A medieval reenactment troupe find it increasingly difficult to keep their family-like group together, with pressure from local law enforcement, interest from entertainment agents and a growing sense of delusion from their leader.
Two horror tales based on short stories by Edgar Allan Poe directed by two famous horror directors, George A. Romero and Dario Argento. A greedy wife kills her husband, but not completely. A sleazy reporter adopts a strange black cat.
Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This was George A. Romero's first studio film. However, the studio he was working with, Orion Pictures, had re-cut the film against Romero's wishes which contributed to the box office failure of the film. Afterwards, Romero went back to independent filmmaking until The Dark Half (1993) (also from Orion). See more »
(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 »
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 »
"Monkey Shines" is an honorable effort that doesn't quite work. It deserves credit for originality, but falls short of the mark.
The concept is interesting, but the execution leaves much to be desired. A paralyzed man's life is made easier with the help of Ellie, a monkey trained to help disabled people get by with their daily lives. However, she used to be a lab animal who has had human brain cells injected in experiments. A bond forms between the two, and she acts out his violent desires.
The final act does a good job in delivering the goods, but the film takes too long to get going, diluting the overall effect. In fact, at times one almost forgets it's supposed to be a horror movie. When it gets going, it works, although the very ending is a bit much.
I'm still not sure the sci-fi gimmick was necessary. Surely they could have done pretty much the same things without it? Something more supernaturally orientated perhaps? Still, I admired Romero's willingness to take chances and try his hand at a more subdued thriller. Jason Beghe does a credible job in the role, and we are offered a rare glance at the frustrations of the disabled. A tighter film would have better achieved the director's goals.
**1/2 (out of ****)
An Orion Pictures release
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