Monday, December 1, 2008

Where have you seen this monkey before?

This poster comes from the 1988 George Romero film, Monkey Shines, which I didn't see. But the image still gives me the creeps. I remember the movie poster appearing all over the place. The mechanical doll with its crackhead eyes just gave me the willies, and still does. (I found the image at Wikipedia).
But I believe the doll was used in a trailer for an earlier horror film, possibly something from the late 1970's to the early 1980's. In the trailer, the camera flashes to some abandoned and dusty room, possibly an attic, where the doll sits. It begins to bang its cymbals together, jerking its head back and forth. I'm convinced I first saw this early in my childhood, rather than in 1988, when I was 18. I remember it from the same time period that I saw posters appear from The Fog and The Changeling (which both popped up in 1980, and both also feature haunting images).
I'm sure you have your own "memory mysteries." Images and sounds you can't quite place, but which are still with you. I saw this doll thwacking its little robot arms together and grinning at me like Lucifer when I was about 10 years old. It scared me and scarred me, and I'll always be grateful. I invite you to stare at it awhile yourself, even if you're a grownup, and see if it doesn't give you a little chill.


  1. In college, my roommate used to have this crazy troll doll. It was about 6-inches tall with hair and an evil grin. He called it Peter Kurten after some obscure Germany mass murderer. He would stroke it lovingly. That dude was fucked up.

  2. I believe that Stephen King's "Skeleton Crew" has a monkey like this on the cover :)

  3. I'm pretty sure the film you remember is The Attic, a sick piece of work from around '79. I watched it again about 2 years ago. It has a creepy, suffocating atmosphere. Definitely worth a look. I'm really enjoying your posts, the Bloody Mary material is dredging up lots of childhood terror...

  4. The monkey with cymbals also appears in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." I cannot remember if it showed up in the commercials, though.


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