Scream Factory continues to showcase their obsession with George A. Romero by releasing another lost treasure from the archives of horror. “Monkey Shines” gets the Blu-ray upgrade and another chance to woo audiences that were either not born or somehow missed out on seeing it all these years. It’s a genre cult classic which earns its title through solid character foundations and excellent pacing.
After an accident leaves him paralyzed from the neck down, Allan Mann (Jason Beghe) is a bitter, angry, and vengeful man. His mother (Joyce Van Patten) is overbearing. A once loyal girlfriend (Janine Turner) turns his back on him. The doctor (Stanley Tucci) he once trusted seems to have ulterior motives when it comes to his well-being and recovery. Everything changes when Allan is given a trained monkey suited to meet his every need. Even if that need possibly leads to tragic accidents which befall those the creature feels threatens its master.
“Monkey Shines” is presented in 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.78:1) with 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo. The video is clean and masterfully restored while not losing any of its original “real” film flavor. The surround sound will have the audience looking over their shoulder for a maniacal primate ready to pounce on them. David Shire’s effective musical score accents the action and tension perfectly.
Loads of bonus material for “Monkey Shines” keeps Scream Factory’s reputation as the Kings of Horror Movie Upgrades safe. Audio commentary is provided by Director / Writer George A. Romero. An all-new featurette entitled “An Experiment in Fear – The Making of ‘Monkey Shines’” is found. It’s made up of interviews with Romero, stars Jason Beghe and Kate McNeil, Executive Producer Peter Grunwald, Special Make-Up Effects Creator Tom Savini, Special Make-Up Effects Assistants Greg Nicotero and Everett Burrell, Editor Pasquale Buba and others. Other special features include an alternate ending, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes footage, a vintage EPK, theatrical trailer, and TV spot.
“Monkey Shines” is rated R for sex and nudity, violence and gore, profanity, alcohol and smoking, and frightening and intense situations. The “F” bomb is dropped quite frequently throughout the movie. There’s a rather detailed sex scene, although I don’t recall any nudity. Watching a monkey maim and kill people could be pretty traumatic for younger (and even some older) viewers I would imagine.
I found “Monkey Shines” to be an entertaining film which establishes its different characters rather quickly without sacrificing substance for scares or gore. It’s a good balance of all the necessary ingredients for a rich psychological thriller. Fans of the movie will be pleased with a great digital transfer and a hefty amount of extras to make the Blu-ray upgrade a worthwhile move.
"Monkey Shines" is available now on Blu-ray.