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NOVEMBER 27 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : MONKEY SHINES (1988)
From scaryfilm.blogspot.com

George Romero’s Monkey Shines is a piece of horror gold, and if you haven’t seen this film, you’re missing out on one of the creepiest pieces of film to ever come out on vhs and dvd.

The movie revolves around a newly crippled man. While jogging one morning, Alan Mann is hit by a truck while jogging, causing him to lose use of his limbs. Meanwhile, his doctor starts dating his girl, and he just dips into a deep depression. After his scientist friend discovers Alan trying to kill himself by putting a bag over his head, things start to change. Alan’s friend gets him a trained monkey, to help him with tasks.

Now, if you remember the Simpsons episode where Homer got a monkey, and used him for cheap labor, you’ll immediately understand the capacity of this movie, because it essentially starts out that way. The helper monkey is completely trained and seems to start working out quite well, but like all horror movies, there’s a catch. This monkey was clinically dead at one point, and no one knows! No one except the mad scientist and Alan, who starts to grow accustom to the Monkey’s autonomy.

Meanwhile, back at the lab, the scientist is getting pushed around by none other than the voice of Bill from King of the Hill. Hilarious! Things start going awry, as with all horror films, and Alan is getting really pushy towards his nurse, and starts to love his monkey way too much. Within 45 minutes of this film, nothing horror related happens, and we just have to settle for a lot of build up, but the build up is great, as things have a tendency to go downhill after that period of time.

There is not a lot of gore in this film. There are not a lot jump scenes, and the pacing seemed a little slow. It really turned into a science fiction, mad scientist story, rather than a straightforward slasher or zombie epic, that we are used to seeing from Romero. However, this one is the epitome of a slow burner, you have to really hang on, and try to keep your wits, or else you’ll miss out on the overall tone of this film. The movie is hard to watch at times, because there are a lot of emotional sequences, which really take some getting used to, considering that horror films have a tendency to hit you in the mouth at times.

The film takes a weird turn towards the fourth act, showing a sex scene with a disabled person. That was definitely awkward, and I don’t know if I enjoyed that very much, but I guess that’s a good thing, considering that disabled people can still use their genitalia. I’ll leave it at that.

The monkey starts to kill people off, that’s the crux of the film, and while there is a revenge plot towards the end, it’s too little too late for a lot of fans. However, just like a lot of other man vs. beast stories, the beast gets too smart and turns on man, and we are treated to a really creepy film, a really creepy and grotesque piece of film making.

Monkey Shines was based on a novel, which is out of print right now, but if you have a chance to score one, get it. The book might dive into a lot more medical detail and story than this film, and like Stephen King adaptations, is most likely lackluster by comparison. The movie is tense, but it’s a slow burning, very slow paced intense film. The horror elements come from your thoughts of “what if” rather than relying on scare tactics or gore, which I appreciate greatly from this film.

The final act of this film is the most tense and really provocative in a lot of ways. The film makers and trainers did a great job of juxtaposing real live Monkey's with fake ones, and it never looks out of place and doesn't look fake at all. I have seen a lot of "animal" movies, and there's always that moment of disbelief, but this film really tries hard to break that, and I am impressed with how well this movie ended up portraying trained animals. This movie's monkey is creepy, scary, and an amazing example of how good animal based villains can be. Too bad Hollywood didn't learn their lesson from this film.

If you haven’t seen Monkey Shines on dvd, you gotta check it out at least once. If you’re a fan of Romero, don’t expect his usual gore fest, but expect a very creepy, and I do mean it, creepy piece of film making. I haven’t seen such a creepy film with little gore, since I was deep into reading those darn Goosebumps books. Monkey Shines is a classic example of science fiction, with a touch of horror, but not in the traditional sense.


NOVEMBER 27 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : MONKEY SHINES (1988)
From best-horror-movies.com

Based on the novel by Michael Stewart and filmed on location in Romero's beloved Pittsburgh, Monkey Shines is a decent little thriller for a cold night in on the couch. Quick warning though: the film features caged animal experimentation (though we're not talking documentary here, of course no animals were harmed during the production).

Allan (Jason Beghe) is an athlete. We open with his morning routine: get up, do some in-the-buff stretching, and then go jogging with a backpack full of house bricks. O... kay. Well, the bricks slow him down somewhat because he's wiped out by a truck, and wakes up to be told by a surgeon (Stanley Tucci, who is slimy even when NOT playing slimy characters) that he is now a quadriplegic. Now, for me, being told that would be horrible enough, but George doesn’t stop there.

We watch as Allan's life goes from messed up to REALLY messed up. First, his domineering mother (Joyce van Patten) begins to smother him, bringing into his life an annoying nurse (Christine Forrest) with an equally annoying pet bird. Monkey Shines - The Injured AthleteThen, his girlfriend Linda (Janine Turner) leaves him (presumably she doesn’t think he can quite "do it" for her in the sack now), so Allan decides to opt out by trying to breathe through a plastic bag. Thankfully, he doesn't succeed, and his good buddy, drug addled scientist Geoffrey Fisher (John Pankow) decides to liven up his life by getting him a helper monkey named Ella (played by an extremely bright little Capuchin monkey named Boo). Ella has been trained by Melanie (Kate McNeil), who specializes in providing helper pets to disabled people, so she also sticks around to help Ella and Allan settle in together. However, Geoffrey (unbeknownst to Allan or Melanie) has been injecting Ella with human brain cells in his lab in a misguided attempt to make her smarter. He's also been injecting himself with speed to stay up all night doing monkey research. This is a well-balanced individual we're dealing with here.

At first, all is well. Ella proves more than capable of helping Allan out around the house, you know, fetching stuff, acting as his "hands", to answer the door, phone, etc. He even begins to bond with the crazy little monkey, and who could blame him? She's pretty damn cute, in that fuzzy simian kind of way. Then he begins to have feelings for Melanie and she for him (I guess she's a good old gal who can look past the physical... good on Monkey Shines - the Cute BOO on the shoulder of a fiendish friendher). Things are starting to look up for Allan. Until he begins to have dreams... strange dreams about leaping out of his attic window and scurrying about in the night. It seems all is NOT well. It's got something to do with those human brain cells... Ella has also bonded with Allan psychically. She becomes his physical presence, acting out with animal instinct and aggression all those frustrations Allan has been forced to repress, like his anger over his ex getting it on with his surgeon. Thankfully though, when it comes time for Allan and Melanie to consummate the relationship, Ella is nowhere to be found. (There's a bad "doing it like monkeys" joke there...but I'm gonna steer clear.) Actually, putting my serious face on for a second, I was pleasantly surprised to see a love scene like this, kudos to George (I haven’t read the source novel) for including it, it's handled with dignity and good taste. Unfortunately, this blossoming relationship sparks a jealous rage in little Ella, who decides to take matters into her own tiny monkey paws and wreak some good old fashioned mayhem.

Though not well received critically or financially upon its release, Monkey Shines is one of those low budget, innovative psychological horrors that I can always get into (it helps that I'm a big fan of monkeys) and is very underrated, mainly due to the extremely unfair criticism that Romero "hasn’t done Monkey Shines - No, this isn't the Nazi monkey from Raiders of the Lost Arkanything good since those zombie movies". It takes time to develop the characters, especially the ones that get what's coming to them, so you can fully appreciate it when they, well, get what's coming to them. The acting is not too bad for an 80's horror flick, the standout is John Pankow, and he definitely loses himself in the role. Jason Beghe is just passable as our crippled protagonist, but I gotta cut him some slack as for 90% of the film he can only move his face. The score by David Shire, while not outstanding, serves the film well, especially during the tense moments.

Speaking of tense moments, Romero's skill at building tension, so evident in his seminal Night of the Living Dead (1968) is again on fine display here. Even a jaded horror filmgoer like me found myself gripping the armrest quite a few times, and even squirming with discomfort a couple times as well. Romero's visual style is good, I'm normally irked at "monster's POV" shots, but in this film they just worked. And I really dig the use of the cute little monkey, it playfully toys with your emotions as all good horrors should: even when Ella is menacingly brandishing a scalpel or a syringe and baring her little fangs in a snarl, you just can't help but go "awww, isn't she cute?"


NOVEMBER 27 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : MONKEY SHINES (1988)
From thespinningimage.co.uk

Allan Mann (Jason Beghe) is a college student who today awoke beside his girlfriend Linda (Janine Turner), got up to do his regular exercise routine, went jogging around the neighbourhood, and was promptly knocked over by a passing car when a dog leaped out at him. Now he is a quadriplegic, paralysed from the neck down and his life has gone downhill rapidly, with him seeing little hope for his future. His overbearing mother (Joyce Van Patten) ensures that he has the best assistance available, with his house decked out in the latest paraphernalia, but he's still not happy - so how about a little friend to help him through these dark days?

A little monkey friend that is, in this, the first film George A. Romero directed for a Hollywood studio (his previous films had been independents). Although he had been forced to change the ending (it is said he had envisaged an army of homicidal monkeys for his grand finale), and even then there was a silly shock imposed on him in the last minute or two, the results were nowhere near the disaster that was feared by his fans. Essentially Monkey Shines, adapted by Romero from the novel by Michael Stewart, was an update of those old mad scientist movies of yesteryear, only instead of a man in a gorilla suit that the hero had to contend with, it was an actual monkey.

A very well-trained monkey called Boo essayed the role of the psychopathic simian, a great little actor who was part of a genuine project to assist the disabled. Naturally, none of the animals involved in that went on to form a psychic link with their owners and end up channelling their impotent rages into actual murder, as happens here, and there are not one but two disclaimers, at the beginning and in the end credits, reassuring that it's only a movie, folks, and a monkey wouldn't deliberately slaughter anybody in the manner seen in this. So armed with that information, you can settle into the story that doesn't play quite as absurdly as it sounds - not quite, although there are silly parts.

For a start it's hard to believe that even in the position he is in, Allan would ever have it in him to wish those around him dead, so there's a hurdle that the film never clears. We are also meant to accept that Ella, his monkey, has been injected with a serum made from human brains which has given it a super intellect, for a monkey, that is, which is prone to reverting to its savage side just as Allan is. It's his best friend Geoffrey Fisher (John Pankow) who has developed the serum, and one sign that this is the eighties was that Lionel Atwill or John Carradine never had animal rights activists harrassing them, but as usual with this type of plot, convincing reasons for creating mad science are thin on the ground.

So there are the problems, but it's to Romero's credit, and that of his team, that Monkey Shines turns genuinely suspenseful once it builds up a head of steam. At first the monkey starts small and kills the pet budgie of Allan's grumpy live-in nurse (played by Romero's wife Christine Forrest), but once she moves out and his interfering mother moves in, his previous psychological lift that Ella has provided reverts to his foul moods, so foul that Ella rushes out of the house one night and bumps off Linda and the doctor who she left Allan for. He cannot quite believe what is happening at first, though a psychic link to the creature confirms his worst fears, and the stage is set, after a little too much scene-setting to be honest, for a high quality suspense half hour. Besides, the detail that Romero goes into is very informative about the difficulties quadriplegics face, from getting around to lovemaking (another nurse, played by Kate McNeil, becomes Allan's girlfriend and potential monkey victim), so this can be said to be educational as well, even if losing the power of your limbs is scarier than any knife-wielding primate. Music by David Shire.


NOVEMBER 27 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : MONKEY SHINES (1988)
From classic-horror.com

All great masters must occasionally fall to the Studio Compromise. George A. Romero is no exception. Monkey Shines is his first studio picture that looks like a studio picture. Though well directed, well written, and well performed, there's something missing from it, a dark heart, that would make it leap out like so many other films in the director's filmography.

Allen (Jason Beghe) recently had an accident that has left him a quadriplegic. Then little things in his life start falling apart, as if he didn't have enough trouble. His girlfriend (Janine Turner) leaves him for the surgeon (Stanley Tucci) who saved his life. His nurse is a grade-A bitch. His mother is playing passive-aggressive games with him. Then, his scientist friend Geoffery brings him a present: Ella, a monkey who helps Allen out with everything. What Allen doesn't know, however, is that Ella has been infused with an intelligence-increasing concoction made up of human brain cells. Soon, the limber beast and her master form a symbiotic relationship that grows increasingly more violent and dangerous... especially for anyone who pisses Allen off.

Romero's camera is more than competent, building suspense and playing all the right emotional chords. No single performance is bad...most are actually pretty good, up to and including the monkey. The script (though obviously tampered with by the studio) is fine, though it has a fairly incongruous ending. There's nothing inherently wrong with the film...you just get the feeling that maybe it was made for the money. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I expect more from Romero. It's not a bad scare, though, and worth the price of a rental.


NOVEMBER 27 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : MONKEY SHINES (1988)
From scifiblock.com

In concept, Monkey Shines has all the horrific allure of a film like Child's Play. It is based on something generally viewed as cute but that also has frightening characteristics. It eventually allows that thing to embark on a murder spree. A helpless innocent becomes trapped in the house with this unconventional monster and is forced to endure the horror of such an occasion. This is a sound premise for a sci-fi/horror film. However, in the movie’s execution, writer/director George Romero (working from a source novel by Michael Stewart) does not organize the events in a way that brings focus to the horror of the situation, nor does he effectively highlight the film's message of responsibility in scientific experimentation. Monkey Shines suffers from faulty directing decisions and a confused story.

An impressively fit man named Alan Mann is rendered quadriplegic after being hit by a truck while on a morning jog. Even with the assistance of his wife and a live-in nurse, he cannot shake the depression of being bound to a wheelchair with the ability to move only his head. After Alan attempts to commit suicide, his friend Geoff, a scientist experimenting with injecting human brain fluid into Rhesus Monkeys, smuggles one of his monkeys out of the lab to be trained as a caretaker for his disabled friend. At first, everything is great. Alan gains a bit of freedom, and he also finds a new companion in the monkey, named Ella. Things start to go wrong, though, when Alan's nurse suspects Ella of killing her pet bird and when Alan himself begins experiencing uncharacteristic outbursts of anger. From here, the film slowly descends into a story of a murderous monkey with a brain enhanced to near-human levels. Alan is practically helpless as the malevolent animal is able to freely kill those around him while cutting off the paralyzed man’s ability to fight back.

In theory, the idea of being immovably bound to a wheelchair while a monkey runs around murdering people in your house is horrifying. However, of the three murders that occur in the film (one of these three being a double-murder), none of them occur in front of Alan, and only one of them is made possible by his immobility. Because of this, the film does not present the horror of having to watch such a thing happen while being unable to act. Furthermore, one of the murders does not even take place in Alan’s house, so it farther displaced from the character's immediate surroundings, rendering it less terrifying. On top of that, as Alan is not the target of the monkey’s rage, the film rarely has the opportunity to delve into the horror of not knowing where the main character’s assailant is. There are a few points in which the monkey runs off after other characters, but we are usually shown the location of the animal. The moments that utilize the suspense of not knowing when the threat is going to pop out are rare.

The logic of the film’s science fiction is confounded as well. Monkey Shines is set up, in part, to be a horror moral about irresponsible science. Geoff is only asking for trouble when he brings a Rhesus Monkey to help take care of Alan. He asks for even more trouble when he covers up, ignores, and otherwise passes off warning signs that the monkey is up to something evil. Like Dr. Frankenstein, he sets his creation loose on the world and fails to keep tabs on it. At its core, Monkey Shines follows this most classic of science fiction themes. However, something confusing gets in the way of a final conclusion that Geoff’s irresponsibility is the cause of the deaths. For some reason, the story injects a supernatural phenomenon into the plot. It is never explained how, but soon after Geoff brings Ella to Alan, Alan develops a psychic connection to the monkey. This connection allows him to involuntarily channel the monkey’s emotions and to view the world from the monkey’s eyes in real time during his dreams. This muddles everything. Most importantly, it damages the strength of the responsibility theme by introducing a nonscientific variable into the equation. Since the experimentation doesn't seem to be a possible cause of this phenomenon, maybe Geoff is in no way to blame for the creature's actions. How are we to know?

The psychic connection also mars the film on a practical level. We are never given a hint as to why it happens, so we’re left wondering what the source of the phenomenon is. Does it somehow have something to do with the experiments after all? Did Alan and the monkey just form an incredibly strong bond that resulted in a convergence of minds? Is the monkey possessed? None of these possibilities seem plausible, yet there seem to be no other explanations. Making matters worse, this element of the story is not even necessary. It could have been completely eliminated and the core aspects of the story would have been unchanged. It is an odd distraction from both the theme and the horror.

If there is any director from whom you can always expect an honest, uncompromised effort, it is George Romero. Unfortunately, that does not mean that his movies are invariably good. Such is the case with Monkey Shines. Its beginning moments show promise, and the effort throughout is clearly genuine, but too many aspects of the film are mishandled. Add in a forced resolution to the events, and the movie simply does not work.


NOVEMBER 27 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : MONKEY SHINES (1988)
From movielocity.com

The Movie: Monkey Shines is a horrible "B" movie from the 80's. While there are movies that are worse than this one, Monkey Shines really is unbearable to watch at times. The basic premise is that a strong runner is hit by a car and paralyzed. He only has the use of his body from the neck up. His nurse is incompetent and his good friend who experiments with monkeys decides that he should have one to do some chores. The problem is, his friend, Geoffrey, genetically alters the monkey in hopes that it will get smarter, which it does. Now we're left with a highly intelligent monkey whoe carries out murders for his owner and will do practically anything to protect him. Very stupid plot with very mediocre acting. Apparently the book was actually quite good, but unfortunately the movie stinks.

The Picture: Since there wasn't very much happening in the movie to look at, I concentrated harder on the picture and sound and actually I was surprised by the quality. The color and contrast is crisp and clear and there are no apparent flaws. I wouldn't recommend this DVD because the movie is simply horrible, but for some reason they spent some time on a good transfer of the picture.

The Sound: The sound, as mentioned above in the picture review is actually quite good. The Surround sound, while not Dolby 5.1 is still utilized well throughout the movie and although it is impossible to save the movie, does add a little bit extra to it.

Special Features: Trailer. That's it. A corny trailer.

The Extras: Extras? You mean you're supposed to include extras on DVDs? I guess the good folks at MGM decided that they were going to put a horrible movie on a DVD with NO extras except for a trailer and try and pass it off at $25. This is absolutely absurd. The movie stinks, there's only 1 trailer, and on the back where it lists "special features," it has "Collectable Booklet" (see review of this below) and "Original Theatrical Trailer." No commentary, no featurette, nothing. It's pretty sad that they were able to pass this DVD off at $25 thinking that people would buy it with no special features.

The Insert: A "Collectable Booklet??" I don't think so. All this insert is is a two page booklet with a reproduction of the cover art on the front, and a list of chapters on the back. Open it up, and there's a couple photos from the movie (nothing special) and some information on Capuchin monkeys and other useless information having almost nothing to do with the DVD itself. Useless and definitely not "collectable."

Conclusion: In conclusion, Monkey Shines is a complete waste of not only money, but time. The movie is absurd, horribly acted and not even scary. The fact that MGM tried to pass this off at $25 with nothing but a trailer and 2 page "collectable" booklet is also crazy. MGM has put out some great titles with great features at great prices, but they just missed all three with this lame attempt at a DVD. Skip it.


NOVEMBER 27 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : MONKEY SHINES (1988)
From moviesididntget.com

Much like famous rappers, great horror directors often do their best (or at least most well-received) work right out of the gate, only to spend decades laboring over increasingly diminished returns. Often this critical and/or commercial appraisal is unfair, but it is arguably true that, for example, Nas never again put out an album as good as his debut, Illmatic, or that John Carpenter has never equaled or exceeded his early work of the 1970s and ’80s, though his late-period Masters of Horror film, Cigarette Burns (2005), showed the kind of genius not seen in his films for about a decade up to that point. Tobe Hooper is another filmmaker who never quite lived up to the promise of his brilliant breakthrough feature, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), despite doing some pretty quality follow-up work such as Salem’s Lot (1979) and Poltergeist (1982), though of course producer Steven Spielberg is commonly recognized as the real creative force behind the latter.

George A. Romero is generally considered to be one of these unlucky filmmakers as well, and while it is true that he never topped his chilling debut feature, Night of the Living Dead (1968), there is a worthwhile body of work to examine in later decades, and his 1988 film Monkey Shines is among his best work, along with films like Martin (1976), Creepshow (1982) and, of course, the original Dead trilogy (I haven’t seen his latest, 2009′s Survival of the Dead, but based on the previous two – 2005′s Land of the Dead and 2007′s Diary of the Dead – I feel relatively comfortable relegating the new Dead trilogy to the same scorn-pile as the new Star Wars trilogy).

Monkey Shines is the story of Allan Mann (Jason Beghe), an athlete who is struck down by a semi-truck at the start of the film, rendering him quadriplegic. He is forced to use one of those wheelchairs operated by blowing into a straw in order to get around, and after he hits his lowest point and attempts suicide in his desperation, his friends and family realize they must take drastic measures to help him. His best friend, Geoffrey Fisher (John Pankow), is a speed-freak research scientist doing experimental work to increase intelligence in monkeys by injecting them with a solution of human brain matter (pretty preposterous, but who goes to see a movie about a killer monkey for accurate science?). With the assistance of helper-monkey trainer Melanie Parker (Kate McNeil), little Ella the monkey (Boo is the monkey’s real name, though she lacks any other screen credits) becomes the ultimate helper-monkey for Allan, performing all the tasks he cannot with startling aplomb.

Monkey Shines is a classical Misunderstood Monster movie. Everything seems to be going quite well at first, with Ella showing amazing intelligence in her duties to the point where it seems as though she can read Allan’s mind and act on his subconscious desires. This is when things start to get unsettling, though, when Allan discovers that his former girlfriend, Linda (Janine Turner), is now shacking up with his pompous surgeon, Dr. John Wiseman (a young Stanley Tucci at his sleaziest), who may have actually intentionally left Allan paralyzed in order to get him out of the picture. Since Allan knows this, it isn’t long before Ella does, too, and being a primate with newfound human awareness, she is able to act on this knowledge in ways that the civilized, consequence-aware Allan dares not. Allan begins to have troubling nightmares in which he sees little Ella’s point-of-view as she rampages through the night, doing what is essentially his dirty work for him, and though the source of this telepathic connection is unclear and far-fetched at best, it provides for some exhilarating cinematic moments.

In many ways, Monkey Shines is a classical Misunderstood Monster movie, in the tradition of the great Universal thrillers of the 1930s, such as James Whale’s Frankenstein (1931) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935), or its more obvious predecessor, Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Shoedsack’s King Kong (1933). In fact, Monkey Shines is very much a re-imagining of the Kong story with the gender roles reversed and without the supernatural size element, as Ella only causes mayhem out of her love for Allan, and only directs her violence toward those she sees as a threat to either his happiness and well-being or her own safety. It is unlikely that any viewer who isn’t automatically terrified of monkeys will be frightened by Ella, especially since the little Capuchin monkey is so damn cute, but a great deal of empathy and suspense is created by Allan’s immobile condition, and the tension generated in this way is very effective. There is also a grim sense of humor to the film that is wisely employed at the right moments so as to increase, rather than undercut, the suspense of other sequences (the final shock moment of the film is effective as a “gotcha” moment, but also extremely funny and way too good to spoil here). At almost two hours, it is a bit too long and would undoubtedly have benefited from a bit more trimming of subplots, but Monkey Shines is nonetheless good, unpretentious fun for the Halloween season.

Ezra Stead is the Head Editor for MoviesIDidn’tGet.com. Ezra is also a screenwriter, actor, filmmaker, rapper and poet who has been previously published in print and online, as well as writing, directing and acting in numerous short films and two features. A Minneapolis native, Ezra currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.


NOVEMBER 27 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : MONKEY SHINES (1988)
From fearscene.com

Never piss off a trained monkey . . . these are words to live by.

Monkey Shines begins simply enough. Super jock and super girl live together in their little super world - that is until a big truck rams into super jock and he is left limp and lifeless from the neck down. Then of course, super girl runs off with super doctor . .. don't doctors take some kind of oath like "first do no harm"?

Anyway, things go from bad to worse for super jock a.k.a. Allan Mann (Jason Beghe) when he has to live his life being taken care of by Nurse Maryanne (Christine Forrest) who comes equipped with her own little attack bird named Bogart. Bogart seems to like nothing better than to fly into Allan's face and peck at his eyes.

Allan's friend Geoffrey Fisher (John Pankow) who also happens to be a mad scientist of sorts, gives him a monkey trained by the beautiful Melanie Parker (Kate McNeil) to assist him in every way. Of course, Geoffrey fails to mention that Ella (Boo) the monkey has been part of one of his experiments and is now with Allan as a kind of control setting to see if she will respond better to his genetic serum once away from her monkey siblings (a minor detail, but still would've been helpful to know). Turns out she more than outshines her siblings when left to her own devices.

Strange "accidents" begin to befall anyone who so much as crosses Allan and he is convinced that he has somehow bonded with Ella and she is carrying out his evil wishes. More right than he knows, he sends Ella away with Geoffrey and spends the weekend with Melanie whom he has fallen for quite deeply and who has also fallen for him.

When Allan comes home from his weekend retreat, his Mother (Joyce Van Patten) who has come to stay with him since Nurse Maryann left due to monkey trauma, begins to grate on his very last nerve. As he gets angrier and angrier, Allan begins to sense that Ella is back in the house. The remainder of the film deals with Allan's fight to regain control over Ella and ultimately get on with his life.

Monkey Shines was actually pretty good. I really felt Allan's frustrations at being unable to do the things he once took for granted. And the ending really creeped me out as it demonstrated that even with 5000 years of civilization, the instinct to survive still overrides everything else.

A movie to watch especially if you are a fan of Capuchin monkeys. Boo definitely steals the show!


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