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Film / Blue Monkey

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Blue Monkey (also known as "Invasion of the BodySuckers" and simply "Insect") is a 1987 Canadian horror film directed by William Fruet (Funeral Home, Death Weekend) and starring Steve Railsback (Commander Carlsen from Lifeforce).

First things first. The title. Other than one mention of "Maybe we'll find a big blue monkey" from one of the Free-Range Children exploring the creepy utility tunnels underneath the hospital where the majority of the film is set, the title has nothing whatsoever to do with anything, and in fact it was originally going to be called Green Monkey before the distributors realized that it was a theory at the time that AIDS came from green African monkeys (although since part of the plot concerns a disease, "Green Monkey" might've been apropos after all).

Handyman Fred Adams pricks his finger on a mysterious new plant from Micronesia in his friend Marwella Harbison's greenhouse. Despite his assurances that he's fine, Fred collapses in the parking lot and has to be rushed to the Hill Valley Clinic with a very high fever. He isn't the hospital's only emergency; Doctors Rachel Carlson and Judith Glass have their hands full. Police Detective Jim Bishop (Railsback) brings his partner in with a gunshot wound from a stakeout gone bad, and there's also a couple, the Bakers, expecting a baby. But things go from hectic to terrifying when Fred seizes up and promptly regurgitates an insect pupa, which soon hatches into a particularly nasty-looking praying mantis-like critter.


In an effort to identify the insect, the hospital calls in entomologist Elliot Jacobs. But before he can get a look at the thing, the aforementioned Free-Range Children decide to feed the thing some growth hormones when the lab technician who is supposed to be guarding the specimen is lured away from her duties by an orderly for a little hospital hanky-panky. The bug grows gigantic, kills the technician, the orderly and then a hapless janitor (but not those pesky kids), before making its lair in the tunnels under the hospital. Now Rachel, Jim the detective and Elliot the entomologist have to figure out how to combat the big bug, while Judith struggles to deal with the infection it carries, which it turns out is highly contagious, and all before the military decides to take drastic measures against the hospital full of innocent people.


It's basically "Aliens in a hospital."

Tropes used in this movie:

  • Abandoned Hospital: Partially. The Hill Valley Clinic was once an insane asylum, and parts of it are still unused and decrepit and spooky, definitely fitting the trope. Needless to say, it is in these portions of the building (along with the utility tunnels) that the killer bugs make their home.
  • Action Hero: Jim the cop steps up to the challenge ably, taking on giant mutant bugs like nobody's business. Rachel even gets her turn at combating the final creature, Ripley-style.
  • Action Survivor: Elliot the entomologist. The poor guy endures a lot but manages to make it to the end with nothing more serious than an injured leg.
  • Adorkable: Elliot, with a dash of Keet. His enthusiasm for his profession is something to behold.
  • All Webbed Up: The people the creatures don't immediately rip apart get cocooned to eat later.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The main monster(s), which look like big black praying mantises.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: The original monster is a hermaphrodite, and gives birth to another one of its kind. One serves as the "male," the other the "female," and they incestuously mate and lay lots of eggs (apparently forgoing the original parasitism portion of the initial creature's life cycle).
  • Body Horror: In spades. The creatures' life cycle of parasitizing human beings who then regurgitate the larvae in a pupal state, complete with bulging lumps in their necks and white gunk dribbling out of their mouth, is quite horrific. Then there's the disease, which, according to Judith, causes the bones to liquefy and flood the circulatory system, causing the patient to go into cardiac arrest (and explode if defibrillators are used in an attempt to restart their heart).
  • Chekhov's Gun: The laboratory where the hospital is performing experiments with new kinds of surgical lasers. It's what Jim and Rachel use to kill the final creature. As well as all the booze Marwella and her friend get sauced on. It turns out it's the cure for the disease.
  • Closed Circle: The hospital, after the military quarantines it.
  • Darkness = Death: The creatures generally prefer lurking in the shadows and grabbing anyone dumb enough to wander in.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Both Rachel and Judith have their moments.
  • Death by Looking Up: The janitor.
  • Death by Sex: Lab technician Alice and her boyfriend Ted, who sneak off to fool around, are the first people who get killed by the creature.
  • Doomed Hurt Guy: Poor, poor Fred. He gets a Hope Spot when he survives vomiting up the larvae, but then explodes like a human Gusher's Fruit Snack when Judith attempts to use the defibrillators on him.
  • The End... Or Is It?: It's revealed at the very end that one egg was overlooked.
  • Escaped from the Lab: The initial insect specimen, after the kids give it the growth hormone.
  • Eureka Moment: Judith has one of these when she realizes that the reason Marwella and Dede haven't succumbed to the disease the insects carry is because they've been drinking loads and loads of alcohol.
  • Eye Scream: It turns out that the final creature's eyes are its weak point, and Jim kills it by zapping it in its eyes using the surgical laser.
  • Free-Range Children: The kids from the pediatric ward seem to have the run of the hospital, entering both highly classified research labs and dangerous utility areas at their leisure.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: The hospital is experimenting with powerful surgical lasers (a little too powerful, in fact). Jim and Rachel use one of these to kill the final creature at the end.
  • Gorn: It's an 80s horror movie, after all.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: When the janitor gets killed, he's yanked upwards offscreen and we see blood, slime and a shoe drop down to the floor. And during the climax, a technician who walks in at just the wrong moment is seized and killed mostly off camera, but we see his intestines and various other viscera splattering onto the floor along with one of his shoes.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: The Lincoln Institute. It would appear it's basically an Expy of the CDC.
  • Hospital Hottie: Brandon Tenold described Judith as "Nurse Sexy Librarian," and Rachel is quite attractive as well. This trope is taken to the extreme on the movie's VHS box cover, depicting the monster stalking several scantily-clad nurses, at least one of whom is being subjected to the Touch of the Monster.
  • Immune to Bullets: The "male" monster, according to Elliot. Lasers to the eyes are another matter.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: As the movie progresses, Marwella and one of her friends take to really hitting the sauce pretty hard. Alcohol ends up being the cure for the disease.
  • Insect Queen: The "female" bug. She guards the nest and runs the show.
  • It Can Think: As Jim, Rachel and Elliot discover at one point, the insects are intelligent enough to cut the power.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Mr. and Mrs. Baker have a disagreement about the proper pronunciation of "database."
  • Karma Houdini: Joey and his friends (the aforementioned kids) receive no comeuppance for basically causing the whole thing by giving the bug the growth hormone. Arguably, they make up for it by showing Jim and Rachel where the bugs' nest is, but, still, nobody calls them on their shenanigans.
  • Kill It with Fire: How Jim and Rachel take out the "female" and her eggs, by torching the ever-loving crap out of the monsters' nest.
    • This is also how the Lincoln Institute's hazmat team "solves" problem of the original infected plant in Marwella's greenhouse; unable to determine which plant it was that afflicted Fred, they just burn the entire property down.
  • Killed Offscreen: Alice and Ted both die off camera. We just see the very gooey aftermath.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: The movie tries this with Joey, who specifically is in the hospital for leukemia, but he's such an insufferable Bratty Half-Pint and he causes the whole thing, so no real sympathy is ever wrung from him no matter how much sad music Patrick Coleman and Paul Novotny's score lays on us.
  • Miracle-Gro Monster: Thanks to some handy growth hormones kept around where Free-Range Children can get to it.
  • Monster Is a Mommy: The largest of the bugs is the parent of all the other killer bugs in the movie, including her own mate.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The entire thing could've been avoided if only Joey and his friends hadn't decided to feed the mysterious blue powder (which turns out to be growth hormones) to the bug in the lab. Thanks a lot, kids.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Hospital director Roger Levering, who doesn't see people vomiting up larvae and then bursting as anything to get too worried about, and refuses to even contact professional help until its almost too late.
    • He becomes nicer as the movie progresses, however, and even becomes a Reasonable Authority Figure once the severity of the giant killer bug situation becomes impossible to ignore, and even helps get many of the patients and staff to safety near the end. On top of this, his hesitancy in contacting the Lincoln Institute becomes understandable considering their reaction to the situation is to have the hospital surrounded with armed troops and shoot anyone who tries to escape.
  • Off with His Head!: Some poor schmoe on crutches has his head ripped off by the monster during its rampage at the end.
  • Parental Abandonment: According to Rachel, Joey's parents just dumped him at the hospital after he was diagnosed with leukemia and never come to see him.
  • Patient Zero: Poor Fred the handyman. All he wanted to do was fix Marwella's light fixtures in her greenhouse and maybe take her out to dinner. Then he pukes up an insect pupa and explodes in a bloody mess.
  • The Plague: The killer insects carry a particularly nasty disease with liquefies human bones.
  • Quarantine with Extreme Prejudice: What the Lincoln Institute enforces upon the hospital. In the Institute's defense, the infection is that deadly.
  • Railing Kill: Narrowly averted with Elliot. The monster knocks him over a safety railing on the upper walkway of the laser lab, but he survives his fall with only a hurt leg and a minor head injury.
  • Super Window Jump: Jim does one while fleeing from the creature through the maternity ward.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Albert Hooper from the Lincoln Institute. He is willing to burn down Marwella Harbison's entire property, quarantine the hospital and have anyone trying to leave shot on sight without remorse, all to contain the infection the insect(s) carry. He isn't portrayed as villainous, exactly, merely callous, and is instead simply doing what he thinks he has to do to prevent the disease from spreading.


Example of: