See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil...
Well, its now Day 2 of Romero Week and I've got another forgotten film from the maestro of zombie mayhem: Monkey Shines (1988).
As Romero's first major studio release Monkey Shines is a bittersweet swig of box office poison that had the unfortunate reputation of being his introductory effort for many non-genre film patrons. This is due in large part to the significant editing of the theatrical release by Orion, who clashed with Romero on more than one occasion (the other being 1993's The Dark Half, an adaptation of Stephen King). Despite this setback the film is still a solid effort on Romero's part, though its far from one of my favorites.
The plot centers on a quadriplegic named Allan (TV veteran Jason Beghe) and his agile assistant, a monkey named Ella who is donated by a mischievous genetic researcher named Jeff. Unbeknownst to both Allan and Ella, however, they have become pawns in Jeff's tangled web of scientific shenanigans. You see the two share a mental bond that grows stronger, not to mention more deadly, as their emotions become fused. Beyond its irrational premise, the film quickly erodes into an uneventful thriller affair. As with yesterday's entry, Bruiser, Monkey Shines is unquestionably a step above the uninspired remakes that currently plague Hollywood's horror halls, but is also an example of how the same system lambasts original ideas.
For more Romero Week features be sure to check out fellow participants: Fright Rags, Day of the Woman, Z For Zombies, and Radiation Scarred Reviews. For a complete list of participants and contest announcements, check out Freddy in Space.