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  • As the other user commented on this, I too was a lad of eleven when I first saw this and I'm unashamed to say that I had a few nightmares at the time after having seen this, it's great to exercise a few of those demons, as i'm part way through re-watching it after all these years. The first and most vivid memory I have from this series was the music that opened it, really good opening music, which sets up this chilling but brilliant piece of drama. Even though its a few year old it still looks slickly produced, I have watched 2 episodes so still haven't got to see 'him' but I'm sure it wont be long. I have unfortunately seen the USA version which is poor in my opinion in comparison. Such a shame that this has not been commercially released, come on do us a favour please put on DVD. Enjoy
  • I recently uncovered the full miniseries of Chimera and it brought back a whole host of memories for me. I remember watching it whilst on holiday in Wales in a caravan, in the middle of a field so it really did a number on me as a kid.

    When struggling film critic, Peter Carson's girlfriend is killed at her new job at a research facility in Northern England he finds the countryside in an uproar and a manhunt underway as the entire research staff was brutally murdered that night.

    The police are brought in to track down an unnamed killed and Peter finds out that the research facilities experimentations into genetic engineering created the monstrous hybrid responsible for the deaths and now it's on the loose in the Yorkshire Dales. Two young children from a local farm make themselves a new friend...Mr. Scarecrow.

    This was really brave television, following in the footsteps of the early eighties 'Day of the Triffids' and 'Threads'. It tackled issues of genetic engineering and human rights when relating to 'Hybrids' and was pretty ahead of it's time really.

    The acting is top notch and supersedes what is on British TV these days. It is quite amusing to see a whole string of minor parts played by now massive British celebrities; Lisa Tarbuck and Paul 'O' Grady not to mention fantastic established actors such as Kenneth Cranham and 'Rita, Sue and Bob too's' George Costigan.

    The series is spread over six parts and is just the right length. Having not seen the Monkey Boy edit, I cringe at what that butchered version has to offer.

    'Chad' the Chimera himself is genuinely freaky looking, especially when he shows his teeth. The shot of him reading the 'Rupert the Bear' children's book only to turn and snarl at the camera sends chills up my spine to this day. They spent money on the creature and it looks horrific, especially in it's black and red striped 'Freddy' sweater and dungarees (trust me it's unsettling.)

    British TV of this calibre and genre could be gone forever down to constant big budget American TV imports which is ashame because there is no place spookier than the British countryside.

    If you loved, 'Day of the Triffids' and if you're a British horror fan in general, you'll love this.

    Don't watch it alone.
  • Two things let down this prophetic drama; poorly-shot special effects and a long, unnecessary setting-up sequence about a nurse getting a job that takes up most of the first episode (apparently it was originally scripted to start right in at the clinic but the producers insisted on adding the extra material. obviously a long bus ride is their idea of a good time.) But once the real story starts we're into a very dark and uncompromising meditation on cruelty and humanity that was considered science fictional back in 1991 but which has moved within reach today. The identity and status of a creature with an animal physique and a human mentality is a matter for urgent and ongoing debate, and the drama dared to imagine that such a creature might not be denied a voice in its own fate.
  • I remember watching the full version on TV on 4 consecutive Sunday nights as a wee lad of 11. The 1st episode (Chad stalking the hospital) terrified me and gave me nightmares. It was great! I've only been able to see the cut down version since and it did not do the original justice at all. The hour spent introducing and killing all the hospital staff was reduced to 5 minutes! Try and get your hands on the full version, it'll blow you away.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    In British school playgrounds in the early 90s, Chimera was a hot topic of conversation. Absolutely terrifying as a mini-series, it then got repeated as an iffy TV movie. I have just got hold of a copy of the movie, and this review deals with the edited version.

    Trimming three or four hours of telly into 100 minutes is not an easy job. The story rushes along, and there is plenty of excitement and a few real scares. The story does not have the chance to explore characters and build up the tension as it would have done in serial form. Also, there are a few moments that do not seem logical, as the explanatory material has been cut.

    The impact of the first episode of the serial was enormous. Introducing a dozen characters in an isolated medical clinic, surrounded by fog, miles away from anywhere in the middle of the moors ...a great start. "Something" escapes. One by one, the characters are killed. There's a sequence I can visualise in my mind's eye as if it were yesterday: a woman is pulled backwards through a window. This remains in the film, as do some of the killings. A new nurse, with no idea of the secrets her employers are hiding, is the heroine. As the building goes up in smoke, she looks as if she is about to escape ... and the "something" gets her with a knife. Gobsmacking. All but two of the characters are dead, and the woman we thought would be the sympathetic heroine is lying among them. This was the cliffhanger ending to episode one, before the haunting theme music began. This is whizzed through in less than fifteen minutes in the movie version, and things are poorer for it.

    Episode two began with the investigation into the incident, with the security forces overruling the police and hushing everything up. Two characters who made small appearances in the first episode live on, but everyone else is new. This was a completely jawdropping development, and was widely reported in the papers at the time.

    The TV movie rushes through explanations. Characters come and go, as the journalist hero follows leads and moves from person to person, investigating. Some good performances and some interesting characters, but the story needs longer in order to be told properly.

    The "monster", of course, is befriended by two children. Sadly, the boy's voice is very badly dubbed. The sequences of the children with Mister Scarecrow, in the barn and the farmhouse, are very goosepimple-making. In the time honoured tradition of British TV, the monster is kept offscreen for as long as possible. Eventually, Chad is revealed to be quite sympathetic. Aware that his creators were to experiment on him, released by a sympathetic scientist (all rushed through and glossed over, sadly), his lethal attacks were a combination of rage and hatred, along with loneliness and heartbreak. There's no denying, though, that the tension is raised brilliantly in the clinic attack scenes and in the farm scenes.

    There is, of course, a government cover-up. All of this would have so much more impact and be much more powerful if the original mini series were available. While the movie does contain some good scares, it cannot do justice to the original work.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I trust the reviewers who say that "Monkeyboy," the feature-length edit of this four-hour miniseries, is terrible (terrible name too) but I understand ITV's impulse to cut it down. The novels of Stephen King aside, horror generally works best in shorter form (as in this series' director's famous Ghost Story for Christmas mini-shockers) and telling the story as a rambling mystery thriller full of unnecessary characters (including a desperately uninteresting leading man) and endless swarms of black ops ruins any opportunity it might have had to be genuinely suspenseful.

    It also borrows from previous sci-fi/horrors on an "Event Horizon" scale, from "Planet of the Apes" to the "Psycho" trick of killing off the first protagonist (with a kitchen knife no less) to Chucky and Freddy's red striped sweater as a signifier of mass homicide to pretty much everything from every version of "Frankenstein" up to that time. Another reviewer mentions Nigel Kneale but the debt this production owes to Kneale's Quatermass series just underlines how Kneale could be as derivative as he wanted to because his ideas and method of presentation were so original. Kneale made all the points Stephen Gallagher tries to make about the madness and cruelty of humanity's treatment of nature in his "Beasts" series decades earlier and with more insight and feeling.

    The key to what makes this highly non-perfect series so memorable can be found in how other reviewers mention it giving them nightmares as kids. Anything can be forgiven a horror that contains genuinely nightmarish elements. The rampage at the Jenner Clinic puts you into the action in an uncomfortably intimate way--the bleeding into the fruit-filled liquid--and the shots of the human-orangutan hybrid infant are haunting and pitiful. The use of a keening soprano melody to underscore moments of horror at the end of the first and last episodes is a cheap sort of manipulation but you know how potent cheap music is.

    One of the really brilliant elements of this series is casting. Principal actors seem to have been chosen with an eye for elongated and otherwise unusually shaped faces, so that when we finally see Chad's face it looks more human than we've expected. And this being a British production, all the actors are of a quality far above what you'd find in an American horror, which makes all the difference. Kenneth Cranham does an amusing version of the archetypal sneering villain that in itself is worth watching.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Now here's a review that I never thought I'd be adding to my list of rare slasher movies. Could a feature length edition of a four-part series that was aired way back in 1991 on the comfort of a Sunday evening's television really be classed a slasher flick? Surprisingly the answer is yes. I remember watching Chimera as a ten year old child and being absolutely petrified by the sights I was witnessing. Many years later as my love for horror grew, I often reminisced about Lawrence Gordon Clark's opus and was enthusiastic when I discovered an ageing copy at a video store under the alias of Monkey Boy. Chimera had launched to much critical acclaim in the United Kingdom and I wondered whether it could survive the stark condensation from a four hour runtime to a measly length of a hundred and four minutes.

    Chimera launches with a suspenseful set-piece, which was drastically shortened from the sequence broadcasted on television in 1991. In its original format we were given a huge amount of development into the lives of the opening victims, whereas in this shorter version, the characters are slaughtered almost as soon as they are introduced. It all kicks off in The Jener Clinic - a remote fertility surgery in the Yorkshire countryside. A van pulls into the car park and out jump four panic stricken workers. They drag something screaming from the back of the vehicle before silencing it with tranquillisers and carrying it into the complex. Although we don't get to see the struggling aggressor, we can tell from its screams that it's certainly not human. As night sets in on the clinic, the alarm is raised when an unseen someone begins stalking through the surgery and slaughtering the staff Michael Myers-style with a carving knife. The unseen maniac escapes the location, leaving behind him a mess of butchered corpses and flames.

    The following morning we are introduced to Peter Carson (John Lynch). Peter is apprehended by Police whilst on his way to the clinic in order to meet his ex-girlfriend, Tracy. He is forced to identify the nurse's mutilated corpse, but when he asks for answers he is given the run-around by the senior detectives. Visibly frustrated at the lack of information he is given, Peter begins to suspect that the Police are covering up the true motives behind the massacre. He soon launches his own private investigation, which uncovers something worse than he could ever have imagined.

    The days when British Hammer Horror features were at the forefront of the genre have long since passed and UK cinema has yet to produce a slasher movie to rival its American brethren. It comes as some surprise that the closest they have come is with this made for TV thriller from the early nineties. Chimera combines a gripping story with the standard clichés to create an entry that sticks in your mind long after the closing credits have rolled. Mixing shady government conspiracies and genetic engineering with approachable characters and a bogeyman that splits the viewer between moods of sympathy and hatred, Stephen Gallagher's script generates enough complexity and terror to allow it to stand as a memorable viewing experience.

    The opening massacre borrows heavily from Halloween and its sequel, and in a further nod to the cycle, the killer sports a red striped top ala Freddy Krueger. As Chimera was made for television, the gore is kept to a bare minimum, but Clark's sharp and rapid direction and a plot that successfully delays the explanation to the psycho's identity keeps the tension running fluidly. John Carpenter has stated that one of the reasons that the original Halloween towered so prominently over the quality of its sequels was the excellent dramatisation of 'the shape' by Nick Castle. It's easy to underestimate the importance of a chillingly portrayed bogeyman, but it's something that Clark was aware of and Douglas Mann does an excellent job of giving the killer a distinguishing characterisation. In the lead, John Lynch fails to take advantage of a multi-layered plot and delivers a half-hearted colourless performance, whilst the majority of the cast members never leave the comfort zone of b-grade television dramatics. Only Kenneth Graham emerges with credibility, portraying the ruthless Hennessey with a vicious guile that offers the viewer a genuine hate figure.

    The fact that Chimera is based on Gallagher's novel from 1982 - a time when the genre was at its most productive - explains why the plot is so knee deep in slasher references. But to classify Chimera as just another cycle entry would perhaps be an injustice, because it falls into a huge number of categories. Part Sci-fi, part detective mystery and a huge part stalk and slash, Clark's opus is an altogether interesting feature that never outstays its welcome.

    It's somewhat surprising that as of yet there's no official DVD of the original four part series, but the feature length Monkey Boy VHS still deserves to be seen.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Created by the shady animal research outfit the Jenner Clinic as an unsightly malformed mutant hybrid of both human and monkey DNA, Chad (vividly played by Douglas Mann, who skillfully alternates between being quite frightening and surprisingly touching) is part man, part simian and all-nasty, a hairy, gnarled, hunch-backed toddler with the mind of a child, superhuman strength, an easily set-off temper and a murderous sociopathic disposition which makes him one seriously lethal piece of messed-up work. Chad breaks free from his cage (where the poor critter has spent his entire life), butchers nine people, trashes the laboratory where he's been secluded from the rest of the world, and goes on the lam. He's doggedly tracked by diligent sympathetic journalist John Lynch, obsessed protective scientist Christine Kavanagh, and flinty, sinister, enigmatic lab company bigwig Hennessey (a marvelously steely Kenneth Cranham), the latter a first-class baddie who's hellbent on covering up the whole bloody affair so he can continue his morally questionable experiments undeterred.

    Lawrence Gordon Clark's crisp, pacy direction, a knotty, thoughtful, intricately woven script by Stephen Gallagher which astutely examines a provocative science gone amok theme without ever becoming some preachy, self-righteous, heavy-handed tract (Gallagher adapted his novel "Chimera"), fine acting from a uniformly excellent cast, top-rate make-up f/x by Bob Keen, a few gory kill scenes, an elegant orchestral score, a genuinely creepy and grotesque, but strangely poignant and pitiable subhuman monster tyke, the compact, gripping narrative, a strikingly poetic and haunting conclusion, and the all-around well-drawn intriguing characters (Sebastian Shaw in particular has a lovely part as a sweet elderly scientist who unwittingly participated in Chad's creation) combine together to form a scary, suspenseful and overall superlative fright feature sleeper which not only delivers the expected spine-tingling goods, but also gives the viewer plenty of tasty food for thought to gnaw on.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I remember watching this when I was twelve, it's one of those programmes that I remember images from, even years later I got hold of the chopped 'monkey boy' version, which, while it contained some of the scenes I remember, is simply not as good as the original mini-series. After watching that, I got hold of the complete mini-series which is simply so much better, as other users have said.

    In the full series, characters like Tracy and the farmer and his wife have time to develop as proper characters before they encounter the title creature. 'Chad' himself is given more time to become a sympathetic Frankensteins monster style figure.

    After rereading the book and listening to the radio adaption, this is the best version and captures the book as a TV drama very well.

    Although the rapid change in plot and genre can jar a bit (monster hunt with soldiers, x-files style conspiracy sci-fi etc) that is also one of it's strengths as its never boring. The performances, direction and even creature effects all hold up. It's now up there for me with all the great drama's such as Quatermass.

    Watching the full version, my childhood nostalgia is justified. Get the full version from raretelevision.com and enjoy!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is one of those films that will have you thinking. This isn't so much a horror film, more of a 'messing with nature' story. Throughout the film I couldn't help but feel sorry for Chad, the creature who is half man, half ape.

    What some people don't understand about this film is that it is not some cheap, English horror, but about the type of stuff that goes on without public knowledge. It tries to say that if you screw with nature, it will screw you in return. Chad is badly treated by the scientists who created him, so it isn't a wonder that he takes out some revenge on them.

    !!SPOILER!! The very end of the film points out a stupidity factor in science. When Chad is destroyed, you see the remaining scientists back in the lab, along with six, newly created chimeras that get to grow up in the same environment that Chad did. How clever.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    'Chimera' is an extremely short-running (4 episode) horror drama from the early 1990's.

    The ideas are so sinister and horrific that they might have been penned by Nigel Kneale.

    Set in Yorkshire, in the north of England, a supposed fertility clinic is being used as a front for inter-species experiments, using eggs and sperm from unwitting patients. The result is a chimp-human hybrid that escapes during the first episode and runs amok with a large knife in the 'clinic', eviscerating everyone it finds. So, we begin with a frightful crime, and the rest of the series entails a sinister who-done-it as to the nature and capture of the culprit.

    The viewer doesn't know the killer's identity, there is only a clue from a screaming, violent spectre that may or may not be human, and may or may not be sane, being bundled out of a van and into the facility.

    This is the kind of programme at which British television could often excel. The ideas are so vile that they grip your attention as they unfold. It's science-fiction (or it was then) it's a slasher-horror work with hints of Frankenstien, it's a who-done-it, and it's a conspiracy theory.

    Sadly, the programme inevitably suffers from under-funding and limited production values that have always dogged British television. Lighting, camera-work and script could all have been a lot better. Even so; the 4-hours allotted to it's presentation is just about equal to the plot threads and discovery whilst still making for a worthy watch. The beast itself is rather campy in its final denouement and might have benefited from some of today's CGI, or better still - a little of Rob Bottin's animatronic magic.

    Worth a watch if you can find a copy of the mini-series. An abridged movie of the same material called 'Monkeyboy' is little more than a trailer. It has all of the - now - inadequate highlights and omits most of the slowly-developing tension. Avoit the latter.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    MONKEY BOY is a 100-minute re-edited version of the 4-part, 208-minute CHIMERA.

    CHIMERA was adapted from his own novel by Stephen Gallagher, a prolific, widely-respected and internationally published UK author of fantasy and speculative fiction. It is based on first-hand research into scientific experiments on DNA manipulation, and in its original form, is one of the few pieces of genuine science-fiction writing to appear on British TV screens. CHIMERA has been transmitted several times in its original version on UK ITV. It is a fine, and very frightening piece of speculative drama, recently voted one of the 20 scariest UK TV dramas ever in a recent poll by the venerable UK listings magazine 'Radio Times'.

    MONKEY BOY is missing virtually the entire first hour of CHIMERA, which sets up a whole host of characters, in particular the scientists conducting the experiment combining human and chimpanzee DNA to develop a cross-species animal for further laboratory experiment and possible future use as slave labor or by the military. In a shock twist - never equalled in UK TV drama - at the end of the first hour-long episode, all but two of established characters are killed by the escaped mutant beast.

    The story then proceeds along an entirely new line, cross-cutting between the survivors' attempts to track down the animal, and the highly intelligent human-chimp (Chad) - a ferocious but increasingly sympathetic figure. CHIMERA articulates the debate about the use of animals in scientific experiment in a powerful, compulsive drama, which attracted many admiring reviews on its first appearance on ITV.

    The original has never been released on video or DVD. Sadly, MONKEY BOY remains all too available.
  • This very low budget film is really called "Monkey Boy". It is a really crappy movie. The only good thing about it was the Laser Disc jacket that it came in.

    It was another .50cent disc that I took a chance on. I mainly bought it because of how funny the cover looked. It said: They made him. They raised him. Now he's coming out to play.

    Then they have a picture of him, with the title "Monkey Boy" under it. On the back it has the statement:

    Congratulations, its a mutant...

    Its a .50cent disc that I have had alot of laughs with. But, "Monkey Boy" is another movie that I can't figure out why they would release the Laser Disc of it. Let alone even make.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    **** SPOILERS ****

    CHIMERA came out round about the same time as the BBC drama FIRST BORN which also dealt with the concept of genetically engineered apes , though to be honest they`re not really compatible since FIRST BORN was more of an emotional drama while CHIMERA is a straight up and down horror/SF thriller

    The plot goes something like this : A nurse turns up at a fertility clinic to start a new job but things aren`t what they seem . As the nurse is getting suspicions about the clinic , the staff , patients and eventually the nurse herself are murdered by Chad , a hybrid human . The nurse`s boyfriend tries to solve the mystery as to what happened to her

    Reading the above plot you might think this is a fairly entertaining thriller and it might have been but the story runs for four episodes and the above synopsis only covers the first one and a half episodes . As a matter of fact when the series was re-edited into a two hour teleplay the first hour is cut out plus another hour of running time and the story still makes sense which shows you how much padding there was in the first place

    After the opening episode we`re treated to sub plots like the secret service spooks wanting to keep everything under the raps and a couple of children befriending Chad who they call " Mister Scarecrow " . Strange how Chad seems to murder adults left right and centre but never harms children ? Oh as always in these type of stories we`re treated to an amiguous ending of lots of little Chads lying in incubators

    I guess ITV should be congratulated on trying to break the BBC`s monopoly on telefantasy but CHIMERA is very forgettable due to its over long running time and its cliches