Monster Squad (1987)

monstersquad_poster

  • Writers: Shane Black and Fred Dekker
  • Director: Fred Dekker
  • Starring: Andre Gower, Stephen Macht, Duncan Regehr
  • Medium: DVD

Synopsis

Dracula is back from the dead and enlists the help of Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolfman, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the Mummy to try to rule the world. Unfortunately, the town they are in also has a group of “loser” kids, who are really into monsters. They find out what is going on and try to open a vortex to send the monsters back to Limbo before Dracula can take over the world.

Review

It’s interesting to see the difference between what would fly now versus what was “common place” that you wouldn’t think much of in 1987. For instance, in the beginning of the film, the Fat Kid (“My name is Horace.”) is being taunted by some bullies, being called “faggot” a couple times. I may be wrong, but it didn’t seem like something that would be in a movie today. We are more sensitive these days, and it just reminded me how freely the insult was thrown around back in the day. Sad.

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My Name is Horace

Also, I imagine the monsters would be handled a bit differently today than they were in the time of this film. The actors portraying the monsters did an excellent job of playing the monsters true to form. This film was partly a comedy, and I imagine if someone had the idea for the film today, the monsters would all be bumbling idiots, with maybe Dracula being the exception or just an inept leader – maybe not so bumbling. N0 – Frankenstein’s Monster is very much how I’d think the monster should be portrayed based on Mary Shelley’s book. Dracula is not toned down for the kids. He is a vicious leader. The Wolf Man is in agony, as the human does not enjoy his curse when the moon turns full. The Creature and the Mummy do not have lines and are there just for the attack.

I could see where this film could be difficult to digest. Is it a harmless kids adventure? Is it a more serious monster movie? I expected more of a Goonies-esque adventure with monsters, but, although the villains in The Goonies are adult and mean, they were still a bit bumbling. When Dracula picks up a 5-year-old girl and calls her a bitch, there is no humor there or Dracula falling all over himself.

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The Monsters

You have the 80s styles. You have the 80s synth music. Some of it doesn’t hold up so well. But, when you are fan of this style and music, then it can just bring a smile to your face. Luckily, for me, I am a fan. It’s also a film that can pull at the heart a little bit, especially where Frankenstein’s Monster is involved. You get the lesson of not judging a book by its cover with the Scary German Guy. You have the typical 80s storyline of “losers” being heroes.

One thing I’d say is a pleasant re-discovery that kids were not always played down to. It’s a good reminder that we weren’t always so PC, afraid of offending everyone, and could be “mean” around kids, not always needing to protect them from everything. I do miss the days when we weren’t so overprotective of everything.

Rating:  7 Monsters out of 10 | So happy my wife would always watch this when she was younger, and she was able to share it with me and the kids.

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