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228 Ratings

Monkey Shines

Directed by George A. Romero
United States, 1988
Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi


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.

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Monkey Shines Directed by George A. Romero

Critics reviews

If you’re a fan of monkey actors, you’re in luck—Ella is not only adorable, but is incredibly emotive for a monkey actor (reminiscent of the equally great horror film primate acting in Dario Argento’s Phenomena). The concept may seem silly, but Romero and Ella pull it off with style and real scares.
June 21, 2017
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You’ve got to get through a few layers of foam rubber before you reach what’s good (or better than good) about George Romero’s new feature. There’s a series of obstacles—cultural, corporate, ideological, stylistic, aesthetic, commercial—standing in the way of what the movie is doing at its best; they may not count for much in the long run, but it’s better to be forewarned and forearmed.
July 29, 1988
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What are people saying?

  • Samuel T.'s rating of the film Monkey Shines

    I watched this maybe half a dozen times as a kid in the late 80's. More humans attempting to help and please themselves, aided by science and technology, with grim results (80's rule). It drags, and, while I'd really like to know more about what nurse Maryanne does on the side... it's an iteration of dark ravenous human impulse. War for the Planet of the Apes? Good luck holding down your sublet...

  • Henri de Corinth's rating of the film Monkey Shines

    I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would. It's Fatal Attraction with a monkey instead of Glenn Close (with a dash of chemically-induced telepathy and Poe's Rue Morgue). This was Romero's first studio film, and despite the obvious larger budget it's very economical in its construction; it never feels overproduced. The sunny photography and color schemes are nice too.

  • Daniel S.'s rating of the film Monkey Shines

    Another variation about humanity by George A. Romero. What defines Man is the question. Highly recommended.

  • Francisco R.'s rating of the film Monkey Shines

    Despite the producers' meddling with the final product, this is a wonderful story about repressed anger and the animal spirit in all of us, with Romero concocting fascinating ideas into the story and crafting an spectacular, 30+ min final sequence that is incredibly suspenseful. The epilogue was a corporate addendum and should be ignored though, since it kills the momentum and atmosphere of the last minutes.

  • bernardovazdecastro's rating of the film Monkey Shines

    Since "White Dog" i never saw a devenire animal so well constructed. The female monkey (and that's important, because being a female it became like alter-ego creating a sexual tension, or a passional motif if you prefer, in the crimes) in is dreams [the man's dream] established the possibility of revenge and that is the point that men can be hysterical (creating a new paradigm in freud's theory).

  • adina's rating of the film Monkey Shines

    ok so when i was a kid my dad and me watched this movie and the scene with the monkey popping out of the back during the surgery has haunted my dreams since. my dad couldn't remember the movie at all whenever i'd talk about it and i FINALLY FOUND IT bwahahhaha

  • Ondřej Halíř's rating of the film Monkey Shines

    Čekal jsem lehce górovou vyvražďovačku a místo toho se mi dostalo lehce komediální drama skloubené chytře a citelně s psychologickým thrillerem. Ve kterém se v hlavním hrdinovi který je uvržen na kolečkové křeslo s ochrnutím, probouzí skrze opičku která mu má pomáhat. Opravdu jsem nečekal že dostanu něco kde první hodinu uvidím líbezné drama o smutném životě hlavní postavy a na konci se rozjede takový kolotoč. TOP

  • Rocco's rating of the film Monkey Shines

    This initially feels like it’s going to be a straightforward thriller with a unique concept, but soon introduces a creaky monkey mind-meld angle that quickly rockets it into silly B-movie territory. Still, Monkey Shines’ myriad quirks, Beghe’s howler of a performance, and its adorably evil primate leading lady make it an undeniable charmer and one of the weirdest studio horror efforts of the 80s.

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