Monkey Shines (1988)

Genre: Thriller, Horror

Cast: Jason Beghe, Stanley Tucci, John Pankow

Synopsis: A young man is involved in a terrible accident with a bus and a pile of bricks. After becoming a quadriplegic he gets a helper monkey who turns out to be a jealous and psychic serial killer mistress. Yes I did just write that. It’s Fatal Attraction with a monkey.

There were many things that I thought I would never see in my lifetime: a monkey knife fight, the sexualization of a primate, a surprisingly graphic quadriplegic sex scene to name a few. Thanks to Monkey Shines though I get to tick all of those things off my ‘must see’ list. Monkey Shines is, quite frankly, one of the most bizarre movies I’ve ever watched. I’m not quite sure how George A. Romero really came up with the concept but I suspect that he watched Fatal Attraction and then The Shining after a hit of LSD or after ingesting an insane amount of mushrooms. A monkey. A God damn psychic serial killer monkey. There are not enough letters in the English language, or any language for that matter, to accurately sum up how awesome that idea is.

This movie contained a lot of surprises, some nice and some not so nice. For instance, I had no idea Stanley Tucci was in it. Something else I didn’t know but could have gone without knowing: Stanley Tucci is ripped! Another surprise: the lead actor who plays the quadriplegic was quite cute. Something I could have gone without seeing: a lady sitting on his face. The constant barrage of unexpected twists and turns really kept me engrossed in the plot development, for better or for worse. I can confidently say there was never a dull moment in this movie and it’s quite a nifty little horror picture that is greatly underrated. It’s a must watch for fans of the horror genre and is probably entertaining enough for those who are indifferent to the genre as a whole

Of course, Monkey Shines is not perfect. The movie has a tendency to come across as very low budget and many of the pitfalls that come with a low budget movie are noticeable here: mediocre acting, poor special effects, lack of character depth or development but those things don’t really matter if you get lost in the enthusiasm as I did. There was also a lot of science in the movie, all of which was clearly made up. I’m not sure how injecting shaved human brain into a monkey is supposed to make it smarter but, then again, I never really studied much science beyond a high school level. For all I know there could be experiments like this going on. One thing’s for sure though: I will never get a monkey on the NHS after watching this movie and after that woman got her face torn off because her friend gave her monkey Xanax. Surely that’s just common sense though.


  • The opening was hilariously low budget…just a lot of red and a picture of a monkey.
  • The first few minutes plays out like a really bad porn movie which is hysterical. Lots of ass and swinging dick.
  • The quadriplegic sex scene was simultaneously the best and worst sex scene I have ever seen in a movie.


  • People who are grossed out by surgery and needles might want to proceed with caution.
  • Surprisingly anti-woman. Most of the female characters are either: whores, jealous spinsters, or overbearing mothers.
  • It was actually quite sad to realize this is how quadriplegics have to live their life. It’s an awful situation to be in.


A good start to 2013! Nothing kicks off the New Year like an awesomely crappy B-movie and this definitely satisfied. Monkey Shines is a good choice for all strains and preferences because it’s an exciting and engaging horror movie that requires little thought or depth. It’s also a strong option for a movie to watch with friends. Hopefully I can find more movies like this to review for the upcoming year. Happy New Year and I wish 2013 proves to be more spectacular than the infected hemorrhoid that was 2012!!!




Filed under Great, Horror, Thriller

9 responses to “Monkey Shines (1988)

  1. Great review! I recorded this movie ages ago and keep thinking that I should watch it as I’m such a huge fan of Romero’s zombie movies. I really want to watch it now – it sounds totally bonkers! 🙂

  2. This is my favorite psychic monkey movie… cool review, I forgot about this movie

  3. I need to see this!! Dario Argento’s PHENOMENA has a super-intelligent (not sure about psychic) chimp that is blind Donald Pleasance’s lab assistant. That’s my current favourite primate flick, but this could knock that off the pedestal

  4. Pingback: Mulholland Drive (1996) | bakedmoviereviews

  5. Pingback: Mulholland Drive (1996) | bakedmoviereviews

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