The Monster Squad

"Very Good"

The Monster Squad Review


The concept alone is enough to have every 10-year old boy within a 10 mile radius salivating: all the classic monsters -- Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, the Mummy, the Wolfman, and the Gillman -- converge on suburbia and it's up to a cadre of kids to defeat them. Thrilled by the antics of the Frog brothers in The Lost Boys? Then The Monster Squad will be 82 minutes of bliss.

Horror fanatic Sean (Andre Gower) and his pals Patrick (Robby Kiger) and Horace (the late Brent Chalem) spend every waking hour obsessing over fright films and playing monster hunter games. Ah, if only a real ghoulie would stumble into their neighborhood! When the kids come into possession of Van Helsing's (the original vampire hunter) diary, the Squad gets more than it bargained for: Dracula has arrived in town looking for the book and he's brought a rag-tag collection of creeps with him. Let the monster rumble begin!

The mid-'80s were a fertile breeding ground for ensemble kid flicks: The Goonies revitalized swashbuckling adventure, Explorers sci-fi, and The Monster Squad horror. Like the others, The Monster Squad combines goofy humor with real scares (Stan Winston did the effects) and genuine mystery. It's edgy too. The kids in The Monster Squad act like real obnoxious kids do and the film's numerous one-liners (as heard in middle schools across America in 1987) have a ring of juvenile authenticity. When Horace (the Fat Kid) kicks the Wolfman between the legs, and gets the intended effect, he shouts, "Wolfman's got nards!" This thread runs the gamut from fart jokes to "faggot" and "homo" wise cracks. Edgy, indeed. But what The Monster Squad really delivers -- and why the film has developed a devout cult following in recent years -- is unbridled boy fantasy. Monsters! Violence! Fat kids! Smoking! BMX bikes! Hell, yes! The Monster Squad doesn't wrap with a moral lesson or solve any ethical dilemmas. It's about dangerous boys being dangerous, a love letter to the world before padded playground equipment and antibacterial wipes.

Director Fred Dekkar's first film was the similarly goofy Night of the Creeps (an often overlooked gem of satirical and gory horror) and it's obvious he and co-writer Shane Black (of Lethal Weapon fame) were raised on Famous Monsters of Filmland magazines and Abbott and Costello monster mash-ups, the flick is packed with classic horror movie in-jokes for knowing geeks (check out the Transylvanian armadillos). There are no marquee names in The Monster Squad (though Frankenstein's Monster actor Tom Noonan has certainly carved out a healthily odd film corner) and that's actually for the better. This is the monster's show.

The Monster Squad arrives on DVD after an interminable wait (there were numerous petition campaigns over the past decade) and genre fans will be quiet pleased. It's crude and silly but The Monster Squad is unbridled fun for every kid who ever daydreamed about kicking monster ass.



The Monster Squad

Facts and Figures

Run time: 82 mins

In Theaters: Friday 14th August 1987

Distributed by: Vestron Video

Production compaines: TriStar Pictures, Keith Barish Productions, TAFT Entertainment Pictures, Home Box Office (HBO)

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 53%
Fresh: 9 Rotten: 8

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Fred Dekkar

Producer: Keith Barish, , Jonathan A. Zimbert

Starring: Andre Gower as Sean, Robby Kiger as Patrick, Stephen Macht as Del, Duncan Regehr as Count Dracula, Ryan Lambert as Rudy, Ashley Bank as Phoebe, Michael Faustino as Eugene, Mary Ellen Trainor as Emily, Leonardo Cimino as Scary German Guy, as Detective Sapir, Lisa Fuller as Patrick's Sister, Jason Hervey as E.J., Brent Chalem as Horace, as Frankenstein, as Desperate Man

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