troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Cymbal-Banging Monkey
He's peering into your soul...

"Over and over and over and over, like a monkey with a miniature cymbal..."
Hot Chip, "Over and Over".

Vests are cool. Cymbals are cool. Monkeys are cool. Toys are cool. Combine all four and it should also be cool, right? WRONG. In fact, it's so creepy, that versions of this mechanical monstrosity end up in a lot of sci-fi/horror movies. Kind of the flipside of Everything's Better with Monkeys. If you see this one, you know the non-fun sort of weird is on the way.

Given that monkeys resemble humans (being a related species), the Uncanny Valley might have something to do with why these toys are so unnerving. Compare with Creepy Doll.

Can also be used for comedic effect, usually by having the monkey replace a person who is even more incompetent at the job in question.

Compare Maniac Monkeys.

Examples:

Anime & Manga
  • Salvage King Masira's ship in One Piece has a Cymbal Banging Monkey as its figurehead, going along with Masira's monkey theme. It's also used in the actual process of salvaging ships.
  • One shows up in episode 6 of Digimon Adventure chasing Sora in Toy Town. It later comes after Mimi who destroys it, attracting Monzaemon in the process.

Film
  • The Devil's Gift, a film.
    • Which is is pretty much a shameless ripoff of The Monkey (see literature). Same concept (someone dies whenever it claps its cymbals) one scene is lifted straight from the story (when it kills the fly) and the ending is pretty much the same. (sealing the monkey away while it tries to take you with it) Except The Monkey was good.
  • Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders, a film that uses clips of The Devil's Gift.
    • When this movie was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000, it inspired Pearl to make Professor Bobo dress up as one of these to scare Mike and the 'bots. They weren't impressed.
    Rock 'n' roll Martian... rock 'n' roll Martian...
  • This was one of the toys that the aliens woke up in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
  • One of these was used to creepy effect in the trailers and the cover art for Monkey Shines - the actual film revolves around a live homicidal monkey instead.
  • James Dean drunkenly plays with such a toy in the opening credits of Rebel Without a Cause.
  • In The Phantom of the Opera musical and film thereof, the plot kicks off with a bidding war for a music box with a figurine of one of these on top. It originally belonged to the Phantom.
  • Euro Trip featured Lucy Lawless applying one of these to the.. erm.. sensitive parts of a male lead in a club for adults.
  • In How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, the Grinch has a giant version of one in his lair, and uses it to drown out the Whos' singing...along with using a jackhammer as a pogo stick and la-la-laing while riding it.
    The Grinch: PLAY, MONKEY! PLAY!
  • In Road to ... Utopia, when Bob Hope and Bing Crosby enter a talent contest, their act follows a man with a cymbal-banging monkey. The monkey wins.
  • In Aladdin, Non-Human Sidekick Abu is briefly turned into one of these by Jafar.
  • Used in Master of Disguise, before the door to the Nest opens.
  • A flashback scene in Zoolander finds the titular character acting like one.
  • It's almost appropriate that in the film Return of the Living Dead, the effect of some garbage bags full of still-animate dismembered zombie pieces was created by filling them with cymbal monkeys with the cymbals removed.
  • In the Colombian film Milagro en Roma, based on the short story "La Santa" by Gabriel García Márquez, a mechanical cymbal-playing monkey suddenly bursts into action at the wake of a seven-year-old girl, although it had not worked before that. Later, the monkey's spontaneous action at the girl's wake is cited as evidence for her being a saint. The Vatican is not impressed, however.
  • Mentioned briefly in The Conjuring. The paranormal investigator couple have a room full of haunted objects they've taken from past cases, including a cymbal monkey. As the husband says to a journalist: "Nothing in here is a toy. Even the toy monkey."
  • The Cityof Lost Children in the opening scene.

Literature
  • "The Monkey", a Stephen King short story. In a nutshell, every time it claps its cymbals, someone dies, and the main character and his younger son both describe the feeling of revulsion they have when they see and touch the doll, yet also how they almost want to wind it up even though they know what will happen when they do.
    • The comic adaptation of this by Glenn Chadbourne from The Secretary of Dreams (Volume Two) also features a cymbal-banging monkey.
  • Discussed in Seth Grahame-Smith's How to survive a horror movie, where a cymbal monkey is named as one of the things you should never put in your child's room.

Live-Action TV
  • Doctor Who featured one of these very briefly in "The Empty Child", controlled by the child in question and saying "mummy" over and over.
  • Supernatural had a laughing version of one of these while a repairman had his arm torn apart by a garbage disposal.
  • The opening sequence of Friday The 13th: The Series featured one.
  • The Captain And Tenille Variety Show in the middle 1970s featured a sketch where Darryl "The Captain" Dragon attempted to play piano with a Cymbal Banging Monkey allegedly named "Kokomo", who actively refused to cooperate.
  • Tim finds one of these among a box of old toys in an episode of Home Improvement.
  • Basco ta Jolokia of Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger has a pet/assistant monkey named Sally, who wields cymbals as weapons and can produce giant monsters from a hatch in her chest.
  • Inverted on the Mythbusters December Holiday special when three were used in a Rube Goldberg holiday contraption. They're more comical than scary, plus they're hard to see amongst the rest of the gags.
  • Midsomer Murders: There is one in the nursery where the first murder occurs in "A Christmas Haunting" It starts banging its cymbals as the body hits the floor.

Music
  • It can be seen in Roxette's video Joyride.
  • Sliver music video by Nirvana
  • Over and Over by Hot Chip.
  • Exaggerated in Chris Cunningham's short film Monkey Drummer, which features a monstrous contraption of mechanical parts, human limbs and a chimp's head that drums to the beat of Aphex Twin's "Mt Saint Michel + Saint Michaels Mount".

Musical
  • The 1986 musical The Phantom of the Opera features a cymbal-banging monkey as the topper of a music box.
  • Woyzeck/Blood Money involves one of these, and even gives it a song ("Misery is the River of the World"). It was voiced by Tom Waits.
  • The Bride's Lament from The Drowsy Chaperone — otherwise known as "The Monkey Song." In keeping with the way this musical stretches a gag, puts roller skates on it, then attaches jet engines, the climax of the song involves an entire chorus of "monkeys" in their little red vests clashing real cymbals over the final chords.

Tabletop Games
  • The Betrayal at the House on Haunted Hill has one of these as an artifact.

Theme Parks
  • One of the gravestones outside Disney's Haunted Mansion is a "stone" monkey with cymbals.

Video Games
  • In the Game Boy Advance game Mario vs. Donkey Kong, Mario can hang by the tail of a cymbal-banging monkey (called "Monchee" in the manual) to cross over a spiked pit, a long gap or some other dangerous area.
  • The Longest Journey has one (Little Guybrush) which is used at one point to solve a puzzle.
    April Ryan: Mildly amusing.. but annoying as hell.
  • Kingdom of Loathing had one of these available as one of their "annual" familiars available from Mr. Store.
  • League of Legends has one in the music video for "Get Jinxed".
  • At the end of the final level in Ape Escape 2, you fight a giant robotic cymbal-clanging monkey. When you appear to defeat it, it falls away to reveal a Humongous Mecha ape, the real boss of the level.
  • A version with a real monkey is in Escape from Monkey Island. The monkey is initially playing an accordion that Guybrush needs, so he swaps it for a pair of tiny cymbals which endlessly amuse the monkey for the rest of the game.
  • In Sam & Max Episode 101: Culture Shock, a monkey serves as the form reader for Brady Culture's "Home" for Former Child Stars.
  • There's a weapon in Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time called the Chimpinator...if you use it on a robotic enemy, they turn into this.
  • Starting with Map Pack 3 in Call of Duty World at War through Call of Duty: Black Ops' "FIVE" features a Cymbal-Banging Monkey strapped with C4 (called the Monkey Bomb) as a distraction device for the players to use. It is replaced by the Gersch Device in First Strike's Ascension.
    • The Annihilation DLC map "Shangri-La" features the return of the Monkey Bomb as the distraction weapon.
  • Ōkami has one of the three monkey gods be a cymbal monkey.
  • In Wet, cymbal banging monkeys act as secret collectibles, in fitting with Rubi's monkey motif.
  • Bishi Bashi Special features one in the minigame "Stay With the Rhythm!!"
  • In Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days there are two of them: The "Cymbal Monkey" and the "Tricky Monkey". They're both recurring enemies, and hide in fake treasure chests.
  • Tyko's partner Cymbi in HarmoKnight is one.

Web Comics

Western Animation
  • In the Kim Possible movie "A Sitch In Time" (pun intended), the Tempus Simia idol is a magical time-traveling stone version of one of these, broken into a body and head section. To find the head, the bad guys fly around in a jet waiting for the body to play its cymbals when they get close.
  • In the Futurama episode "Obsoletely Fabulous", one of the inhabitants of the island of obsolete robots is a cymbal-banging monkey.
    • There's also the episode "Reincarnation", in which the aliens in one of the three shorts (a parody of imported Japanese "action team" shows like Battle of the Planets) combined their ships to form "Gigatron", a gigantic cymbal monkey that used the shockwaves from the cymbals as weapons.
  • Also, Rugrats used one in multiple episodes...
  • One appeared in The Simpsons Movie, where it poofed into Homer's mind to distract him from Marge's nagging.
    • "The Computer Wore Menace Shoes" has Homer awakened by such a monkey.
  • One of Mojo Jojo's minions in The Powerpuff Girls movie. "I, Cha-Ching Cha-Ching, symbolize chaotic calamity!" (bangs his cymbals together to make a sonic boom)
  • The "Let Them Eat Cookies" episode of Three Delivery.
  • In a Teen Titans episode, the Titans hear an eerie "help me...help meeeee..." coming from a closet. An innocent cymbal-banging monkey falls out and says "Help me, help me, help me count! One! Two! Three! Four!...." It's played for comedy though, the scene is hilarious rather than creepy.
    • It's worth note that Beast Boy smashes this monkey against the wall several episodes later.
  • In Static Shock, Static and Gear find themselves facing a giant cymbal-banging monkeybot. Superman ends up having to help them out.
  • Pinky and the Brain has one of this as part of a Rube Goldberg Device built by The Brain.
  • The Toy Monster in The Real Ghostbusters definitely had one of these for a head.
  • One episode of Jimmy Neutron had him reducing his intelligence to the point of total idiocy; when it's time for one of his climactic brainstorms, the only thing left in his head is a monkey busily clanging away.
  • Toy Story 3 has one. When night falls on Sunnyside Daycare, he sits in the second-floor security office, watching all the screens. If a toy tries to escape, he turns on the center's P.A. system and screeches into it while banging his cymbals. Lotso and crew are on top of the poor toy in moments.
    • Can also serve as Nightmare Retardant since we see him during the end credits in a much more positive light, at the new Sunnyside wearing these giant star glasses and happily swaying to "We Belong Together".
      • As defused here: [1]

Real Life
  • Yes, these things really exist. They're as creepy as you'd expect.
  • One of the examples in Tom Igoe's instruction book "Making Things Talk" involves wiring one of these toys up as a organic vapor warning device.


Apes in SpacePrimate IndexEverything's Better with Monkeys
Creepy MonotoneParanormal TropesDemonic Possession
CS ToysToysDino Riders
Cyanide PillImageSource/PhotographyDagwood Sandwich

alternative title(s): Cymbal Clanging Monkey
random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
31916
1