BLUE MONKEY aka INSECT! (1987) Reviews and overview

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‘They breed. They hatch. They kill.”

Blue Monkey is a 1987 Canadian science-fiction horror film about a giant monstrous insect that is eating people in a quarantined hospital. Also known as Insect!

Directed by William Fruet (Killer Party; Spasms; Funeral Home; Trapped; Search and Destroy; Death Weekend) from a screenplay co-written by George Goldsmith (Children of the Corn 1984), the Mithras production stars Steve Railsback, Gwynyth Walsh, John Vernon (Killer Klowns from Outer Space; Savage Streets; Curtains), Joe Flaherty, Robin Duke and Susan Anspach. Produced by Martin Walters (first assistant director on Diary of the Dead and Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives).

The original title was Green Monkey however it was changed because of a theory at the time that AIDS was started by infected African green monkeys. Executive producer Sandy Howard (Race with the Devil) was inspired by the success of Aliens (1986). Director William Fruet apparently pushed or the insect angle in the story, saying “if you want horror, start with bugs.” The movie received a 30% tax benefit because it was shot in Toronto with Canadian talent.

The creature was designed in Los Angeles by Mark Williams who also worked on Syngenor; Alienator; Psycho Cop; Transylvania Twist; A Return to Salem’s Lot and Aliens. Unfortunately, Williams died of a pulmanory infection in 1998.


“The plot is swift and plausible, and the special effects are decent. Although you might assume the rubber bug suit is outdated, it actually works, and the worm coming out of Fred’s mouth is also quite effectively done. Casting some believable actors also really helps out Blue Monkey.” Canuxploitation!

“When it’s on-screen, it’s impressive enough for the budget they probably had to work with. Except for a quick decapitation, however, the bug doesn’t get to do much but lumber around and get zapped by laser beams during the climax. There are lots of movies that look cheap but don’t feel cheap, but Blue Monkey does little to make you forget it’s anything other than a Canadian tax shelter production.” Cyborg City 3000

Blue Monkey embraces its gentle tropes while putting a modern aesthetic spin on the sub-genre, if not a thematic one; blues and blacks blanket the medical equipment, probably to cover the lack of effects budget yet it works as atmosphere. Another part of its charm is in the standard-issued characters, and their resultant arcs; there’s no need for tiresome backstories and redemption songs if the right cast can sell the illusion well enough.” Daily Dead

” …I have to give the award to the practical effects. They’re cool to look at when they show up.  That said, they’re shot in such an insignificant fashion (quick cuts, low lighting, strobe lighting, shaky handheld) that you never get to fully appreciate the work that went into them.” The Gentlemen’s Blog to Midnite Cinema

” …has an OK set-up and third act, but the midsection is filled with an awful lot of ass-dragging, with people endlessly wandering around dark corridors or heading to the boiler room to watch the creature lay its eggs. The kids run around the hospital and cause trouble, and unfunny comic relief is provided by usually reliable SCTV stars Joe Flaherty and Robin Duke…” Good Efficient Butchery

“Sirius Effects has created an amazing monster. Simply stunning to look at, and quite frankly not just a little scary. The film has elements of Aliens, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and The Poseidon Adventure. So much going on, as is typical for these films back then. I really enjoyed this film, a lot more than I thought I would. The effects are really good for the time, and visually the director gave us a good show.” HNN

“Although its central monster isn’t terribly fake-looking, everything else about Blue Monkey is substandard. The performances, especially by the female performers, are atrocious. The characters […] are two-dimensional. Plus, the movie doesn’t even make much narrative sense […] Every hospital movie cliche you can imagine comes into play.” John Kenneth Muir, Horror Films of the 1980s, McFarland, 2012 | |

“It sure as hell gets pretty blue-lit in the last third.  Even so, there is no Monkey. Is it a Comedy? No, it sure is full of death, violence and chaos. Is it a Horror Film?  Mostly, but it does also feature SCTV Alumni Joe Flaherty in a Supporting Role. So, in summary, it is a Horror Film with a Comedian, a Comedy with murder, it doesn’t feature a Monkey and it is just kind of strange.” Mondo Bizarro

Blue Monkey isn’t much more than a standard angry-larva story, but it has been cleverly directed by William Fruet, who knows how to give it a new look. To be sure, what happens in the film is essentially familiar, as a slimy little abomination appears, grows, hatches and goes on to terrorize everyone it meets. From the standpoint of plot, there isn’t that much to tell.” The New York Times, October 16, 1987

“A bunch of rugrat kids (one of whom is a young Sarah Polley) manage to squeeze in the name of the movie through some random looped line. The title monster is in shadow throughout and rarely-seen, but the gooey monster and gore effects courtesy of the late FX Wizard Mark Williams make for a thrilling finale worth waiting out all the filler in the first part of the movie.” Pulsing Cinema

“SCTV’s Joe Flaherty puts in a brief comic relief appearance, but can’t do much with the material he’s given. And a completely unrelated bit of comic relief gives us the cure for the mystery disease. This one isn’t a great film, but it is fun, moves along nicely and even manages a few good scares.” Rivets on the Poster

“Blue Monkey is a fine and fun, if ultimately inconsequential, addition to the genre. It seems like a remake but isn’t, which in this realm of moviemaking is assuredly a compliment.” Caelum Vatnsdal, They Came from Within: A History of Canadian Horror Cinema, Arbiter Ring Publishing, 2014

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Blue Monkey is more effective when it’s concentrating on the giant bug killing people. The whole outbreak subplot feels like filler and the movie slows to a crawl during these scenes.  The bug scenes would’ve been decent if we could’ve actually seen the thing.” The Video Vacuum

Choice dialogue:

Doctor Rachel Carson: “We still have a few bugs to iron out.”

Cast and characters:

Ivan E. Roth … The Creature
Steve Railsback … Detective Jim Bishop
Gwynyth Walsh … Doctor Rachel Carson
Don Lake … Elliot Jacobs
Helen Hughes … Marwella Harbison
Sandy Webster … Fred Adams
Susan Anspach … Doctor Judith Glass
Bill Lake … Paramedic
Peter Van Wart … Oscar
Don Ritchie … Orderly #1
Stuart Stone … Joey
Marsha Moreau … Marcy
Nathan Adamson … Tyrone
Sarah Polley … Ellen
Joy Coghill … Dede Wilkens
Cynthia Belliveau … Alice Bradley
John Vernon … Roger Levering
Philip Akin … Anthony Rivers
Laura Dickson … Desk Nurse #1
Robin Duke … Sandra Baker
Joe Flaherty … George Baker
Jane Dingle … Desk Nurse #2
Dan Lett … Ted Andrews
Michael J. Reynolds … Albert Hooper
Michael Caruana … Technician
Gina Wilkinson … Nurse Michelle
David Clement … Surgeon
Ursula Balzer … O.R. Nurse
Les Rubie … Rollo Jordan
Reg Dreger … Policeman
Karen Scanlan … ISO Nurse
Ralph Small … Security Guard
Harry Booker … Bill Clemmens
Jo Bates … Lobby Nurse (as Jo Anne Bates)
Walker Boone … Johnson
Rob Wilton … Orderly #2 (as Robert Wilton)
Alan Rosenthal … Doctor Steinberg
Ken Quinn … Patient

Filming locations:

Humber College – 3199 Lake Shore Blvd, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
St. Louis, Missouri
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Filming dates:

9 February 1987 to 13 March 1987

Working title:

Green Monkey

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