Saturday, 3 November 2012

Monkey Shines (1988)

"I don't expect to find sin in a urine sample."
Adopt me, please?
At a glance:
Horror maestro George Romero's first commercial film Monkey Shines: An Experiment in Fear is a grippin horror movie about a recently-disabled young athlete (Jason Beghe) who gets a capuchin from his scientist friend (John Pankow from TV's Mad About You) who thought it might be a good idea to get him out of suicidal depression, especially since the man's girlfriend (Janine Turner) is bein stolen by the very surgeon who saved his life (Stanley Tucci). The curveball here is that both monkey and man start developin a shared consciousness. The menacin monkey, Ella, begins to act out his master's repressed thoughts of impotent anger and bitterness. Turn up the music score and let the good times roll!
Bad news on the doorstep:
6 out of 10 quadriplegics
attempt suicide at some point.
Overbearing mum = bad.
Sexy nurse girlfriend = good.
Adapted off Michael Stewart's 1983 book of the same name, this was probably regarded as a B-movie in the day, especially when you read that the now-defunct Orion Pictures had to rape a new happy endin into it (against Romero's wishes) and it still bombed at the cinemas. Somethin like a 5 million gross against a 7 million budget? Man hated the studio experience so much, he's said to have gone back to indie ways for a few years until The Dark Half (1993). In any case, today the film has left a much more positive legacy, since I caught it at a Romero retrospective at TIFF. Thanks to April Snellings of Rue Morgue for sendin me.
Perennial wonderment:
A touchin movie but I'd like to know if quadriplegics were as annoyed with the happy endin as alleged by some forum comments I read.
Reminds me of:
Link (1986), Outbreak (1995), Shakma (1990).
I can't remember if I cried:
My wife kept shriekin and jumpin off her seat. Her cousin kept both hands around her ears throughout. It was a great night out, short of meetin Romero himself, who was in town but not presentin for tonight.
Most memorable line:
Old Orion Pictures movie still scan.
"Oh I got 5000 years of civilised behaviour bred into me. Well what if wasn't so civilised anymore? What if I was an animal? Free to follow my instincts. That's what the devil is Jeff, it's instinct. Animal instinct lives in us all. Lives by its own set of laws. Laws of the jungle."
Watch out for:
Quadriplegic sex with Kate McNeil. Nice. Sorta reminds me of Breaking The Waves (1996).
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
In a movie that is so well crafted, you'd have to think hard about where it fell short. I guess lead actor Beghe was caught hammin it up in parts. Also, sparin several minutes of its 113 minutes to document the precise sci-fi connection between monkey and man could've elevated its endurance. Nevertheless, this is a nigh timeless piece of intense work that deserves every revisit.★★★★
Bonus material:
quadriplegic sex
An important early scene to establish the virility of the protagonist:
Jason Beghe doing calisthenics nude and then grabbing Janine Turner's arse.

GEORGE ROMERO animal monkey sex MONKEY SHINE 1988 Janine Turner bestiality
PARAKEET SEXGEORGE ROMERO animal monkey sex MONKEY SHINE 1988 Janine Turner bestiality