6.2/10
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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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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 »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

(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

Spoofed in The Angry Video Game Nerd: Bible Games III (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

There'll Be Another Spring
Written by Peggy Lee and Hubie Wheeler
Performed by Peggy Lee
Courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc.
Under license from Capitol Special Markets
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Overlooked among Romero's filmography.
24 October 2012 | by Hey_SwedenSee all my reviews

While this will likely never be considered one of filmmaker George Romero's best, it still represents a commendable effort in one of his rare forays into studio productions (in this case Orion). Scripted by Romero based on a novel by Michael Stewart, it tells the story of Allan Mann (handsome Jason Beghe), a law student who gets into a horrible accident that renders him a quadriplegic. He soon becomes despondent enough to attempt suicide, but soon he receives some temporary salvation in the form of Ella (Boo), a capuchin monkey who is trained to see to his needs. What he doesn't know is that his friend Geoffrey (John Pankow) has been playing mad scientist and injecting the cute lil' thing with human brain cells. Soon the bond between patient and helper becomes so strong that a mental connection is made, and Ella is physically acting out Allan's worst impulses. So what is he going to do about this little homicidal primate? Romero does a good job here at telling a fairly interesting story, although some viewers might be turned off at the lack of sympathetic characters. Most of them are flawed to some degree or another - creepy dean Burbage (Stephen Root), smarmy, incompetent doctor Wiseman (Stanley Tucci), fair-weather girlfriend Linda (Janine Turner), bitchy nurse Maryanne (Christine Forrest, a.k.a. Mrs. Romero) - and even a guy like Geoffrey, who initially just wants to help, has his problems as he's obsessed with his work. At least Allan has an appealing love interest played by Kate McNeil, whom horror fans will recognize as the lead in the slasher "The House on Sorority Row". The cast is pretty good overall; Joyce Van Patten plays the stereotypically smothering mother to good effect, and it's a treat to see character actors Root and Tucci near the beginnings of their careers, but the one performer the audience is likely to remember is Boo, who's adorable and very well trained; the animal action is first rate throughout (there's also a rather annoying bird on hand). The evolving relationship between Allan and Ella makes for a compelling hook, and it makes one appreciate the real-life efforts that people put into training service animals, and the animals themselves. The film is light on horror - most of the violence is implied - as Romero tends to go for a more psychological approach, and refrains from going for the gore. Overall, this is a decent flick, worth a look for genre fans who are interested in checking out Romero's non-zombie films. Seven out of 10.


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