If you think Lionel seems o.k.. then you haven't met his family! Mother's boy Lionel Cosgrove is 25 and has never been kissed. Then, one fateful day in 1957, Lionel's uneventful existence changes forever. Drawn to the lovely Paquita, a young Spanish girl from the local corner shop, the couple plan a tryst at the nearby zoo. Thinking themselves alone at last, the young lovers are unaware that their every move is being observed from the bushes by Lionel's possessive Mum. Sneaking close, Mum stumbles against a cage, which contains a vicious Sumatran Rat monkey, which duly sinks its toxic fangs deep into her flesh. When the strange wound transforms into putrefying virus, Lionel and the unwitting Paquita are sent spiralling into an endless nightmare.
The important thing to remember when watching this is don't take it or yourself too seriously. Set in the 1950s, it has a kind of weird charm to it. Kind of like 'The Sullivans' gone wrong. Badly wrong. It tips its hat to a number of great horror films such as 'Halloween' and 'The Thing'. There is of course a sweet love story told throughout the gore and splatter of the hero 'Lionel' and his sweetheart 'Paquita'. I did find the slapstick comedy a bit grating after an hour or so. There's only so many times you can see the intrepid Lionel trip over something and find it funny. But hey, I'm being unkind. Apart from getting a chance to see the now megastar director Peter Jackson learn his craft on this movie, you get to see how horror films used to be made. Mostly (if not all) of the gratuitous blood and guts would have been handmade with love and care in the days before CGI. To repay their colossal efforts not sat in front of a computer, for that and no other reason, this film deserves to be watched.