Starring: Jason Beghe, John Pankow, Kate McNeil, Joyce Van Patten, Christine Forrest, Stephen Root
Director: George A. Romero
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Shout! Factory
Release Date: November 18, 2014
Run Time: 113 minutes
Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars
It’s funny certain things can trigger different memories. I remember seeing the box to “Monkey Shines” in the horror isle of my local mom and pop video store. Who can say no to a toy monkey with a knife, right? The film is also directed by horror legend George A. Romero (Night Of The Living Dead). Real monkeys were used in film, which really adds to the suspense in the film. This even has a few well known faces including Stephen Root (Office Space) and Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games) popping up in it. The film is still effective and even though it runs near two hours, it holds up today.
Official Premise: Allan Mann (Jason Beghe) is a bitter, angry and vengeful man ever since an accident left him paralyzed from the neck down. He’s fed up with himself and everyone around him. All that changes when he’s given Ella, a monkey trained to meet his every need. But when Ella begins anticipating Allan’s thoughts, strange and deadly things start happening. And as she stalks and wreaks havoc on Allan’s fair-weather girlfriend (Janine Turner), incompetent doctor and meddling mother, Allan realizes he must stop the cunning maniacal creature…before she fully takes over his mind!
Scream Factory definitely delivered a solid Blu-ray presentation. The 1080p transfer is definitely awesome. The film is quite dark but the transfer really works and looks great. The last time I believe I saw this was on VHS, so I guess anything is an improvement. The DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo also doesn’t disappoint. The score is fantastic and that monkey screeches are ear piercing.
The special features are equally as awesome. There is a brand new audio commentary with Writer/Director George A. Romero. “An Experiment In Fear – The Making of “Monkey Shines” is a brand new retrospective that runs over 45 minutes and features interviews with George A. Romero, actors Jason Beghe, John Pankow and Kate McNeil, Executive Producer Peter Grunwald, Special Make-Up Effects Creator Tom Savini, Special Make-Up Effects Assistants Greg Nicotero and Everett Burrell and Editor Pasquale Buba. There are some vintage extras including Behind-the-Scenes Footage and “Making of Monkey Shines” with additional interview clips. Lastly there is an Alternate Ending, Deleted Scenes, Trailers & TV Spot and Still Gallery included.