The Monster Squad review by The Grim Ringler

The Monster Squad

The Monster Squad

If there is one thing good thing, and this is a hell of a good thing, I can say about the advent of the DVD age, its that a lot of forgotten and downright ignored films are getting a second life. These are not classics necessarily, but they are nonetheless beloved and many times important films, and Monster Squad is one of those films. Released to a general meh in the late 80s, the film has generated a lot of fan support and love over the years and, with the support of these fans, the film has finally made it to DVD, and I couldnt be happier.

The forces of evil (Dracula, the Frankenstein monster, the gill man, the wolf man, and a mean old mummy) have gathered again after 100 years of dormancy, returned to take possession of a magical amulet that will tip the scales of balance to the dark side should they be successful. Famed vampire hunter Van Helsing had been working to put an end to the monsters completely 100 years earlier but had failed and now it falls to five kids to do what he could not. Calling themselves the Monster Squad, after their love of all things monstrous and scary, these misfits must band together and, with the help of a scary old German guy, and a suspected virgin, the group sets themselves up as the only defense against these monsters and the possibility of their gaining power over the world.

An average film with a heart of gold, the magic that makes this work is the honesty in which its made. Its not meant to be a classic film, its meant to be a fun throwback to a bygone era. The great thing is that the modernized humor works with what really is an old fashioned story (its patterned after the classic Abbot and Costello films and the Little Rascals). The language, which can be coarse at times, is never forced, and feels true to the characters and moments. There are scares, though only of the PG-13 variety, but this isnt a kiddie film. Thanks to a very dark portrayal of Dracula, and some good acting from the other creatures, this really plays well to the age its marketed at. Its creepy, but not gory or horrific. Can you tell I like this movie?

This is one of those movies I remember from when I was a kid and my friends and I would talk about monsters and this sort of stuff. It is a reminder to a bygone era when people, not many, but some, made movies like this. Unfortunately, most teen oriented films now are pandering and more about image and lifestyle than telling a fun or interesting story. Kids dont matter as much as their dollars.

The movie suffers from a lack of development and its a real shame that there wasnt more money put into it. What you see is very well done, from special effects, to the filming, but it just feels like there was more story to tell than we get. And yes, there are a lot of convenient moments here. How, you might ask, does Dracula procure a mysterious car, dynamite, and happen to find the house where the magic amulet dwells. There are a lot of moments like that but, honestly, this is a movie you just have to roll with. Youre either down with it, or youre not.

This is a gem, and its blissfully packed. Commentaries, deleted scenes, an extensive documentary, and some odds and ends make this a joy for all fans of the film. If you are a fan, youre in for a treat, too, as the film looks stunning, and shows off the beautiful work director Fred Dekker did with the direction and camera work.

Its fantastic to be able to re-visit this movie and better yet that it still lives up to my memories of it. Welcome back Monster Squad, weve missed you.

c




8 out of 10 Jackasses
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