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GEORGE A. ROMERO DIRECTS JASON BEGHE IN 'MONKEY SHINES'

year: 1988 rating: ***1/2
George A. Romero trades in sinewy for suspense, zombies for a really smart monkey who, after being excessively injected by a powerful drug, and used as an aide for a quadriplegic man, takes to the streets and kills whoever his master, in his subconscious, wants dead.

Jason Beghe’s extremely bogus beard (grown after the accident) aside, the muscular actor plays the part of a bed-ridden victim decently enough; but it’s Boo, as the spunky monkey Ella, that steals the show.

Indie poster for Monkey Shines
Scenes involving the monkey-eye-view of the frantic romps through the suburbs to finish anyone that made Beghe’s life uncomfortable – including a cheating girlfriend, a seedy doctor (whom she's cheating with), a vicious parakeet and a smothering mother – provide fun and involving fare, as does the initial setup as the monkey takes to the contained setting… the house where the bed-ridden patient resides… to learn how to become an assistant, and our hero realizes the Monkey’s up to no good, and there could have been a lot more grizzly deaths before the tables turn...

Meanwhile John Pankow's subplot, as the friendly but ultimately devious young (semi-mad) scientist continuously inoculating Ella, is an essential device, plus he's a good actor: but eventually his selfish triads deviates from the mainline story, too quickly veering into the “We must stop the antagonist at all costs” territory, making the final act a drawn-out (yet still rushed) battle between man and monkey when the best scenes were in the buildup. Yet despite the flaws, Romero provides a creepy setting that works  throughout.
Spooky cool font for MONKEY SHINES
Janine Turner is gorgeous in MONKEY SHINES
Janine Turner is gorgeous in MONKEY SHINES
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