THE PLOT THUS FAR
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.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
“Monkey Shines” was the start of Romero’s earnest removal from the world of the Dead. This film marked his entry into Jekyll and Hyde fare for about a decade and the entries weren’t terrible. The newly recorded commentary track even shows that Romero has a certain fondness for “Monkey Shines”, “The Dark Half” and “Bruiser”. But, he frequently sours on how Orion handled the movie. I’m not sure that we can blame the Constellation themed studio for every poor decision in this movie. I mean, how were they supposed to know that a film about a man and his monkey couldn’t stop the box office powerhouse that would become “Cocktail”? Submitted for your approval is a random etching of a butt on a bathroom wall behind Janine Turner.
“How Did This Get Made” had a podcast for this film right around the point that I got my review copy in the mail. Naturally, I listened to Paul Scheer and his comrades first before watching the movie. I try not to let outside opinion color my view of the film, but you can’t stop seeing certain aspects of the movie after listening to that trio. I hadn’t watched the film for nearly 15 years before I listened to the podcast and I have to say that I blocked out a ton about this film. I forgot all about the quadriplegic oral sex scene, the butt drawing on the wall, Christine Forrest overacting as the nurse and the non explained psionic connection between Ella and Allan Mann. If you think that Romero is going to give up any information about that mental connection or the dynamics of Monkey Vision, you are sadly mistaken.
I’ve included way more screen shots than usual, so everyone can enjoy the visual elements of this film. Whether it’s the terribly fake beard that they slapped on Jason Beghe for about a third of the movie, the bathroom ass decor or the casual trappings of the live of a handicapped man; this film assaults you with visual stimulus. But, there is a point I want to bring up that gets addressed in the commentary for this film. Nobody really had any issue with the film other than the ending. Everyone wanted a Hollywood ending, but the fans and anyone with critical sense. Romero brings up how a few handicapped protestors demonstrated outside of the theaters showing the movie in 1988 Los Angeles.
The protestors hated the fact that a massive life-changing handicap could be undone with last minute surgery. Romero comments at three different times on the commentary that he did his research and this condition could be misdiagnosed in such a way. I believe it’s just a passive aggressive slam on Stanley Tucci’s fake medical abilities. I buy the Tucci as a spinal surgeon, moreso than I buy that Doogie Howser bullshit. If Doogie Howser had worked on Allan, he would’ve been a head on a stick with an even shittier fake beard. If there’s anything I take away from this film, it’s that out of all his movies…Romero refuses to turn into the skid and accept that it’s a trifling turd. I guess he’s saving that apology for something worse.
The Blu-Ray comes with a new commentary with George Romero, an all-new retrospective, alternate ending, deleted scenes, featurettes, promo materials and a trailer as the special features. The A/V Quality continues Scream Factory’s streak of bringing classic horror back to life. The 1080p transfer is flawless. While, the DTS-HD 2.0 master audio track is period appropriate. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase to fans.
RELEASE DATE: 11/18/2014