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Blu-ray Review: Monkey Shines

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Monkey Shines is released on Blu-Ray, alongside Troll: The Complete Collection and Night of the Creeps, on the 8th of October and we are currently running a competition for you to win all three right here.

I recently began getting in the Halloween spirit by checking out Monkey Shines, which, even though I worship St. George of Romero, was shockingly actually a first-time watch for me. Filling in this Romero-ian gap was a pleasure thanks to the Eureka Blu-Ray which I highly recommend.

Written and directed by Lord George, Monkey Shines centres around a man called Allan (Jason Beghe). Wholesome and sporty he one morning goes for a run with a backpack full of bricks – only to get hit by a truck.

Paralyzed from the neck down, Allan is devastated and devoid of hope. Luckily, he is friends with Geoffrey (John Pankow), a burn-out animal-experimenting scientist. After a shocking suicide attempt, Geoffrey gifts Allan “Ella” a female capuchin monkey trained to assist the disabled but neglects to mention that he has been injecting her with a potion made from frozen flakes of human brain tissue.

The super-lovable simian Mary Poppins is great at doing chores and looking after her master, but she also takes a shine to Allan and becomes fiercely overprotective. The duo begins to develop a sort of rage-fuelled telepathic link and soon anyone who upsets Alan, or gets between him and Ella is in terrifying trouble.

Romero’s set up is swift and sharp and he ratchets the tension and our empathy for Allan and Ella nicely so that when they begin to go ape on Allan’s live-in (s)mother, mean nurse, and the man who stole Allan’s girlfriend after his accident (a delightfully smarmy smooth Stanley Tucci). Our morality is tested by our mental cheering on of the human-ape avengers.

Tom Savini’s effects are obviously great – not just in the bloody moments but also with smart combos of live capuchin and fake monkey arms to make us believe in what Ella can do and worried for how her abilities could easily lean into the murderous and destructive.

If you haven’t seen Monkey Shines this is a fantastic chance to fill that viewing gap and see that when it came to scares and thrills, George A. Romero wasn’t just the King of the Zombies – he was an all-round Master of Horror.

The disc has plenty of bonus material: ‘An Experiment in Fear’: The Making of Monkey Shines, deleted scenes, an alternate ending, a vintage Making Of, behind-the-scenes footage, archival interviews and a news feature and trailers and TV spots, will all keep you entertained long after the monkey business is over; and there are four audio setup options:
DTS-HD MA 5.1 (which is what we listened to), alongside an uncompressed LPCM stereo track, and two commentaries from both Travis Crawford and George A. Romero.

The menus are super vanilla basic – mute with no animation of video montage – which is dull, and the surround sound is a bit quiet, but the picture is a nice clean video encode with no visible picture artefacts.

Film:

Disc:

Monkey Shines is released on Blu-Ray in the UK on the 8th of October.

Available to order from:

Amazon https://amzn.to/2LOWrO8

Zavvi http://po.st/PxvMFC

Also available from Eureka on the 8th of October are Troll: The Complete Collection and Night of the Creeps, and you can enter our competition to win them both – as well as Monkey Shines – in our competition here.

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