Once upon a time, George A. Romero worked with Orion Pictures. The first outing proved disastrous at the box office and was riddled with studio tinkering, the second didn’t do much better. Thus our hero went back to the land of things more independent.
This week Sean and Brad dive into George A. Romero’s adaptations of Monkey Shines and The Dark Half. Do they hold up as films or mere curiosities? Both are out on Blu-ray courtesy of Scream Factory.
Monkey Shines (1988)
Director: George A. Romero
Written By: Michael Stewart (novel), George A. Romero (screenplay)
Starring: Jason Beghe, John Pankow, Kate McNeil
“Terrific psychological thriller” – L.A. Weekly
“A white-knuckle triumph [that doesn’t] let up” – Newsweek
Allan Mann (Jason Beghe, Chicago Fire) 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, Northern Exposure), incompetent doctor and meddling mother, Allan realizes he must stop the cunning maniacal creature…before she fully takes over his mind!
Kate McNeil (The House On Sorority Row), Joyce Van Patten (Grown Ups), Stephen Root (Office Space), John Pankow (To Live And Die In L.A.), and Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games) also star in this riveting thriller from George A. Romero (Night Of The Living Dead)!
The Dark Half (1993)
Director: George A. Romero
Written By: Stephen King (novel), George A. Romero (screenplay)
Starring: Timothy Hutton, Amy Madigan,Michael Rooker
“King And Romero Are Their Twisted Best!” – Rolling Stone
Masters of horror Stephen King and George A. Romero have created a “gripping, creepy, frightening” (L.A. Reader) film that “thrills, shocks and works us over” (Los Angeles Times)! Featuring an “intelligent screenplay and first-rate cast” (The New York Times) including Oscar® winner* Timothy Hutton, Amy Madigan (Fringe), Julie Harris (The Haunting) and Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead), The Dark Half has “a terrific premise for a thriller and director George Romero sets it up with skill and style” (Roger Ebert).
Horror writer Thad Beaumont (Hutton) hopes to distance himself from his murder novels and from George Stark, the name he has used to anonymously author them. To achieve this, he cooks up a murder to play out in real life: a publicity stunt that should lay Stark to rest forever. But when the people around him are found gruesomely slain – and his own fingerprints dot the crime scenes – Beaumont is dumbfounded until he learns that Stark has taken on life of his own…and begun a gruesome quest for vengeance!
*1980: Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Ordinary People