George Romero is considered a legend. Even if he hadn’t made another film, The Night of the Living Dead would have been enough to cement him in film history. Though many folks think the film was in some ways really more a collaborative effort (with someone’s name having to be put as director and George Romero lucked in pulling the “long straw”), Romero has shown signs of some really great story telling in other films. Dark Discussions takes a look at one of his lesser known films, 1988’s Monkey Shines.
When a medalist runner gets hit by a flatbed truck, he is left as a quadriplegic. Having essentially lost movement in all of his limbs and body, he is relegated to a wheelchair. With the help of a friend, he is given a small trained monkey as a service animal which can in many ways provide him with relief with things that normally would be too hard for him to accomplish. But as the days and weeks pass, the monkey’s personality seems to change and its behavior begins to become erratic.
Released by Orion Pictures in 1988, the film was supposed to be one of their blockbusters that would turn a struggling studio around. That didn’t happen, but what we are left with is a curious horror film that in many ways mixes dramatic moments with midnight movie hysterics. The film, a contest choice by our social media followers, is critiqued and discussed by your co-hosts.