See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,902,024, 31 July 1988

Gross USA:

$5,344,577

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,344,577
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Orion Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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