The Monkey’s Paw is a horror short story, published in England in 1902, by author W. W. Jacobs.
The story involves Mr. and Mrs. White and their adult son, Herbert. Sergeant-Major Morris, a friend of the Whites who has been part of the British Army in India, introduces them to the monkey’s paw, telling of its mysterious powers to grant three wishes and of its journey from an old fakir to his comrade, who used his third wish to wish for death. Sergeant-Major Morris throws the monkey’s paw into the fire but White quickly retrieves it. Morris warns White, but White, thinking about what he could use the paw for, ignores him. Mr. White wishes for £200 to be used as the final payment on his house. Having made the wish his son, Herbert, is killed by machinery at the factory where he works. The couple gets compensation of £200.
Ten days after the funeral, Mrs. White, almost mad with grief, asks her husband to use the paw to wish Herbert back to life. Reluctantly, he does so. Shortly afterwards there is a knock at the door. Mrs. White fumbles at the locks in an attempt to open the door. Mr. White knows, however, that he cannot allow their revived son in, as his appearance will be too hideous. Mr. White was required to identify the body, which had been mutilated by the accident. It has now lain buried for more than a week. While Mrs. White tries to open the door, Mr. White makes his third wish (for his son to be dead and in his grave), and the knocking stops. Mrs. White opens the door to find no one there…
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In 2011, Ricky Lewis Jr made a short film adaptation:
The story has been adapted into other media many times, including:
A 1933 ‘lost’ US adaptation by RKO directed by Wesley Ruggles, Ernest B. Schoedsack
A 1948 British film adaptation directed by Norman Lee.
A 1965 episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour TV series entitled ‘The Monkey’s Paw – A Retelling’
The segment “Wish You Were Here” from the EC Comics 1972 film Tales from the Crypt is an adaptation.
A short film adaptation directed by James Henschen. Filmed in 2003. Tribalfilm
In an episode of The Monkees, titled “The Monkee’s Paw”, a nightclub magician sells the band a cursed monkey’s paw in revenge after they unwittingly force him out of a job.
Treehouse of Horror II – In the 1991 Halloween episode of The Simpsons, one of the stories is about how Homer gets a monkey’s paw that grants him four wishes. Each member of the Simpson family (except for Marge) makes a wish, which have terrible consequences. In a humorous twist, Homer gladly gives the paw to his neighbor Ned Flanders, only for Ned’s wishes to (apparently) go off without any of the usual consequences, causing Homer to grumble “I wish I had a monkey paw.
Five Superb Tales of Horror and the Macabre, 1972, Story Four, “Wish You Were Here” is an adaptation of The Monkey’s Claw featuring Richard Greene.
The book Prom Nights From Hell: a novel consisting of 5 short stories written by Meg Cabot, Stephenie Meyer, Kim Harrison, Michele Jaffe and Lauren Myracle. Myracle’s The Corsage is an adaptation of The Monkey’s Paw.
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“The Monkey’s Paw” was adapted as a radio play in 1979 as part of the CBC radio drama series Nightfall.
“The Monkey’s Paw” was again adapted as a radio play narrated by Christopher Lee in 2004 as part of the BBC radio drama series Christopher Lee’s Fireside Tales
In the manga xxxHolic, a graduate student studying ancient folklore insists on obtaining the Monkey’s Paw even after being told that she is not fated to have it and will suffer horrible consequences if she were to go against fate and use it. She disregards this warning as she firmly believes that bad things only happen to other people. Five wishes (a wish for each finger on the Monkey’s Paw) later, she found out too late that she was wrong.
In the book The Dead Zone, by Stephen King, the character John Smith relates his newfound psychic powers to the wishes granted in The Monkey’s Paw, realizing that his powers can help people, but they can frighten them away, and that they give him unwanted publicity.
In The Sims 2 for consoles, when a player selects Search Couch while sitting on a sofa, he can find a “Mysterious Zombie Monkey Paw”.
In the web-comic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, the 4 August 2010 comic features a severed monkey’s paw that grants wishes with consequences.
In the novel adaptation of 1985 film The Goonies, there is a sequence of spooky stories told by the main characters, and Mouth recalls a story which Stef promptly identifies as The Monkey’s Paw. This sequence isn’t in the movie.
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