PLOT: 12-year-old Sean Crenshaw and his best friend Patrick are die hard monster fanatics. Along with their friend Horace (AKA Fat Kid), junior high tough guy Rudy, Sean's kid sister Phoebe (the feeb), and little Eugene they come together and talk monsters. But when Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Gill Man, and The Mummy come to their small town to gain control of an amulet and control the world, Sean leads his friends into action to protect their town from the forces of evil.
REVIEW: Movies like The The Monster Squad are the stepping stones that helped shape me into the horror fan I am today. As a kid, I was admittedly a bit of a wuss who didn't like anything scary. .For whatever reason, as a young lad of only around 5 years old this VHS box art with the kids against a car, and the silhouetted shadows of monsters in the background really piqued my interest, Needless to say, I have been hooked ever since, and I’d say it’s become one of my most-watched movies. The best part, you wonder? It still holds up pretty damn well. You know how sometimes there are old flicks that you didn’t actually see when they were around, then they get hyped up and you finally see them but wind up feeling disappointed? I don’t expect that’ll happen with this one. I think I'd have enjoyed it even if I'd never seen it before.
Just look at the plot- fun-loving kids vs. the Universal Monsters (well, they’re not technically the official Universal Monsters, but close approximations). How awesome is that? Quite, I'd say. On top of this, the film's acting is really worlds better than you'd expect- Duncan Regehr is top notch as the sophisticated, aristocratic Dracula, Tom Noonan is a fantastic representation of Frankenstein's monster, and each one of the child actors does a respectable job of playing real children. Napoleon Dynamite fans will spot Uncle Rico himself (Jon Gries) as the human Wolfman!
The Monster Squad has a lot of awesome moments: the drive-in stealing on the roof, the Castle Dracula period piece at the beginning, the Wolfman's transformation (and subsequent explosion), Dracula's cold-hearted "bitch" line, The “Mummy in my closet”, and just about every single scene Frankenstein's monster is in. so many more. Who could forget “Wolfman's got nards!"? If it is you, shame on you.
It all works very well- The Monster's relationship with Phoebe is an anchor for the film, providing some sweet emotional moments that show love can come from the most unlikely of sources. There’s even a subplot about Sean and his struggling family life at home, which is always a little surprising in how honest it seems (I always thought Sean’s Dad was such a cool movie Dad). His parents’ marriage is falling apart, and Sean has to find a way to cope (hello, Monster Squad). Also, another important factor leading to this film's success is that everything is played seriously. Of course this doesn't mean that the film doesn't have laughs, it IS about monsters and all; what I should say is that the actors don’t 'camp' up their roles. This makes the whole film much more entertaining and engaging, and a tad more realistic.
The Monster Squad is also great because it can appeal to many different age groups, from the young fans to the die-hard, everyone can find something to love here. Stan Winston's creature effects were awesome, and Wolfman's transformation is still reminiscent of many moments I spent hiding underneath a blanket.bOn top of all of this, The The Monster Squad is pure 80s nostalgia. This is zeitgeist at its best, people. You'll fall in love with this squad all over again, from Horace to Rudy. Check this out, you won't regret it.
BEST TNA SCENE: There's some implied teen nudie pics and some wild, swinging parents..but no real meat here for anyone.
BEST GORE BIT: The movie isn’t necessarily super gory (remember, it was kind of for kids), but it definitely has hard edges to it- this movie would never be made the same way today. I’d have to say the thing that most resembles gore would have to be when the Wolfman winds up getting a firecracker stuck in his chest, sailing out a window and exploding in midair. At this point, we get to see his various smoking pieces scattered all over the place. They slowly begin to twitch, in a rhythmic pattern. Before you know it, they all pull back together and Wolfie’s back in business. Why? No silver bullet, you see!
HALLOWEEN DRINKING GAME:
Have a sip when:
-Someone's pounding back a drink or sucking down some smoke
-You see a winged bloodsucker
-Poor Horace gets called "Fat Kid"
-Someone mentions one of the names of the titular monsters
Grab yourself 2 drinks when:
-A young kid starts cussin'
-You see some sort of interdimensional portal
-Dracula bizarrely uses a man-made weapon of some sort instead of his Dracula powers
Finish your drink when:
-There's a monster in someone's closet
-Anyone mentions that one of the monsters has genitalia