Monkey Shines

Monkey Shines

monkey from monkey shines

Just before the holiday season (yes, of course we’re talking about Halloween), let’s revisit a George Romero 80’s classic about a man and his monkey. This isn’t the first time we’ve tackled the tricky subject of primal rage, but it’s definitely one of the most memorable. Most surprisingly, we couldn’t believe how well this film held up today. There are interesting things going on here, and we tackled nearly all of them. Enjoy!

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Monkey Shines (1988)

Episode 314, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw

Craig: Hello and welcome to another episode of Two Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Craig.

Todd: And I’m Todd.

Craig: Well, Todd and I have kind of been taking turns going back and forth who gets to pick the movie each week and uh, Todd is a little bit more meticulous about it. He puts up Poles on our Patreon and scans through our, uh, reviews.

And I’m more of a, just kinda whatever pops into my head kind of. And this week the movie that popped into my head was 1988’s Monkey Shines, directed by George Romero. 

Todd: We’ve been talking about doing this for a while. Yeah, 

Craig: that’s the thing. I don’t know what made me think about doing it now, but we have talked about it a couple times.

It’s come up in conversation and honestly, it just popped into my mind and I looked around to see if it was easily available. And it is, um, as of the recording of this episode, it is available to watch for free with ads on Tuby. And so I thought we’d give it a shot and, and I think. Mainly the reason that I wanted to do it is because I have fond memories of it, but I couldn’t really even pinpoint why I, I couldn’t remember why I liked it.

I just remembered liking it and it had been a really long time since I’d seen it, so I wanted to revisit it. Frankly, I didn’t even realize that this was a Romero 

Todd: film. Yeah. I forgot too. A hundred percent. 

Craig: Yeah. And it’s, you know, I think of Romero when I think of The Living Dead, but the truth is he’s done other stuff.

In fact, this movie, it didn’t remind me of, but it gave me shades. Didn’t we do a movie of his about a vampire? Uh, was it Martin or something like that? Martin, yeah. Was that Romero? 

Todd: It was good too. And it was Romero. You’re 

Craig: right. It was good. And I think that it too was sit in set in, uh, Pittsburgh. Isn’t that where this movie 

Todd: is set?

Mm-hmm. . Yeah, cuz I think he actually lives near there, so he tries to set his movies. In Pittsburgh, . 

Craig: and uh, like I said, the two movies are really not alike. Um, this was Romero’s second, like big studio film, second after Creepshow 2, and I think that it would be his last one for a while because he was a little bit disenchanted with the process.

Not necessarily so. The making of the film, which it seems like he had a lot of freedom on. But, uh, the editing, uh, of the film, the studio kind of came in and did some cuts that he wasn’t thrilled with. Uh, and so I think that after this, he kind of went back to doing independent stuff. But this is an interesting movie, uh, because it does feel like it’s got a budget.

It didn’t have a huge budget. Budget, I think like $7 million or something, which is more money than I’ll ever see. But as far as, you know, film budgets are concerned, not enormous, but it looks good. It looks sharp and clean and pretty mainstream. And I don’t know, I just, Huh, going back and watching it again.

I still really liked it and yeah, I, I don’t think that I’m in a minority necessarily, but for whatever reason it didn’t do well at the box office. But I think that subsequently it kind of made a name for itself in the home video release. Um, and there were some critics, not your favorite critic, but some critics who thought that it was actually.

Kind of smart and interesting and tackled some interesting issues. Uh, and, and I agree. Plus there’s a really cute monkey in it.

Todd: We talked about this movie I think a little bit before because we did another movie that came out the same year that also involves a monkey. Oh, please, please tell 

Craig: me. 

Todd: Primal Rage. , Yes. 

Craig: Primal Rage, which I, I really was so reminded of in, in this movie. Right? Because eventually main character gets the

Todd: There’s a lot actually between the two films. That’s surprisingly similar, but I guess it’s because if you’re, if you’ve devoted your time to making a movie about, um, an experimental monkey that kind of influences or kind of makes things go awry, you know, you’re gonna, you’re gonna have a lot of similarities.

There’s not a lot of different ways you can go. And I think even what we did, Primal Rage, we talked about how there was, around this time in the late eighties, this 1988 primal rage came out at the same year. So, I mean, certainly they were made around the same time. I can’t imagine. It’s gotta be a bit of a fluke.

Like I can’t imagine there were spies from one set going over trying to figure what the others were doing. Right. But I think, what was it, Project X. Which is about experimental monkeys and gorillas who were, um, enlisted by the military to fly planes into like suicide kamikazi type missions. And that started Matthew Br, Matthew Brodrick.

And it seemed like that was a sad movie. Gorillas in the midst. I, in the midst I think was around this time. I mean, there was just a whole, probably a bit of a like resurgence of fascination with monkeys and experimental. It’s easy to comment on nature and man, you know. Yeah. We kind of go to our evolutionary cousins, you know, and, uh, talk about them and you know, who’s the real, who’s the real primate, you know, that kind of thing.

Right. And, and so, uh, it’s ripe for that. And this movie delves into a little bit of that territory as well. Like primal rage. Like primal rage. I felt quite a bit of sympathy for the monkey in this movie. Really. Oh my, absolutely. I kind of fell in love with this little monkey too, and it adds a nice element to it.

I mean, the monkey goes bad, Right. 

Craig: But, but like I, I read some critics, uh, said this too, like, you fall in love with the monkey and even though the monkey ends up doing very bad things, ultimately the monkey is a victim too. Yes. And I, I think that the, uh, I, I think that there’s commentary here as there is in primal rage and these other things about when man tries to play God and mm-hmm.

and, uh, you know, the consequences of that and, and that, uh, it really can be detrimental to all involved in this case, including this cute little capuchin monkey. Yeah. 

Todd: And you know what, I’ve gotta say right off the bat, this movie was smarter than I remembered it being. Yeah. I think I watched it years after it came out, like on video or something, and high school maybe.

And I remembered. Being maybe even a little bored by the end of it. This time around, I was not bored, and I just saw layers and layers of subtext and really interesting things that Romero was doing with the story, with the characters, with the acting, and. God, really great footage of that monkey. I mean, that monkey Yeah.

Steals the show as an actor and just, you know, Romero does that. It’s so crazy from day one with Night of the Living Dead, most everything I’ve seen of his, he works hard. He’s, he’s got an agenda almost every single time. He wants his art to say something. I think he makes these movies that you could call exploitation films that are gory and that, you know, appeal to the horror crowd of like guts and blood and kind of crazy action and things like that.

But beneath it all, and what sets it apart from a lot of his copycats at the time and since is that he’s actually saying stuff here. He has clear messages that are coming through. I think quite skillful filmmaking and, you know, we talked about this with Martin about how Martin is this like kind of this relatively deep character study of this mm-hmm.

sort of vampire type guy. And we were both really moved by it, you know, and we’re like, how does, how has this movie kind of been so forgotten? Is this cuz it’s like this seventies almost Art house flick that Yeah. You have to have the patience for sitting down and watching a character study type movie. I feel like this movie kind of rode the line.

It does move a little slow even though it’s always moving forward. It never stops, I think, and just dwells in boring shit. But there are layers here that are fun to see and fun to unpack. And you’re like, the movie also had these weird things that just had me guessing the entire time and trying to make sense of, of it because it seems very straightforward.

and then it takes a few weird turns, and then it almost seems to veer a little bit into the supernatural. And then it almost seems to kind of pop into a little bit of magical realism at some point. Uh, what I’m talking about specifically is there are moments in this movie where the monkey and the guy that he bonds with the guy opens his mouth and is talking, or is saying things, and he’s got, he has monkey teeth.

Like, and I’m like, Where’s that coming from? Is, is he literally growing sort of canines up from both his jaw and the top of his head or, But then it goes away and I’m like, Okay. You know, like, Oh, okay. I mean, it’s not literally happening. This is like an impressionistic thing that I don’t know. You know, like how odd in this relatively mainstream, straightforward movie about man and his bunk that you get these little.

Things that make you kind of step up and go, Wait a second, what’s going on? 

Craig: Well, and and that particular detail is never addressed. Like never kidding it. We see it and it happens multiple times, but it’s unavoidable. Nobody. Talks about it, like it, it’s never mentioned. It just, we see it, it happens, but it’s never mentioned.

Yeah. It’s 

Todd: almost like sort of a like David lynching type thing, you know, where he just throws in this thing that I don’t think is meant to be taken literally, I don’t think. I’m not sure we’re literally 

Craig: supposed to, except, well, except for one time he bites his lip and it bleeds and it bleeds. I mean, I guess anybody could bite their own lip and make it bleed, but like they make a point of showing that it’s one of those canines or in sizes or whatever it is.

True. Um, but, but it’s also subtle enough that it had me questioning like, are his teeth always like that ? Right? Like, am I only noticing now because he’s kind of snarling subtly, like mm-hmm. , I don’t know. It, it was subtle but noticeable and, and yeah, definitely. Interesting. You know, and you, you talked. You know how the monkey really is, uh, a major star of the movie?

Definitely. Is it, It’s supposed to be a female monkey, but it was played primarily by a male monkey, which I guess is rare as they talk about in the movie. Male monkeys are typically more aggressive in territorial, and so pee 

Todd: every, all over, everything right to 

Craig: mark their territory. And so usually in filmmaking and as is the case in this movie where they are training, um, these monkeys to be service animals, which I guess is really a thing, Uh, I didn’t know that.

I mean, it makes sense. I mean, primates are, are intelligent. It makes sense. I, I think that, uh, I don’t know about capuchin monkeys. I mean, this one’s dangerous, but I don’t know how threatening they are in real life. But, um, it was. primarily by one monkey. They also had, uh, several, uh, live monkey doubles, and then there were a few puppets, one of which was animatronic, that were designed by Tom Sini.

Hmm. You know, is, is one of the most famous effects, uh, coordinators and designers in the industry. 

Todd: Still is longtime collaborator with George Romero as well. Yep. 

Craig: Yeah, the monkey does look great, and I guess post production on this took significantly longer than post production usually took for Romero because he shot more footage than he had ever shot before, because he wanted to make sure that he got all of the footage that he wanted to make.

You know, the monkey stuff look convincing and it, it does, 

Todd: it’s super convincing. Uhhuh , this might be the best of the Monkey Monkey movies I’ve ever seen. You know, when you, But I think that it 

Craig: rides a really fine line too. There are moments when the monkey is scary and menacing, but. It, you know, seconds after it’s kind of snarling, then you see it again.

And it’s, it’s so cute. Like, Yeah. Ugh. Even though it’s bad, you just kind of wanna snuggle it. But it’s, it’s, it’s adorable. And, and the jokes write themselves. I mean, it’s, you know, it’s, it’s the classic story of, uh, you know, a love story between a man and his monkey and, um, . Then, you know, he, he starts to get a little bit too, you know, obsessed with his monkey.

So he decides that he probably better settle down with his favorite monkey handler, but his monkey has other plans, so, 

Todd: I’m actually 

Craig: impressed that it took me that long to get to the monkey jokes. . 

Todd: Are we gonna talk about embedding the monkey? I mean, how are we, how far are we gonna go with this ? No. Um, I’m really impressed with the fact that it gets off with male nudity.

Like right off the bat I was like, Wow, this is definitely a Romero picture, yet he’s going mainstream and he doesn’t even seem to know it. It, it jumps right into the action, which is 

Craig: perfect. Well, there’s a disclaimer first that you know it, that basically just says, you know, there really is this place that trains these monkeys.

And don’t 

Todd: worry, this shit doesn’t actually happen. 

Craig: and, and, and, you know, we took the greatest of care and no monkeys were harmed, which I think it’s important to put out there. Yeah. You know? Right. You know, one would assume, hopefully, that in a mainstream film like this that there would be precautions taken because these are living animals.

You gotta be careful. So there’s, there’s a disclaimer. . And then there’s a really cool, it’s so simple, but a really cool title sequence with just like these kind of reverse negative red, uh, images of the monkey’s face. And then the title, Super, super simple, but I just thought it was really cool. Yeah. And then, yeah, it jumps, it jumps right in the, the main character’s name is Alan played by a guy named Jason, Big, b e g h e.

Mm-hmm. . He’s done stuff, mostly television. He’s still working in television. If he, if, if you’ve ever seen a show that has the word Chicago in it, he’s in it . Um,

but he’s this really good looking guy, super good looking, and he is an athlete and he wakes up in bed with his beautiful girlfriend, Linda. Um, and then, yeah, he, he tells her he is going for a run and then he stretches naked. And that was nice. Good looking guy. 

Todd: It is. And I was thinking, oh my God. Like George, you know, like he’s just trying to like subvert.

But, but actually it’s kind of important. It’s really important they show this. His physique is nice. Yeah. I don’t think it was a body double. He’s got a nice physique, he’s got muscles. This guy is an athlete and he’s won, uh, he won, he won medals in the Olympics or something, right? Something like that. I don’t know.

Craig: Marathon. There’s, there’s pictures and trophies 

Todd: and, but it’s, Profession. You know, it’s like his livelihood is as an athlete doing these things. The first, just, I don’t know, three minutes of the movie is establishing that fact quite well. cool shots of him like stretching. He’s nude and he’s stretching and you know, doing sit ups and things.

You see his muscles and stuff. He puts things on, he starts jogging down the street and the score is just this sweeping, beautiful Hollywood style orchestral score that’s just setting you up for a nice drama, romance, whatever. As he is jogging down the road. I just thought that was it. It, it provides a great contrast to what’s gonna happen next As he’s jogging, suddenly he gets hit by a car.

He gets hit by a truck. A truck. He something startles him. I think there’s a truck there. He, he gets whacked by a truck and the score follows it just like, it’s like a, almost like that feeling, but a lot more. Well, 

Craig: it’s Valic. He gets thrown up into the air in slow motion and does like a 360 turn in the air.

It’s, it looks 

Todd: great. It looks great and it sounds great. Like I was just blown away by the score at the very beginning. And uh, and yeah, he gets hit and then we immediately see a very, very young Stanley Tuchi , who is his doctor, operating on his back. And it’s just this scene of this guy laying down on the operating table and they tape up his back and it close up and Tuchi is cutting into his back and there’s blood there.

And I mean, it just, he gets all the elements that you would expect from George Mero, like right in, right from the beginning. You know, a little bit of. Gross cringy factor. There’s a little bit of the, what you might call exploited of nudity, but it wasn’t really, and, and a little bit of excitement and it immediately sets up what’s happened.

I just, 

Craig: I thought that the opening and, and it’s just, it’s minutes, it’s, you know, three, four minutes. Um, but I just thought that it was really good characterization because it establishes the fact that this guy’s life and personality is wrapped up in his physical body. And not to say necessarily that he’s vain.

I mean, he may be, but it’s not so much that. But the, the things that we see of him are his amazing physique. The fact that, you know, his livelihood potentially, In his physical prowess. Uh, there’s the indication, of course, obviously, of sexuality with him getting out of bed with this beautiful woman. All of this, it, it seems like that is who he is.

His person is very much defined by his body. And then three, four minutes in, that’s entirely taken away from him. Entirely. Yeah. He is, uh, paralyzed from the neck down. This actor, of course, is an able bodied person, but, uh, he, he plays a quadriplegic through the rest of the movie, which I was watching it thinking what a challenge that is, you know, because in acting.

So much is you have to take it, take everything into consideration, your voice, your, your face. But, but much of that for most of us is also our, our, our movement and, and our bodies. Um, and to have, to play a character and be denied the use of your entire body except for your face, that’s a challenge. And I think that this guy being an able bodied person, uh, steps up to that challenge pretty well.

I mean, one could also argue, all he has to do is sit still, but try to sit perfectly still for, well, I was 10 minutes, 

Todd: I was a hundred percent thinking that like, what a challenge it would be to not move a muscle, you know, uh, below your neck. Not, not a hand, a finger twitch or anything like that. I mean, that, that had to be a challenge, a technical challenge for the acting, you know, in and of itself.

It’s crazy. But, but he comes home from the hospital and, and it blows past what we later kind of figure out is quite a bit of time. Yeah. Like he’s clearly been in physical therapy. He’s been in the hospital for a while because immediately when he comes back, we’ve zone in on his girlfriend and his girlfriend is distracted, she’s upset.

She and her, his mother are there. They’re talking about this party that they’re throwing for his return. They’re, they’re preparing for it, but she is distraught and, and as people show up to the party, uh, the doctor comes in, they’re waiting for him to make his big arrival. The, um, His name is, uh, is Alan Wiseman, Alan Wiseman and Linda?

No, no. The doctor’s name is John Wiseman. Yeah. Yeah. Um, the guy’s name is Allen and his girlfriend is Linda. And you immediately know again, I was really, I was really impressed that, uh, as soon as Stanley Tuchi walks in the door and, and Alan hasn’t shown up yet, but the Dr. Wiseman has Stanley Tuchi. Oh, John, 

Craig: this is Dr.

Fry. My name is Esther Fry. Dr. Fry is one of Alan’s professors at the law school. And, um, we were just discussing will a be able to finish his studies physically? Yes. The question is will he 

Todd: want to, 

Craig: Oh, let’s not talk about this now. This is supposed to be a celebration. Yeah, some celebration. I’m back.

Charlie Cunningham. I’m Alan. Uh. I was Alan’s 

Todd: coach. I don’t, He walks over to Linda and he makes some eyes at her and he looks at her and they have a very brief exchange, but it’s extremely clear within seconds that while Alan has been in his recovery, the Doctor Wiseman and Linda have built, have had a relationship.

See, and I 

Craig: didn’t pick up on that right away. I I, I definitely picked up on the fact that she was out, like she was done and, and a Allen, you know, as soon as she greets him and she’s like, Oh, I should have visited more. And he’s like, No, it’s okay. He person hear well, you can tell, you can tell that he knows that she’s on her way.

Yeah. But they have this kind of, you know, coming home. Well, and I guess I should say, as terrible as that sounds, this is a life changing thing and, and this kind of thing. Yes. Sadly happens. Um, you can’t judge. She comes across as a bitch and, and it seems like a real bitch move to leave him in this really dark moment in his life.

But it’s life altering for her too. Yeah. 

Todd: Um, everybody’s suffers when things like this happen, you know? I mean, you can’t, you can’t, I I, I, I have some sympathy for her. I have a lot of sympathy for her now, the way it’s painted in the movie, like you said, she comes across as a bitch and the doctor who we don’t actually see too much of.

Mm-hmm. . He is confronted by. Alan’s friend Jeffrey later on who we see, um, we’ll talk about him in a second, but he gets confronted by him when he realizes that Linda and Dr. Wiseman have been having this relationship. He’s extremely judgemental. Well, well, 

Craig: well, I’ll be damned. How do we diagnose this one?

Wiseman Clinical asshole syndrome. Clinical rat. Clinical snake in the grass syndrome. Come on, Jeffrey. And. 

Todd: Your clinical cunt. I feel like the movie paints the doctor too, is a bit of an opportunistic douche bag. Oh yeah, definitely. Again, is that fair? Who knows? We don’t really have enough information to make a judgment, but, uh, 

Craig: yeah.

They even later in the movie, paints him as being potentially careless. Um mm-hmm. true. Again, we don’t know, you know, we’re not medical professionals. It, it could have been a, a very simple mistake as it turns out. I mean, there’s, I don’t see any sense in not saying it now. As it turns out, Alan had a congenital, uh, issue that was potentially just triggered by this accident.

Mm-hmm. and the initial Doctor Wiseman just assumed that it was the spinal fracture that had caused his paralysis, which is. I think a 

Todd: fair assumption. That’s fair assumption. Right? Right. I mean, they’re, they’re looking at the, I mean, they’re looking at the x-rays, they’re seeing that there’s been a sort of severing or something of his spinal cord or something right there at his neck.

He’s been in this accident. If you’ve, if this is, if he’s never been x-rayed before, you know, you’re not gonna know that you’re not, you’re just gonna see this accident caused it. So, uh, fact, 

Craig: but he ends up, he ends up seeing another doctor later who looks at it more closely and potentially finds this other issue.

Um, but again, again, you, I mean, it, it, I feel like they’re kind of painting these two as kind of villainous, but that’s also probably so that we don’t feel terrible for them when they get killed later. Cuz they do , they 

Todd: use it . Well, we quickly kind of get, um, like I said, Linda’s very distracted and upset at the party.

She’s like hiding some things and. All that. Like you said, Alan kind of understands that it’s over. I don’t think he knows at this point that she’s with the doctor. No. But, um, anyway, and they keep talking about Jeffrey. I, I can’t remember Linda calls, uh, for Jeffrey to come and, and he says he’s gonna come, but he doesn’t.

And then we get to introduce to his friend Jeffrey, who, who, uh, is a researcher at a lab at the local university. He instantly sets up a whole bunch of intrigue. I mean, the minute we meet him, he’s, he walks into his lab, he pulls out a syringe. He fills it up with this red, sinister red looking liquid. He injects himself with it, and then he takes out a, what we learn is a frozen human brain, but it.

From a child or a baby or something small. It must cause it’s really small, you know? And he talks, you know, they use the typical stuff like he’s, when he’s by himself, he either talks to himself or he talks into a tape recorder. So we kinda understand what’s happening. But he shaves a little bit of it off.

He boils it in something and then he injects that green looking liquid into this monkey. And so now we know Jeffrey is sort of the mad scientist of the movie, and he’s Allen’s friend and he comes later to visit Alan at his home late at. After the party, uh, after everybody’s left, and Alan says to Jeffrey, I know that, um, Linda, I can tell she’s dumping me.

You know, I really like the fact of it sets up this reality of how life changing this is for a person and the kinds of things that a. Sudden quadriplegic would have to go through. His mom is there and she’s there with clearly the best of intentions, but she’s watching old home movies of him and it seems to kind of bother him a little bit, you know?

Cuz obviously he’s quite able bodied in these things and they’re kind of reminiscing about when he was a kid. And his mom very quickly comes across as overbearing. And once again, I still feel sympathy for her. Absolutely. But 

Craig: she’s trying, 

Todd: She’s trying. But else also clear just like families are, that they have a history, you know?

And you can tell by later comments that he makes, especially in sort of the climax of the movie where he tells his mother often. He’s like, You’ve always been. You know, you’ve always been self-centered and overbearing and everything’s about you and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So early in the movie, she’s trying and you feel sympathy for her, and you think he’s just sort of upset.

But then it becomes later very clear that they’re underlying tensions already here. Uh, and then at one point, again, we’re kind of jumping around, but at one point the mother. like, ends up like selling her house and moving in with him without even telling him, you know? Yeah. That’s, 

Craig: that’s later, right.

Without even telling him. And that’s a big deal. Um, but it is, and he’s also, the mother is also hired a personal nurse for him. Her name’s Maryanne. She’s, uh, played by Christine Forrest, who was, uh, Rome’s wife at the time and a period. Oh really? I didn’t realize that. And who appeared in several of his movies.

Um, I believe. And, and she, unlike the mom who you feel some sympathy for, cuz it seems like she real, you know, she’s, she’s a mother. She cares, she wants to help. Maryanne, the nurse is just kind of a witch from the beginning. She’s, 

Todd: you know what I have to say from the whole movie, Maryanne, the nurse, I felt was the most, uh, unbelievable aspect of this whole arrangement because she’s a healthcare provider.

Yeah. Right. And she’s a total douche bag. And, and she’s, 

Craig: she’s there. This, she knows what the job is. She’s caring for a quadriplegic that is gonna require a lot of attention. And, and she just acts like she’s put out the whole time, like, ah, again. Like, 

Todd: Well, like the long and short of it is like, Dude, she’s hired help.

If she is being such a bitch to you and you’re getting in all these arguments, you could fire her and bring somebody else in. Yeah. So this whole bit where, This tension that they set up between her and him. That’s my only real criticism of the, of the movie, is that came across as really, really false, you know?

Yeah. But they don’t have any Oh, oh, I agree. It, it’s not like she’s his sister or anything. Like he has some sort of like, obligation to keep her around. No. He even says it later, like, I’m paying you to help me and you’re being this way. Like, we’ll just fire her and get another person in. Like, it’s that easy.

Right. That was 

Craig: bothersome. You know, even in 1988 there was technology of, you know, amazing technology available for people, uh, who had physical disabilities. Quadriplegics, you know, he’s got, you know, a very sophisticated chair that he can maneuver using, uh, a, a device with his mouth and mm-hmm. . There are other things.

That he can, and really this technology, I’m sure was not available to just your average Joe, but like he’s got a whole kind of setup in his house. Whereas lights are automated, his curtains are automated. All he has to do is, you know, say certain commands and these things happen. But nonetheless, you see that this, I I, I can’t imagine how devastating it would be to go in one moment from being completely able bodied to then having to completely rely on others for just your day to day stuff.

And, Seeing him being bathed in a sling. Yeah. Either by Maryanne or his mother, You know, at, at one point it’s his mother and he’s like, Mom, just let Maryanne do this. It’s humiliating. Now, should it be humiliating? No. You know? Right. It’s not his fault that he needs this assistance, but my goodness, put yourself in that position.

You’re a grown man that has to be naked, which is as vulnerable as in front of your, can be in front of your mom. Yeah. And having your mom, you know, wash your body like, and the mom says, Oh, what? Like, I’ve never seen you naked before. Like, I get it, like, yeah, you bathed my little wiener when I was a baby.

But I don’t necessarily want you doing that now. Right. So you feel how depressed he is, which culminates in a suicide attempt. Um, he tries to kill himself, and, and Jeffrey saves him at, at the last minute. There’s also a side story with Jeffrey’s like nefarious boss, like demanding results on his.

experience and it’s all very shady and stupid. Well, it’s, and it’s stupid. I say stupid not it is stupid. Kind of whatever. I mean, it’s like I, I feel like it’s a commentary on the corruption of science for profit. And it is. I get it. 

Todd: It’s so shoehorned in there and this guy, Dean Burbage or whatever, he’s played by Steven Root and, and Steven Root, like has been all over everything.

He’s got it. You probably remember him most from, He’s the what, Milton, right? The red swing line stapler guy from office space. Oh yeah, Yeah. But I. Like the guy’s got over 270 IMDB credits to his name. It’s like insane. He’s been all over television movies. Uh, he’s that guy that everybody kind of knows his face, but you know, nobody probably knows his name.

And, and I felt like his character was really shoehorned in here and this whole aspect of it was really shoehorned in, and it, it’s, it’s a thread that just sort of gets dropped later, really, 

Craig: pretty much. And, and I, um, initially I think that there was supposed to be more to it. There was an alternate ending that he was more involved in.

Uh, but I ended up changing it 

Todd: if I’m not mistaken. I feel like I read somewhere that the original cut of the movie was like four hours long, right? Something like, Yeah, insane like that. So I’m sure there were a lot of threads. End up getting cut for time. And we’ve talked about this before. It’s, it’s a trope, right?

That universities are portrayed to these places where like there are these intense rivalries between professors or yeah. Renegade professors and the deans, you know, who are coming in and doing study of, like the fly two I think was a lot like that, right? Mm-hmm. and, and this guy just comes across as this utterly sinister like, dude who’s just taunting Jeffrey.

Like your, your research, like, when’s it gonna bear fruit? And you know, what are you doing? And money’s running out and time’s running out, then I’m gonna take over and I’m gonna do something. And we never really understand what that’s gonna be, but you know, it’s like, I laugh at that cuz you know, I used to work at a university and you know, you’re, you’re heavily associated with a university.

Like we know that this, Oh, there’s lots 

Craig: of camaraderie. I mean, I’m sure there is, there’s competition to some. 

Todd: There is something, but no, it doesn’t get to this degree. It doesn’t get this ridiculous, but, but he gets almost you. There’s, anyway, it’s a plot device to, 

Craig: Right. And I, I guess I, I’m not really even sure.

I mean, I, I think that Jeffrey’s motivated by wanting to, um, help his friend, but I think that he’s also motivated by kind of wanting to get his most promising work out of the lab. And so, yes, he, he takes this one, monkey number six, that has been responding the best to the human brain serum. And he first goes to a woman, uh, named Melanie, played by Kate McNeil, who trains Capuchin monkeys to be service animals.

And he says, You know, I’ve got this friend, he’s, uh, quadriplegic, uh, he was in an accident recently. This is new for him. He’s not doing well. So you train monkeys exclusively for quadriplegics. Well, there’s no time for anything else. Program’s gotten so popular. Well, as I, as I told you on the phone, I have a friend who I think would be just a terrific candidate for this sort of thing.

There are a lot of candidates. That’s the problem. All my monkeys are already assigned the homes. Well, how about if I were to donate a monkey? And she’s like, Well, uh, okay. So she does, and Jeffrey takes the monkey to Allen. And, and Melanie comes along too, because she’s gonna work with them together, you know, to get them acclimated to one another and, and train, you know, for specific needs for him and in his house and, and whatnot.

And Alan takes to the monkey right away, and he asks what her name is and Melanie’s like, well, her Gina name is, and it ends in Ella. She’s like, So I’ve been calling her Ella. So he names the monkey Ella. And then this, Okay, so we’re probably like 25 minutes in now. Uh, some critics criticize the movie for being too long, particularly in the first half.

I disagree because I too really liked these next 20, 25 minutes where it’s almost a cute little romantic comedy. Yeah. Between, uh, Alan and the monkey. It is, 

Todd: it’s cute. It’s cute. It is. And 

Craig: like the monkey is helping him, and they’re sweet. Like he likes the monkey, and the monkey likes him. And, but look, it’s 

Todd: just believable enough, right?

Because this guy previously was in the depths of despair and tried to kill himself. Of course, he’s gonna latch on to this animal that, you know, is, it’s a female whatever, but it’s showing him affection. He’s able to show it, you know, it, it does this thing where it go climbs up on his chest and hugs him around the neck almost immediately, you know?

Mm-hmm. . Um, it’s changing the batteries. And sh and Melanie riggs up his, um, It brings up a whole bunch of cool stuff. And I liked this aspect of the movie too because how often do we get to see, um, you know, quadriplegics people who are disabled being shown in a realistic and respectful way in film? And I feel that this movie does it.

And it’s interesting you kind of put yourself in his shoes. Like what would this life like, be like now if I was confined to a wheelchair, I couldn’t wash myself, I couldn’t move my arms, I couldn’t move my legs, and then I had this monkey come in and help me out. And it goes through great detail, I think, in showing all the little ways that the monkey can help out.

Yeah. Melanie Riggs up his wheelchair to put some lights on it and the, there’s a battery there and the monkey can change the battery and she riggs up his chair to dispense suites. Uh, or I think they’re marshmallow. For the monkey, whenever the monkey does something good. So he is got this little dispenser on there.

And then he has this device that’s very 1980s, you know, which is like a, it’s a, it’s a touch tone phone, but it has these cards, you know, they’re like punch cards, like old school punch cards and a slot in it. And he uses a laser pointer to point around and, and point to a particular card, which the monkey then knows to grab that one, slide it in the slot and hit a button and then it automatically dials.

And he uses this laser pointer to tell the monkey to pick this up and to touch that or whatever. And I thought, oh my god. So interesting. You know, the fact that the movie took the time to kind of get us into his head a little bit and bring us into his world, it made the, um, for me anyway, it made the relationship between him and his monkey much more believable, much more understandable.

And uh, you know, I just, I just instantly got it cuz I see what this guy’s gotta go through and now he has a helper. You know, and they have a bond. 

Craig: Yeah. Her abilities are a little far fetched. I had to chuckle a little when the monkey was cleaning the house, like , 

Todd: like wipe the window windows. But I don’t know, maybe they do that.

I don’t know. I, I don’t know what they do. It seemed very human right. 

Craig: And this is supposed to be a highly intelligent, like, not, not just an, again, primates are intelligent. Yes. But this is supposed to be an enhanced intelligence because of what 

Todd: Jeffrey’s been doing to it. Yes. 

Craig: So it doesn’t have to be entirely realistic, but it’s cute.

And not only is it cute, but it kind of restores some of his confidence and purpose. Mm. And he decides he’s gonna go back to school, you know, to, uh, finish up his studies and stuff. Then at some point, um, Jeffrey comes over and he’s still injecting Ella. And she doesn’t like it and she bites him. And then a, you know, all of this is, is is really sweet.

And there’s also, you can tell that there’s something beginning between Lan, Melanie and Maryanne or Melanie too. Mary. Yeah. Mm-hmm. , not Maryanne. Maryanne’s and nurse, um, . It’s very subtle at first. Uh, it’s not immediate, but you can see where it’s 

Todd: going. I mean, it’s a movie, you know, it’s gonna go there anyway.


Craig: Right. , then Alan starts getting uncharacteristically agitated. Mm. And, and he has an argument with Maryanne. And after the argument with Maryanne Maryanne’s Bird, she has this bird that he’s never liked. He hasn’t liked it from the beginning. He says he doesn’t like birds in the house. He thinks they’re gross.

She’s like, 

Todd: Too bad I’m, I got a bird. 

Craig: Yeah. She doesn’t care. Jesus, will you take it easy with that thing? . If you’re gonna do a job, do it right. I am sick and tired of your insult, young man. I don’t know what’s gotten into you lately. Look, my butt off around here. Oh shit. 

Todd: This place is 

Craig: a pig side. You don’t change lsk.

You never fill your food dishes. This is our house. You have been hired to perform certain functions in it. And when you don’t perform those functions, we get pissed off. 

Todd: And 

Craig: just, Who is this way? You’re talking 

Todd: about 

Craig: me and Ella? After their little argument, the bird comes in and lands on his face and is like messing around on his face.

And of course he can’t do anything and, and 

Todd: pecks at his eye. My 

Craig: god. Yeah. And Ella’s in her cage. And so I don’t think at this point that she can do anything, but she’s agitated too. And so then Alan tells Maryanne when she comes in and gets the bird out very angrily, um, he tells her to get rid of the bird or else.

and then everybody goes to sleep and we see Ella get out of her cage. At this point, she can let herself out of her cage, which again, I thought was a little silly because this is this highly intelligent monkey, and it’s just like a one latch thing. Like she can easily just reach her arm out and pull this one latch to let herself out.

Yeah. But she, she, she kills the bird and leaves it in, uh, Maryanne versus 

Todd: Bird. Bird slippers. . 

Craig: And this starts a whole thing where we start seeing Ella’s point of view and she’s getting out of the house and running around outside. And Alan seems to not just sense, but almost be psychically experiencing it with her.

And at first he’s just kind of confused. I it’s maybe he thinks he’s dreaming or, or something, but what, That’s when the mom. Comes back. She, uh, he thinks at first, just for a visit until Maryanne screams at him, I, Oh, I just thought it was hilarious. I could have watched it on repeat like five times You killed my B

And he looks at her and just snes it. F. He deserve to die. He’s becoming a jerk. He’s getting the primal rage. . Yeah, 

Todd: exactly. This is what we know about when monkeys and humans combined, we’ve had that show us that this is what happens. Right? He, he’s, he’s just becoming, uh, a more agitated, more pissed off.

But also it gets weird. Like it’s weird that the movie went here. I guess the movie’s based on a novel, and so these things usually play out better in novels. I thought the movie made an odd turn here where it, I thought this was gonna be, and this is what I remembered about the movie from having seen it before years ago.

I thought the movie was quite a standard story about sort of this super nice monkey that, you know, things kind of just get outta control with his relationship with his handler. Mm-hmm. . But the movie clearly is saying there is a sort of psychic connection between the monkey and Allen that develops mm-hmm.

And that’s, I don’t know, I was a little disappointed at that aspect of it. But it’s a, it’s a movie. You go with it. Right. 

Craig: I think it would’ve been better if it were further developed. You know, I don’t know. How are they gonna logically explain it? You can’t, They just. and I, I’m not saying that I doubt that something like that is possible that through medication or whatever, that psychic connections can be established.

I’m not saying that I don’t, that I think that that’s impossible. It just seems kind of improbable here and it happens so quickly. Yeah, and it’s, and it’s unexplained other than, Oh, well, it must be a result of the medicine, I 

Todd: guess injecting the medicine and all that, and, and then it gets a little crazy later when, when Jeffrey realizes this, and so he kind of goes to extremes and starts kind of experimenting with the other monkeys, like, Can I make this happen again?

Jeffrey comes over and I like Jeffrey’s character too, because he’s also complex. Like you said earlier, you get the sense he really cares for his friend. He’s not like this, Hey, hey, I’m gonna take advantage of this situation and like, insert this rogue monkey in here and secretly perform these experiments.

Like, no, he sought this woman out. He volunteered his monkey for it. He, he faked its death for the dean. You know, so he could get it out of his lab and in there. So there would be no question to ask. But also, like you said, he’s still a scientist and he wants to keep his research going. And so when he’s over at Alan’s plays, he’ll kind of sneak away and inject the monkey.

And uh, Jeffrey goes over and investigates, because Alan says to him, he says, I have these, I’m having these weird monkey cam premonitions, , you know? Yeah. These weird dreams. And so Jeffrey goes up to the attic, he investigates, he finds a broken screen, and he’s talking to himself was like, Oh, there sneaky Ella, you’re getting out.

After all Alan is right. But he goes downstairs and he lies to a 

Craig: about it. I didn’t really understand that. The only reason that I could imagine why he doesn’t tell him the truth is because both Alan and Melanie were really adamant about the fact that they didn’t want like a lab monkey that had been tested on.

Todd: Because he lied. Yeah, he lied. He told everybody. He told Melanie, he told Alan, he told all these people that this monkey has had nothing weird done to it. He specifically said that, so he outright lied to them about that. So, But he’s not a terrible person. 

Craig: No. He has good intentions in terms of what he’s trying to do for his friend.

Does it potentially benefit him to Yeah. Mm-hmm. , but you know, he is trying to help out his friend. This comes to a head when Alan. Finds out that his ex Linda is sleeping with the doctor. And that’s also after he and Melanie, because Alan see, he, his finger moves and he sees it. So Melanie takes him to the doctor.

That’s when this new doctor tells him about this congenital thing. Alan gets really mad. He’s like, So you’re saying that Wiseman, if, if, if he had seen this, he could have maybe prevented me being paralyzed And the doctor’s like, Well, maybe, uh, I don’t know. There’s also potential. He’s like, Well, can, can we fix it?

And the doctor says, He maybe, But spinal surgery is super, super risky. So in order to justify the risk, I would need to be able to see that you can voluntary, voluntarily move something, anything. Mm. A finger, a toe, anything. And so he leaves with Melanie and she is shocked because rather than being excited and hopeful, he’s just pissed.

Like, Yeah, super. Angry, aggressively pissed at the doctor, and when he goes home, he tries to call the doctor, I guess, to chew his ass, but the doctor is not there. He’s off on a trip, and the nurse gives Alan the number where he can be reached and it’s Linda’s number. Mm-hmm. . And so Alan calls Linda’s number.

The doctor picks up. Alan just hangs up, but he’s seething in. 

Todd: That’s when he bites his lip. Yeah. 

Craig: Yes, Yes. 

Todd: With his big teeth. And then, And the monkey climbs up on him and licks the blood off. That’s, Yes. That’s an interesting scene. Right. And 

Craig: it, Right. It almost seemed like he was so enraged that he didn’t even notice.

Mm-hmm. , you know, like he’s just kind of staring off into space. Very strange. But that night Monkey POV shot, we see the monkey go into a cabin where presumably we just see legs, but presumably it’s Wiseman and Linda. Having sex. And then we just see flames. And in the morning Alan’s mom gets a phone call and she’s like, Oh no, how will I tell Alan?

And then Alan wheels himself in and she says, Something terrible has happened. There’s been, And Alan says, A fire. And so he knows . He, he, he has, Cause he saw it, he saw it in his, in his mind, in his dream. So he knows what’s going on. So he immediately calls Jeffrey and says, Get this monkey out of here. Yeah.

I don’t know what’s going on. But it’s bad. She’s bringing out something terrible in me. Bad things are happening. Get this monkey outta here. I mean, 

Todd: it’s impressive. He picks up on it right away. He knows what’s going on, and I loved the scene. He says, It’s ugly, it’s vicious, sinful anger. It’s a sin. I’m getting a desire to sin.

Jeff and Ellen has picked up on that, and Jeffrey agrees to take her back to the lab. And as he takes her out, Allen says to him, Do not bring her back. And the monkey. Is like 

Craig: screaming. It was heart wrenching. He’s dragging it out on a leash and it’s trying desperately to stay. Ugh. No, it, it likes it, you know?

Oh God. Yeah. Again, you feel bad for the monkey, The monkeys just doing what it, it’s it’s supposed to. Trying, Yeah. Yeah. It’s trying to do what it thinks Alan wants it to do. It’s, it’s serving him, um, it doesn’t know any better. And then to tear it away, I mean, it just, Really sad. I don’t know what, what happens at this point.

He does, he gets it back to the lab. Ella, at this point, like wants more injections. 

Todd: Yeah. Suddenly Ella wants the injections, didn’t want them before, so that’s odd. 

Craig: Also, as soon as the monkey’s gone, um, Melanie starts to comfort a and she’s like, Why don’t you stay at my house this weekend? He’s like, Oh, I don’t know.

And she’s like, Well, I’ve got the whole setup in the barn cuz I trained the monkeys there. I think you’ll be comfortable . 

Todd: And I, I mean, of course in my head I’m thinking this is what we get. Oh, it is gonna be a sexy, isn’t it? And and in my head I was thinking, well, I guess she could sit on his face.

Craig: I didn’t go there. I don’t, Well, I mean, the movie does. I, I, I didn’t immediately go there, but, um, I didn’t know she, you know, he, all he can do is move his head. So when she’s like adjusting his chair, he kind of nozzles into her bom innocently, you know, there’s not a whole lot he can do to show affection and she kind of recoils it first, but then she starts taking off her clothes.

Yeah. And the next thing you see is, is them in bed. Look, and now again, I’m no doctor. I don’t know how this works. Uh, I don’t know if certain parts of the anatomy continue to function, uh, but in this case it doesn’t seem so. But there are other things people can do. , 

Todd: I look, I’m just gonna, I’m just gonna come right out and say, I thought this was hot.

And I was like, Really? It was kind of hot. I was really impressed. And you know, I was reading the trivia on imdb and apparently this is one of the very few, if not only portrayals of a quadriplegic having sex on screen and uhhuh. That’s so nice. Like you, Thank you. Georgia Merril. There’re still people.

You’re right. You know, take us into this world. The now us understand how people deal with these things and force us to confront them and think about them. And my God, it doesn’t seem sad at all. It’s, it’s quite hot, you know, And she’s, she’s having a good time. 

Craig: Supposedly it was initially, it, it’s pretty graphic anyway.

It is supposedly, it was initially significantly more graphic and they ended up cutting it down . I, I think that the producer wanted it even more graphic and Romero didn’t, and, and the producer ended. Saying he was right. You know, the way that it is, is, is good enough. 

Todd: We don’t need to see every, It’s not a porno.

We don’t need to see everything. But yeah, it’s pretty, it’s pretty 

Craig: cool. But, so, okay, so obviously they have this relationship. Now he’s feeling much better. But eventually Ella Escapes, um, and immediately goes back to his house where he’s with his mom Now, it, it, it just happens to be a moment where he’s trying to apologize to his mother for having been so angry and aggressive.

Of course, he can’t really explain to her what was going on. Cause I don’t think that she would either believe or understand it, but he’s trying to apologize. But as soon as Ella’s near, he gets immediately aggressive and angry again and recognizes. He’s like, Oh my God, she’s here, , she’s here. Yeah. Call Jeffrey.

Get somewhere safe. , the mother is just angry and upset, and she’s slapped 

Todd: a bunch of times. It’s, yeah, 

Craig: it’s like, but, but it’s not unfair. He’s being very mean. Um, and, and I think that his, uh, acting is pretty good, except for that his primal rage manifest as Robert DeNiro. Sometimes , like, he turns into Robert Janero all of a sudden with the squinty eyes and stuff.

But he knows that s there, and so like, he’s screaming to his mom, like, Lock yourself in your room. Lock yourself in your room. But I. , she takes, she draws herself a bath and is like crying in the bath. Um, and Ella throws the plugged in hair dryer in the bath and, and kills her. 

Todd: Yeah. You know, I mean, again, suspension of disbelief, but I get it.

Okay. The monkey’s trying to sort of do what he thinks, what she thinks is right to take revenge on the people that Alan is angry at, at the same time, how does this monkey know how electricity works? ? I dunno. It bothered me a little bit, but, uh, yeah. 

Craig: Anyway, I don’t remember. He gets in touch with Jeffrey somehow, and Jeffrey comes over and Jeffrey’s got a couple, uh, vials of whatever they used to put in poison down.

I don’t 

Todd: poison. Yeah. It’s just a chase. 

Craig: Yeah. It, it, it, it becomes a chase. It’s, it’s, it’s very reminiscent of, uh, pet cemetery with g um, Oh yeah. You know, this, this little. Being, you know, kind of outsmarting the grown man, and it’s well done. Like it, it’s, it’s super well choreographed and staged with the monkey.

It’s really believable. Some of the, some of the direct combat is that whole Chucky kind of like, why can’t you fight this little monkey? You know, like, it’s, it’s, it’s much, much smaller than you. Some of that seems a little far fetched, but mostly it’s just about the monkey kind of getting away. Yeah, yeah.

And, and getting other stuff like, and eventually it does, it gets the vial. and, uh, it injects Jeffrey. Yeah, 

Todd: so Jeff is poisoned and 

Craig: he’s so disoriented by the poison that he doesn’t even, you know, Alan is begging him to call the hospital, call the police call. He’s like, No, all I, I just have to drive myself to the hospital, which obviously he can’t.

And so he falls over and he’s dead. Somehow Allen has been able to dial Melanie. He wasn’t able to talk to her, but he was able to dial her and she heard stuff going on in the background, and so she shows up and then the monkey is menacing her. 

Todd: Well, the monkey’s smart. It, you know? Oh yeah. This is, this is like vibes of, I don’t know, like misery, like wait until dark.

It’s like you have a person who is disabled in some way, who against all odds, has to confront this devious creature and use its wits to, you know, overcome the physical disability. It has it’s inability to move. It’s inability to see whatever. In his case, he’s in a wheelchair that’s electric and all he can do is move his head.

And this monkey can go and do whatever he wants. And this monkey’s been trained and he knows the house. And so, you know, Alan is like trying to open the front door and he’s calling out to his system, you know, number 10 or whatever, which opens the front door. And the monkey just cuts the. And then runs over and closes the door and he tries to, you know, make a phone call and the monkey goes over and like bites the phone cord away.

And I mean, I was really on the edge of my seat during this full sequence thinking how in the hell, I have no idea how this guy’s gonna get out of this. Like, no idea that odds are completely 

Craig: stacked against him. Right. And well, and he, he does something to Melanie or the monkey does, excuse me, Trips were off.

And she trips are episode and, and she stands up and says, Uh, okay, a was that you were the monkey because Alan feels responsible for all this. And he’s like, That was her. She did it. And Melanie is like, That’s that’s right. It’s not you, you’re not doing this. It’s her. But then she gets knocked out and the monkey is menacing her with that other.

Uh, syringe that was creepiest, rubbing it on her face and near her eyes and stuff. 

Todd: And her eyes and like trying to figure out how to poke her. But he’s, he’s on her face and I dunno, just needles around your eye in general are Yeah. Scary. 

Craig: And, uh, and so Alan uses all of his will to move his hand and press.

On this cassette player and, and Ella likes music. You know, it’s like, uh, they have like a thing. Yeah. Ella Fitzgerald or Billy Holiday or something. Right. They’ve got, you know, it’s kind of their thing. And he entices Ella, um, to come and be affectionate with him, which again is kind of heartbreaking because he has to lure her with kindness and love.

And of course we know it’s deception, but she doesn’t. And, uh, she looks at him and she goes up and she starts hugging him and nuzzling him as she has before and before. It has been so sweet. You know, that there, there’s so little he can do, but he can nuzzle her with his face and that’s what they had done in the past.

It was very sweet. This is the part that I remember just because I thought that it was, I mean, it’s, it’s hard to watch, but more than because it’s, Gross or anything like that just because it’s, it’s sad and sad and, and again, there’s only so much that he can do, but what he can do is he can chomp down on her neck and shake her.

Like a dog shakes its prey. Yeah. And that’s what he does. And, and I mean, he killed it. It is just, I mean, the camera just, we watch this happen and it is, it’s, it’s brutal. It’s violent, it’s brutal. And you see, I’m sure it’s a puppet, but you see it getting flung around violently, um, and then thrown to the ground.

And, uh, even the, the, the corpse of the monkey falling to the ground looks uncomfortably real. Mm. If that, if that was a puppet, Savini did an amazing job because it looked very lifelike. Oh. Um, as it crumpled on the ground. 

Todd: Well, of course the idea of it’s just horrifying. Right? I mean, it’s just heartbreaking.

Yeah. They had this love, they had this affection. It started out that way. He has to use that love and affection and tap into what she still has for him. And again, she sort of feels like she’s helping him all this time, but, and he takes advantage of that and. Oh, it’s like an ultimate betrayal kind of thing, but you know, it was the right thing to do.

Yeah. I 

Craig: mean, he didn’t have any choice. Yeah, he didn’t have any and, and then, you know, . That’s, that’s kind of it. I think the next thing we see is, uh, 

Todd: there’s a jump scare. There’s a weird thing here, 

Craig: like, Oh, well, we jumped to his surgery, like mm-hmm. , you know, it’s very reminiscent of the last time. But, uh, he, uh, the doctor slices into his back and then the lights flicker and then Ella pops out from inside him.

It was a good jump scare I had for forgotten, and I didn’t see it coming. That was a really good, um, but then, but then he, you know, wakes up and it’s postsurgery and he asks Melanie if it was successful, and then it cuts away and we see him being wheeled to her van. And when the nurse wheels him up to the van, he stands up and climbs into the van himself.

Um, and they drive away into the sunset. Uh, and it’s a nice. Happy ending. Huh? The book didn’t end as happily. I haven’t read the book. I just read about this. The book doesn’t end as happily. His surgery is not a success in the book. The, There was a different ending to the movie that had to do with the, the, the dumb evil scientist verbiage or whatever.

Like he had been injecting all of the other monkeys with the serum and he goes to the lab only to find that the monkeys have completely overtaken the lab and, or like planning a monkey uprising or something. I don’t know. Something stupid. Well, but, and, and, and Romero liked it and wanted to stick with that darker ending, but it tested it’s typical for you.

Really, really poorly. Yeah. And, and he said, To be fair, the studio said, We will release it with whichever ending you choose. If you wanna stick with your ending, we’ll release it with your ending. If you want to go with the happier ending, we’ll do that. So, you know, that’s uncommon for a studio to give a director that kind of, um, say, But he ultimately went with the happier ending.

And, you know, subsequently, I think he said that he felt like he made the right decision, but it wasn’t an easy decision to make. I think it was the right decision. Yeah. Uh, I, I liked that, you know, after what was, you know, very sad. I thought that the whole ending with Ella was very sad. You kind of need a little bit of a pallet cleanser, and so it worked for me and overall, I’m so glad.

You know, I’m not patting myself on the back. We’ve talked about doing this for a long time, but I’m glad I picked it because I really enjoyed watching it. Yeah, and I wasn’t bored. I didn’t think it was too long. 

Todd: It was a good movie. I mean, honestly 

Craig: was a good one. And I’m, yeah, and I’m happy to remind people of it or introduce people to it, because if you haven’t seen it or if you haven’t seen it for a long time, go back.

I think it stands up. It does, you know, uh, in, in 2022, I think it, it stands up pretty darn well. It doesn’t feel overly dated. No, It’s, it’s good. It’s a good story. Good characters. You empathetic characters. Surprising empathy for, for the monkey and Alan. You know, lots of people and just overall it was a really enjoyable movie to watch.

Todd: It accomplishes those things that Romero is quite good at, and that is, you know, tapping into deeper, you know, more emotional truisms kind of about humanity in life and politics or whatever it is. You know, that that really never go away. And so even though he’s making a horror movie and, and many times it’s quite exploitative or whatever, like there’s an underpinning there that gets to you and it works.

I felt like the movie was really skillful at. Hammering the point home and creating these characters that were believable, creating situations that were believable because they were complex. They were not black and white, with the exception of the nurse. Right? The dean verbiage, you know, everybody else in there had complexity and, and real motivation.

You could understand why they were doing what they were doing, and you could understand why they weren’t perfect and you, I just, loads of sympathy. Sympathy for the monkey, Sympathy for the main character. Once again, pretty rare to portray disability in a film. We don’t usually go down that road and people usually just use it as a means to an end.

But like this, we, we, we, for a little while, kind. Get to empathize and experience what this guy’s life might be like and what his challenges are in his emotional states. And I found that satisfying and interesting, especially, you know, like in the eighties. I just, there were a lot of little things that really tickled me about this movie.

Really kept me engaged, kept me on the edge of my seat, and stuck with me at the end. I would totally recommend this movie to others and good movie. Thank you, Craig. Good choice. 

Craig: Well, you’re welcome, , . 

Todd: Sometimes you do a good thing every now and then. It’s nice. Yeah. 

Craig: Every now and check out this movie if you haven’t seen it or you haven’t seen it in a long time.

Um, it’s really good. And, uh, if you enjoyed this episode, let us know. Uh, you can message us on any of the platforms. You can find us wherever you find your favorite podcast. We do have, uh, a Patreon now, um, where we have some extra material, if that’s something that you are interested in. I believe if you go to our Facebook page, you can find a link to the Patreon page.

Message us. Let us know what you thought. Let us know anything that you would like to hear from us moving forward. But until next time, I’m Craig. And I’m Todd with two guys and a chainsaw.

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