- Rated: R
- Closed captioning available
- Run Time: 1 hours, 55 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: September 28, 1999
- Originally Released: 1988
- Label: MGM (Video & DVD)
Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada) Encoding
Packaging: Keep Case
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen - 1.85
Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33
Behind The Scenes Booklet
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Los Angeles Times - 07/29/1988
"...Shiveringly well-crafted....Romero specializes in the horror of entrapment..."
Allan Mann's (Jason Beghe) life is falling apart. It starts when he goes for an early morning jog, only to be hit by a truck and wake up as a paraplegic. While he's learning to cope with his disability, his girlfriend (Janine Turner) leaves him for his surgeon. Allan becomes even more distraught when he assesses his life, which consists of an overly nurturing mother, an amphetamine-crazed best friend (John Pankow), and a permanent view from a wheelchair. However, things take a turn for the better for Allan when Ella enters his life. She is a capuchin monkey who has been trained to be his hands and help him to adapt to the new limits imposed on his body. Everything seems to be taking a turn for the better until Allan begins having violent dreams from Ella's point of view in which she is doing harm to those close to him. He then begins to fear that she might not be just an everyday helper monkey but also homicidally possessive to boot.
Michael Stewart's 1983 novel vividly comes to life in the able hands of veteran horror helmer George A. Romero. Though the human cast serves the material well, primate aficionados will revel in the bravura performance by Boo, who, as Ella, is undeniably menacing.
After a car accident leaves him a quadriplegic, Allan, an aspiring law student, receives a capuchin monkey that has been made superintelligent through injections of human brain cells and trained to care for human beings. Something goes wrong, however, and the monkey begins to act out Allan's most secret, vengeful thoughts.
- Theatrical release: July 29, 1988.
- Filmed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, beginning July 11, 1987.
- Estimated budget: $7 million.
- Director George A. Romero's original ending was changed to satisfy his backers.
- Traditionally, monkeys that go through the Helping Hands program, such as the one presented in the film, have their teeth removed in case they bite anyone. Boo, who really went through the Helping Hands training, was selected because she still had her teeth, thus appearing more menacing.
- MONKEY SHINES featured one of actor-director Stanley Tucci's first screen appearances.
- Janine Turner later played Maggie on TV's NORTHERN EXPOSURE.