Friday, July 3, 2015
Weekly schlock and more 80's
If Goonies was never made would Monster Squad have been a bigger hit?
Another film from my tumultuous past The Monster Squad. This film is centered around a group of pre-teens that have a little tree house where they discuss their love of monster movies, books, comic, breakfast cereals that have anything to do with monsters. They are called…The Monster Squad and it is all fairly harmless. Well that is until Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, Wolfman and Gillman/Man-phibian/Creature from Black Lagoon, who are all very real, arrive in town. Why are they in town? Well see there is this magic amulet that can open a portal to destroy the world. This portal opens every 100 years and of course that is happening soon. Well that is if the Monster Squad along with help for the diary of the monster hunter Van Helsing and scary German guy, don’t stop them first!
The monster make up was done by a group of dudes including Stan Winston and their reimaging of the classic Universal monsters was damn descent. If there was a weak spot in the look it was with the Wolfman’s face. However, the transformation into the Wolfman is great (might freak out kiddies) as it is an American Werewolf in London-esqe transformation! There is even some bloody bits that happen. It isn’t too graphic, but there are limbs removed and gunshots. Still it is tame by most PG-13 movies today. Great makeup and practical effects for kids movie!
The kids are mostly forgettable. Sure there is Horace or “Fat Kid” as he is called by everyone in the film. We all know that he kicks Wolfman in the nutz and has the ”Wolfman has nards.” line. Phoebe the annoying kid sister. Eugene and his beagle Pete who seem fairly inane until the end, and he has that line about the Twinkie. Then there is Patrick Sean’s best friend who really doesn’t do much of anything. Sean is the club leader and would be hero of the film. Then there is Rudy.
Rudy is the tough cool kid who wants to be in the monster club for some reason. He looks like he should be staring in a film shot in the 50’s or as a little brother to one of the guys in The Outsiders. Looks aside Rudy is the bad ass of the group. Holy crap! He even smokes! He is the cool smoking kid at school that takes no guff! (Yes smoking is bad and all that stuff, but there was time when it was cool and tough, like in all movies pre 1990). Why is he in the club again? The rest of the kids don’t do much, but when the shit hits the proverbial fan, Rudy is the man! When the final conflict occurs Rudy grabs a bow and wooden stakes for arrows, spouts a sweet action movie line and proceeds to kick ass!
Along the way there are some comedy hits (dated and juvenile but…kid movie). There are a few attempts at scares (kid movie). There is some action. A sweet montage, since it is still the 80’s. Hell, we also learn a life lesson about real life monsters from Scary German Guy.
Damn Monster Squad was fun as a kid! As an adult it still held most of the same charm.
The monster makeup and practical effects are great. The no name list of kid actors is fine. The plot is a B-movie jumble, but you know that going into this movie. The action stuff is a bit above par for a movie aimed at kids. So what is the real issue with monster squad?
Watching this now I really notice the editing sucks. The villains do stuff with no setup. Characters come and go with no real reason. Character reactions and motivations feel out of place a lot of the time. There are events that are never explained and just feel out of place (Dracula’s hearse from nowhere, the swamp plantation house, the mummy in the closet for no reason, etc.). If the editing was better than so would the film.
That being said, The Monster Squad is still entertaining as a late 80’s pre-teen adventure flick. If you are wanting to introduce minions to monster movies this isn’t a bad place to start.