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The Monster Squad (20th AE)
DVD disk
Nov 22, 2007 By: Quigles
The Monster Squad (20th AE) order
Director:
Fred Dekker

Actors:
Andre Gower
Robby Kiger
Stephen Macht

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A group of kids with a monster fixation discover that Dracula has rounded up all the other legendary monsters and plans to rule the world. Naturally, only they can stop them.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Everybody adores THE GOONIES, but where's the MONSTER SQUAD love? Even after 20 years, it continues to retain its status as the most kickass children's horror film ever put on celluloid. Part of this is undeniably due to how "adult" a lot of it is, featuring things you would never get to see in kid's films today. This includes, but is not limited to: cursing galore, a certain monster exploding quite graphically courtesy of some dynamite, nude pictures of a hot underage female being used to blackmail her, and my personal favorite, a peeved Dracula shouting at a five-year-old girl, "YOU BITCH!" And then of course, there's also that miraculous discovery that The Wolf Man does, in fact, have nards.

Parents may be skeptical at exposing their kids to all this, which is fine if they want them to grow up into pussies, but it's the older audiences that are most likely to appreciate this type of classic '80s camp anyway. I think most children today have unfortunately outgrown the type of awesomeness that can only be achieved by combining classic horror icons like Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, and The Gill Man (a.k.a. the "Creature from the Black Lagoon") all into one movie. For the rest of us though, this film is an utter delight, loaded with the perfect amount of horror and comedy, and even some surprisingly well-done effects (that only now appear dated).

In standard horror fashion, THE MONSTER SQUAD takes the most unlikely scenario imaginable and then throws in coincidence after coincidence, all so it can conclude in expectedly climactic fashion. But that's all part of the fun. It's not supposed to break the rules of cinema; in fact, it indulges itself in them, sometimes to the point of hilarity. At several points they even address each individual monster's weakness, later followed by a montage set to hip '80s rock with them preparing the necessary artillery. I remember wondering though, "Just what the hell is the sea creature's weakness?" It's a question that's never asked. They do, however, answer it...

(*SPOILER ALERT* -- Highlight below to find out...)
Answer: SHOTGUN BLAST TO THE CHEST, MOTHERF*CKER.

Ah, yet another reason why I love THE MONSTER SQUAD.
THE EXTRAS
With a title like "Two-Disc 20th Anniversary Edition," naturally you'd assume there would be a previously released DVD available somewhere. But alas, this is actually THE MONSTER SQUAD's first ever release on this medium. Luckily, it was worth the wait.

DISC 1

Audio Commentary (with co-writer/director Fred Dekker and actors Andre Gower, Ryan Lamber, and Ashley Bank): A wonderful retrospective track with the film's director and select members of the cast (who are now much older). Not hugely insightful, but plenty of fun.

Audio Commentary (with Fred Dekker and cinematographer Bradford May): This is the more technical/informative of the two commentaries, and is equally as entertaining.

DISC 2

Five-Part Documentary: "Monster Squad Forever!" (1:27:57): A lengthy, in-depth series of making-of featurettes, perfect for all fans of the film. It includes newly recorded interviews, outtakes, and still images. Basically everything you'd want to know about the film is discussed in detail.

"A Conversation with Frankenstein" (8:33): An amusing featurette about Tom Noonan (the actor behind Frankenstein's monster), who stayed in character all throughout filming.

Deleted Scenes (8:18): As interesting as these brief excised moments are for fans, they don't add much to the film overall.

Also included are an Animated Storyboard Sequence for Final Battle, a Still Gallery, the Original Theatrical Trailer and a TV Spot.

Miscellaneous: Those of you that dislike the DVD's cover, do not fear. They have additionally included a bonus insert that features the film's original poster on one side, and a message from director Fred Dekker on the other. Very cool.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
THE MONSTER SQUAD is THE GOONIES by way of THE LITTLE RASCALS by way of every monster movie ever made. And yes, it's exactly as awesome as it sounds. It's the type of film that you can laugh at for how hilariously cheesy some of it is ("Hey fat kid... good job." "My name is Horace!" *COCKS SHOTGUN*), but still fully admire at the same time. This DVD has been long overdue, but at least they got it right the first time with a top-notch Two-Disc release. If you're a fan of '80s nostalgia, it's well worth a purchase.
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