Monkey Shines (1988)

Written & Directed by: George A. Romero


.... Allan Mann
.... Geoffrey Fisher
.... Melanie Parker
.... Dorothy Mann
.... Maryanne Hodges
.... Dean Burbage
.... Dr. John Wiseman

Special Appearance:

.... Linda Aikman

Release Dates: Theatrical: July 29, 1988; Fantasporto Film Festival: February, 1989




Allan Mann (Jason Beghe) goes out for a morning jog only to be traumatised during an accident leaving him paralyzed in a wheelchair unable to move and using his mouth to make his wheelchair move.
His scientist friend Geoffrey Fisher (John Pankow) brings him a pet monkey named Ella to help him around the house but this monkey starts to have a deadly streak and gets into his mind too make him crazy and thinking deadly deeds.


Nice uplifting beginning in the story when our main character Allan Mann is waking up in the morning looking very fit and out for a morning jog which looked beautifully peaceful but of course that changes when a dog lashes out and he then gets struck by a vehicle which of course turns things around for him.
Suddenly we see a surgery done on him and is totally paralyzed for the rest of his life in a wheelchair which isn't a comforting feeling at all as well as a moment when he tries to take his life and so fourth.
Nicely focused moments on a scientist Geoffrey Fisher doing lab experiments on some monkeys and so fourth which looked good and natural.
Some good uplifting moments with Allan having discussions with his girlfriend Melanie Parker as well as the monkey Ella doing all sort of tricks and chores around the house as this looked charmingly cute and got a chuckle out of all of this. Plus a funnier moment when an instructor in a class asks a question and Ella puts up her hand. This was nicely put into the story indeed.
Terrific dysfunctional moments with a bitter caretaker Maryanne Hodges not liking stuff as well as Allan's pet monkey in which I get a feeling that something good isn't going to happen later on.
Then there's a good disturbing moment when Geoffrey sneakily injects Ella with something that isn't good and this monkey goes haywire which to me I knew would bring in the horror to the story while we keep watching as to what goes on.
Suddenly when Allan Mann is in bed helpless and Maryanne's budgie starts biting him which delivers good tension on what to do with this incident but isn't able to do anything. Plus a good moment when he hates that budgie which leaves a creepy impression that something is going to happen to that cute bird.
Perfect tension when Allan is getting bathed by his mother Dorothy and he ends up getting nasty towards her which isn't a nice feeling at all. Definetely draws you in knowing that he is not the same person at all. Plus there's other good moments when he is asleep and a camera rolls in on the monkey doing something murderous and situations like that which was well put into the story.
A very sad moment when Allan tells Geoffrey to take Ella back and this poor monkey gets extremely upset which made me fell sorry for the poor animal as this was well focused on what was going on.
Then more moments with him acting obnxious towards others which shows that this person isn't the same like he used to be as well as his monkey doing the nasty deeds that he thinks about doing which looked cleverly done.
Things become a little deadly with Dorothy when she lashes out at Allan and he says obscene stuff towards her which looked perfectly dysfunctional and I get a feeling with this little monkey ready to do her next deed towards this woman as this leaves a nice impression.
Then the lowdown starts to happen when Allan tries to rescue Melanie from Ella's grasps but doesn't seem to be too successful while in his wheelchair as this was nicely drawn into the story with some intense and powerful moments watching all of this come to life.
There's a happy ending to this flick which seemed impressive as alot of horror films leave a door open to a sequel revealing that the nightmare isn't over yet.
Bottom line is that I nearly rated this movie as above average but just doesn't cut it. I admit it's well done but the story doesn't carry on too strongly. However was based on a novel by Michael Stewart in which there's alot of Stephen King type of influence on all of this.

The acting is very good in which (Allan Mann) does a great job in the beginning of the story acting full of life and exercising showing great energy and enthusiasm. Also offers a nice versatality with his bitter and arrogant attitude like something was taking over his mind and studied this moment extremely well. Also does a nice job with his anxious and fearful attitude when warning others which looked good and hyped up.
(Geoffrey Fisher) strutted his stuff greatly as a scientist and having a bubbly type of attitude as this looked good and natural especially when doing his experiments. Also does well with his interactions. Had the right looks and appeal for this role which was another great plus to his character.
(Melanie Parker) had the nice girl looks as well as being perfectly soft spoken into everything that she did here. I liked her charisma into all that she did and seemed to show off some good characteristics within whatever she did here.
(Dorothy Mann) definetely showed off a good natured motherly attitude with her calm behavior as well as getting into what she had to do within each scene. Also changes that attitude when acting like a basket case or getting aggressive which was well remembered to anyone who saw her in this flick.
(Maryanne Hodges) had a real effective supporting role as a bitter caretaker as she shows a good gruffness into her speaking and acting typical crabby as well as someone who doesn't seem to like anyone. She stood out the most in the cast even if her role wasn't too large.

is revealed full body and butt shot doing some exercises in his home.

David Shire seems to do an impressive job with his orcehstral music in this piece with light composing along with knowing how to do the uplifting music for the cute moments used during the first start of the film. Also does well with the adventureous music later on along with some stick banging and jungle sounds too as all of this seemed to stand out quite nicely.

Maryanne Hodges: You killed my Bogey!
Dorothy Mann: Maryanne, I think you're confused.
Maryanne Hodges: Not with his hands. He had his little demon do it for him.

Geoffrey Fisher: You're a clinical cunt.