Horror movies were and are one of my very favorite genres, so when Fred Dekker Wrote and Directed Monster Squad with Shane Black, they unleashed one of the most iconic films of it’s time, but sadly one that not many people remember. So today, let’s remind you of the epic film starring Tom Noonan, Duncan Regehr, Andre Gower, Robby Kiger, Stephen Macht and more.
Todays Key Movie:
Led by Count Dracula himself, the classic ‘Universal Monsters’ have returned and are hellbent on taking over the world, starting with the city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It soon falls to Monster Squad leader Sean, his pack of teenage friends and an unlikely ally to join forces to put an end to the reign of the Monsters!
Why this movie?
As a kid, I adored horror films so when a film was released that had kids my age as heroes fighting the classic monsters I grew up with, it became an instant classic in my mind. This was another film in the same vein as The Goonies but with a cool monster twist. Even though the premise seems silly, somehow director Fred Dekker was able to create something special.
I think I watched this film dozens of times over and, when it was finally released on DVD, I had to own a copy. Each time I re-watch this film, I find myself a kid again and it is marvelous.
Okay, you like this film, but is it really a ‘good film’?
Universal Studios has been trying to bring back their classic monsters for decades, attempting everything from amazing Dark Fantasies to epic adventures to movies that make absolutely no sense. Recently, thanks to the success of the Marvel films, studios have determined that the only way to keep people coming back is to have all of their films in a shared universe, one that encompasses all of their creations, because good story certainly doesn’t help. So far, that has been a predictable abysmal failure. The irony behind all of these attempts to remake their classic franchises is that Fred Dekker and Shane Black managed to pull off in 1987 the very shared universe that Universal has failed so miserably at. If they had only looked back into their library they would have found this little gem that managed to create the ultimate Universal Monster team up in just one epic film.
The fact that Dekker and his team were able to create a singular film that brings in all of the favorites without compromising story and even doing each character justice, is a testament to solid story telling. Dekker, who was known for his fun camp in Night of the Creeps, had a tremendous vision that still resonates to this day.
There are subtleties in this film that go unnoticed in in early viewings but really help to establish the characters in the film. One specific instance is that one of the kids comment that the ‘Creepy German Guy’ seems to know a lot about monsters, he replies that he has had some experience as the camera pans to a tattoo on his forearm. The Tattoo is an identification number from his time in a Nazi Prison Camp.
Dekker even gives the monsters a chance to shine as their own characters, with Frankenstein’s Monster portrayed as a simple but kind person and the Wolfman as someone who is desperate to stop his other half from emerging, going as far as to turn himself in at the police station. This kind of character development is rare in a film like this and adds some much needed depth to these classic creatures. There are even some really cool nods to the classic films that keen eyed viewers will pick out. I won’t spoil them here, but they are pretty rad.
Yes, the film has it’s campy and even downright silly moments but overall it is a fun, enjoyable movie that keeps giving with each additional viewing. Give it a go, you won’t regret it.
OK, where do I get this movie?
You can get a copy here for around $20 or find it on your favorite streaming service for about half that price. Occasionally it pops up on Hulu and Netflix but not often. It is certainly one that I think you will enjoy, camp and all, and is one that absolutely holds up even today.
Of course, the trailer…
Late To The Game 12/27/18
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