Sunday, October 25, 2009

Halloween Count Down: Day 7-Monster Squad (1987)

"Wolfman's got nards!" - Horace from The Monster Squad

And the seventh movie on my list is The Monster Squad (1987) directed by Fred Dekker and co-written by Shane Black who wrote the first Lethal Weapon movie (you know, the good one).

It's your basic story of Dracula leading the Frankenstein's Monster, a wolfman, a mummy and a gill man to a little town so they can get an amulet that will let the monsters can take over the world, and a bunch of kids, their little sister and a old Jewish man are the only ones to stop them.
This opened in August of 1987, and I walked from Kings Park (where I lived) to Commack so I could watch it (I was seventeen but I didn't drive yet). I went alone because none of my friends wanted to see a children's movie, or "those old monsters are stupid" (just so you know, I wound up punching out the guy who said years later, mostly because he was drunk and belligerent but I'm sure that foul comment was a small part of it too). Many others must of felt the same way because I was alone in the theater for a Saturday afternoon showing it's first weekend.

It was a kick seeing the "Classic" monsters back on the big screen. The characters of the monsters stay intact from what we remember from the Universal Monster movies (this wasn't put out by Universal). The wolfman can't control the beast inside him and just wants to be set free. Frankenstein's Monster is both child like and tragic. Duncan Regehr's Dracula is suave, blood thirsty and dangerous, at no time does he camp it up for laughs.

It would have been easy to make it goofy and have the monsters be buffoons but, like Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, Dekker and Black knew to have the film work the monsters had to play it straight. The boys reminded me of myself at their age, obsessed with monsters and reading Famous Monsters of Filmland. And they act like kids, not talking like adults with tiny bodies.

I recently rented the 20th Anniversary DVD (it was finally released after fans screamed for it for years) from Netflix to see if the movie held up after all these years, and it did. Get it, pop some popcorn, gather the family around and enjoy this one.

Until Next Time, Stay Insane!

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