He's peering into your soul...
"Over and over and over and over, like a monkey with a miniature cymbal..."
Vests are cool
—Hot Chip, "Over and Over".
. 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
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.
- "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.
- 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.
- 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".
- 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.
- The Betrayal at the House on Haunted Hill has one of these as an artifact.
- One of the gravestones outside Disney's Haunted Mansion is a "stone" monkey with cymbals.
- 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, but eventually stops its clanging to tell Homer to focus on Marge.
- "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: ◊
- 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.