This movie was requested by my friend for life Adam Cicco, the only person I know that could fall asleep during Independence Day, one of the loudest movies I’ve ever seen in a theater. That said, I dozed during an incredibly loud Fantomas show once, so I get it.
The Monster Squad is a pre-teenager club of monster kids who find themselves in the midst of a battle against the very monsters they idolize. It’s everything I wanted to happen in my life before — and after — puberty. It was written by Shane Black and Fred Dekker and directed by Dekker, who was also behind Night of the Creeps.
The Monster Squad is Sean, Patrick, Eugene, Pete the dog and Horace, as well as Sean’s sister Phoebe, who keeps trying to join. I love how their clubhouse has a poster for Fulci’s Zombie!
They find the diary of Van Helsing, but can’t translate it from German until they finally talk to the owner of the scariest house in the neighborhood (Leonardo Cimino, who famously ended the first night of the miniseries V by spraypainting the red logo over the Visitors’ poster).
It turns out that there’s an amulet composed of concentrated good that keeps the monsters from getting too strong. For some reason, one day out of every century, the forces of good and evil reach a balance. That’s when the otherwise indestructible amulet can be destroyed. Also, by coincidence, that is in a few days and the kids are the ones who have to find the amulet and use it to send the monsters to Limbo.
Van Helsing had tried this a hundred years ago, but his old enemy Dracula survived. Van Helsing’s students hid the amulet in the United States, so the monster puts together his team of evil to get it back. There’s the Mummy, a Gillman, three teenage girls that Dracula transforms into his brides and a reanimated Frankenstein’s Monster (Tom Noonan!), all of whom he uses to get the amulet.
The Monster ends up meeting up with Phoebe and becoming a good guy. Even the Wolfman (Jon Gries!) isn’t too into the cause, as he calls the police to try to get them to help when he’s in human form.
The kids eventually go one-on-one with the very monsters they’ve grown up loving. This movie is packed with great special effects and has grown to inspire plenty of movie lovers, the same way that it was inspired by Universal horror movies. In fact, many people feel that this is the best version of Dracula ever.
While not a critical or commercial success, The Monster Squad has become a cult classic. Platinum Dunes was going to remake it at one point, but luckily that never came to pass. The end of this film, where Frankenstein willingly goes into the portal makes me as sad as the end of Son of Kong every single time that I see it.
Bonis: Listen to us talk about this movie after seeing it as the drive-in.