The Monster Squad (1987). Film review of the comic horror about movie monsters

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Horror

2 stars film review fair passes the time

Film review by Jason Day of The Monster Squad, the 1987 comedy horror about a group of movie-mad American kids who battle famous monster characters from old Universal films when they descend on their town. Starring Andrew Gower and Duncan Regehr.

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Synopsis

A group of young, horror film fanatics who call themselves The Monster Squad team up with an elderly German man (Leonardo Cimino) to save their hometown when Count Dracula (Duncan Regehr) and monsters from Universal movies (the Wolfman, Frankenstein’s creature, the Mummy and the Creature from the Black Lagoon) descend on them.

Review, by @Reelreviewer

Wolfman’s got nards!

Horace (Brent Chalem) continues to talk a load of balls.

Knowing I was a fan of The Goonies (1985), a pal of mine suggested, nee implored me to watch a similar movie, The Monster Squad.

Had I seen it, she asked? No I had not, was my response but…intrigued was I by her description of it, for it ticked all of my cinematic boxes.

I mean, all of the main monsters from the Universal horror canon threaten to destroy a sleepy, white picket-fenced U S of A town, with annoying kids who eventually ingratiate themselves to you through their pluck and derring-do. What wasn’t there to like?

Well despite this smart set-up, The Monster Squad ultimately ends up as only a derivative, sub-Goonies cash-in that had much promise but doesn’t deliver.

Fail is the operative word. According to its Wikipedia entry, this production was budgeted at $12m and earned only $3.8m. A box office disaster met with mostly tepid reviews, it has none the less secured a strong cult following that has grown considerably since the passage of time.

A big giveaway that the original version of The Monster Squad might have been troubled is the duration of the piece. One hour and 19 minutes is a damn short time for a film, but even though The Monster Squad is hatched, matched and dispatched so swiftly, there is the overwhelming feeling nothing actually happens.

There’s lots of incidences but no actual action.

I mean, we have lots of villains, lots of heroes and lots of potential but…not much transpires. The Monster Squad has everything going for it but it doesn’t even get halfway up the stairs.

The possibility of a remake has been discussed and, as in any such case, years along this still remains open, but it is to be hoped any new filmmakers take a radically different approach.

Aside from the issues listed above, in the modern era of a post-#MeToo and The Two Coreys world, a lot would need to be different.

For instance, it would be difficult to imagine that a group of pre-pubescent boys would so happily sit down for copious amounts of pie with a creepy, single, elderly male neighbour. This sudden shift in acceptance of a person they have reviled for so long could be a result of excised footage but still…to modern eyes this scene is troubling.

Movie geek factoid: Co-star Mary Ellen Trainor plays Mom, just as she did in…The Goonies!

Cast & credits

Director: Fred Dekker. 1hr 19 mins/79mins. TAFT Entertainment Pictures/Keith Barish Productions/Home Box Office (HBO)/TriStar Pictures. (15).

Producers: Jonathan A. Zimbert.
Writers: Shane Black, Fred Dekker.
Camera: Bradford May.
Music: Bruce Broughton.
Sets: Albert Brenner.

Andre Gower, Robby Kiger, Stephen Macht, Duncan Regehr, Tom Noonan, Brent Chalem, Ryan Lambert, Ashley Bank, Michael Faustino, Mary Ellen Trainor, Leonardo Cimino, John Gries.

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