The Monster Squad

The Monster Squad (1987) - IMDb

Day 20 of the NOFS podcast 31-day horror challenge is werewolf themed. This wasn’t really a hard choice, just had a lot to choices. I went with The Monster Squad because it has a werewolf in it. This was my introduction to the classic monster when I was young. Upon my rewatches more recently I’ve picked up on the more subtle stuff that was in the movie. Not all of it holds up that well today but its still a fun watch.

The Monster Squad was directed by Fred Dekker. It was written by Dekker and Shane Black. Black and Dekker have worked on multiple projects together as a writing team. The most recent was The Predator from 2018, which while fun wasn’t a very good movie. Dekker himself had directed Night of the Creeps previously and has only directed a few projects. The last major project was RoboCop 3, which has a whole different set of problems.

It stars Andre Gower, Robby Kiger, Brent Chalem, Ryan Lambert, Michael Faustino, Phoebe Crenshaw, Jonathon Gries, Stephen Macht, Duncan Regehr, Tom Noonan, Mary Ellen Trainor, and Leonardo Cimino. Out of the kids Andre Gower, Brent Chalem, and Ryan Lambert are the ones that get to do the most in their roles. Robby Kiger is mostly there for one-liners and reactions. The adults all get to deal with heavy stuff, especially the parents. I’m not sure if Duncan Regehr gets enough credit for being terrifying in his role as Dracula, because his take on the character is the angriest version that I’ve seen. There’s an anger bubbling under the surface.

The Monster Squad focuses on a group of six kids and a dog. It all starts out just as a group of kids that are fans of monster movies. The leader, Sean, gets the diary of Van Helsing from his mom who had gotten it from a yard sale. They hear about weird happenings around the town, especially Sean since his dad is a cop. They get help from the Scary German Guy and decide to fight against the growing force of evil in their town.

The creature effects are just absolutely outstanding in The Monster Squad. The designs of the classic monsters are changed but they are still easily visible. You can tell what they’re supposed to be as soon as you see them. The werewolf and Gill-man designs are off putting because they’re extra monstrous compared to the iconic designs. The mummy has a basic design but what they’re able to do with the makeup deserves to be praised. Frankenstein’s monster’s design is changed just ever so slightly but you can still tell who he is. Stan Winston lived up to his name for these redesigns. Bruch Broughton’s score helps create the terror whenever the kids have to face the monsters. It also really helps make the tender moments even more touching.

The Monster Squad is a flawed movie. I mostly say that because of the language that is used, which was common when the movie came out. While that stuff makes me cringe when I hear it, and the weird voyeurism does too, its still a fun movie. I give The Monster Squad 8 indestructible amulets out of 10.

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