How many movies have you seen about a blue monkey? Not many, we'll bet. Well, we watched a movie called Blue Monkey, and we still haven't seen a movie about a blue monkey. Blue Monkey should probably have won some sort of award for having the least meaningful title of 1987. It should also have won the award for taking the longest route to an Alien rip-off.
Blue Monkey begins in a greenhouse where an elderly handyman puts the moves on the equally geriatric owner of the plants. The handyman touches a strange new plant that the woman has somehow procured from a newly raised island in the Pacific (apparently the laws regarding the import of exotic species were very lax in 1987) and is bitten, or pricked, or something. Minutes later he passes out and the bite becomes massively inflamed. He is taken to the nearby hospital, where he spits up some sort huge insect pupa. However, besides the parasite, there is also some sort of bacterial infection that is highly contagious, and everyone with whom he came into contact begins to show symptoms.
Another satisfied "Jack in
the Box" customer.
At the same time bug-spitting man is being examined, a wounded cop and his partner are brought into the ER. The partner is Detective Jim Bishop, played by Steve Railsback, best known to Stomp Tokyo readers for his turn as a NASA field agent in Nukie. Despite his partner's grave condition, it isn't long before Jim is making moony eyes at Dr. Rachel Carson (Gwynyth Walsh), the prettiest doctor in the hospital.
Before the inevitable carnage starts, Rachel takes Jim on a plot-specific tour of the hospital. Jim is introduced to the following people, places and concepts that will just happen to come in important later:
a) There are four sick little kids in residence who seem to have unlimited access to all areas of the hospital. They're the equivalent of those kids named Kenny in all the Godzilla movies, though we don't remember any of these kids wearing super-small short pants or talking to giant reptiles.
This is officially disgusting.
b) The hospital was once an insane asylum. This is supposed to explain the series of tunnels and catacombs under the hospital. Of course, the kids (and Dr. Carson) are the only ones who seem to know about it.
c) The hospital is home to the U.S.S. Enterprise's engine room. No, really. They have this huge, high-tech room that is supposed to be a "laser research lab." As if a laser the size of the one they have, about the same size as the wave motion cannon from Space Cruiser Yamato, would have many medical applications. It reminds us of our favorite line from Kiss the Girls, when one of the cops observes that a serial killer has "surgically bandsawed" his victims' feet off. This had us asking two questions: There's surgery that involves bandsaws? And: can we watch? Well, a bandsaw has nothing on this laser. We would pay big money to see them try to remove some poor slob's appendix with it.
"And right down there is where
I saw Bruce Willis, and he tried to
make me co-star in a movie with him!"
Meanwhile, back at the lab, some of the doctors cut open the pupa thing that the handyman spat up, and find an insect inside. The insect is trapped under a glass jar and left in a lab for further study. In what is an obvious mistake, the doctors leave the radiologist in charge of watching the insect. Well, the radiologist is a beautiful woman (by far the most attractive person we've seen so far), and by horror movie law that naturally means that she is a sex fiend. So she and an orderly leave for "five minutes" to get a smoke (nudge, nudge, know what we mean?), leaving the bug alone in the lab. Then the little kids sneak in, see the brightly glowing insect, and decide to feed it with a randomly chosen bottle. And they apparently manage to choose the worst possible bottle, because the insect immediately changes color from green to blue. And so we get half our title, though there never is a monkey in this film.
The kids skedaddle before anybody finds out what they did, but it has fatal consequences for the radiologist and orderly. They get back and start to get it on top of a lighted table, only to experience coitus interruptus at the mandibles of a huge freaking insect. Yes, our little children managed to pour "growth hormone" down the bug's gullet, and now it's just the right size to terrorize the hospital.
"Now where is that Orkin man?
There's a thing or two we need to discuss."
The murders are discovered, sorta (the bodies have been hauled away, but there's plenty of blood left over), while the LIDC (Lincoln Institute of Disease Control) moves in to quarantine the whole hospital because of the bacteria. And just to make things worse, the giant insect is skulking in the basement, and somehow it is reproducing -- using live humans as hosts! This comes as a rude surprise to the old folks staying in the hospital, especially two old biddies who promptly use the opportunity to get drunk.
Hmmm... A geriatric population terrorized by giant bugs? Down here in St. Petersburg, Florida, we have a special name for that: Thursday.
You'll pardon us if we yawn at this point. If writer George Goldsmith (the man responsible for the screen adaptation of Children of the Corn) thinks any audience isn't going to spot a blatant Alien/Aliens rip-off, complete with a large bug-thing dripping thick ooze from its mandibles and humans cocooned in slime, then we'd like a few minutes with him alone, please. There's this great bridge in Brooklyn we'd like to sell him, cheap.
"Get away from her, you beetle!"
There are a few high points to mention: Steve Railsback, who at this point was probably fresh off the shoot for Nukie, is at his least annoying. He isn't given much to say, and for the last half of the film he does little but run, hide, and occasionally shoot the bug. Gwynyth Walsh, too, is rarely irritating in any active fashion, probably because she's a competent actress who realizes that the best way to ensure that her career survives this flick is to do her best and try not to overact.
The bug is convincing inasmuch as it rarely appears, and almost never in full lighting. For the first portion of the film we never, ever see it, except in pupal form, when it resembles nothing so much as it does South Park's Mr. Hanky. As appropriate a moment of self-reflexivity we've rarely seen within a film of this caliber. Still, the bug's big fight scene in the laser lab (well, duh) at the end of the film is definitely the reason to see this movie -- especially once one learns that the head of a giant grasshopper, when properly lasered in the eyes, will instantly explode.
Keep that in mind the next time you consider that lasik vision correction procedure.