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.
Monkey Shines (sometimes called Monkey Shines: An Experiment in Fear) is a 1988 American horror film written and directed by George A. Romero, based on a novel of the same name authored by Michael Stewart. Starring are Jason Beghe, John Pankow, Kate McNeil, Joyce Van Patten, Christine Forrest, Stephen Root, Stanley Tucci, Janine Turner, William Newman and Patricia Tallman.
Allan Mann (Jason Beghe) is an athlete who is rendered quadriplegic when struck by a truck. Mann fails to adjust to his condition, becoming suicidal and despondent. When Geoffrey, a scientist friend of his (John Pankow), who has been experimenting with the injection of human brain tissue into monkeys, learns this, he is prompted to supply one of the experimental monkeys, named “Ella” (played by Boo, whose vocal effects are provided by Frank Welker), to Allan as a helper.
Their relationship is amicable at first, with Mann’s life being made much easier, and the two bond deeply, even sharing poignant moments with moving music. But soon their interaction takes a decidedly sinister turn. The monkey seems to become a telepathic receptacle for Mann’s anger at his state and his desire for revenge against friends and family for slights both real and imagined. Simultaneously, Mann develops a romantic relationship with Melanie Parker (Kate McNeil), a specialist in quadriplegia and helper monkeys.
Ella’s protectiveness turns to savage jealousy, even as Allan is informed that his condition may be reversible. First, she kills Allan’s former girlfriend Linda Aikman (Janine Turner), who is now in a relationship with his former doctor John Wiseman (Stanley Tucci), by setting their romantic hideaway on fire. Ella then kills Allan’s jealous, overbearing mother Dorothy (Joyce Van Patten), by electrocuting her in the bathtub. Ella then kills Geoffrey by injecting him with
Monkey Shines (1988)
Directed by: George A. Romero
Starring: Jason Beghe, John Pankow, Kate McNeil, Joyce Van Patten, Christine Forrest, Stephen Root, Stanley Tucci, Janine Turner, William Newman, Patricia Tallman
Screenplay by: George A. Romero
Production Design by: Cletus Anderson
Cinematography by: James A. Contner
Film Editing by: Pasquale Buba
Costume Design by: Barbara Anderson
Set Decoration by: Diana Stoughton
Art Direction by: James C. Feng, J. Mark Harrington
Music by: David Shire
Distributed by: Orion Pictures
Release Date: July 29, 1988