#9 – The Monster Squad 1987
Bogus.” – Frankenstein’s Monster
In retrospect, I find it a little indefensible that I have The Monster Squad ranked above The Bride of Frankenstein, which is universally critically acclaimed and enough of an important milestone in film history to earn a place in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. The goal of which is to list up to 25 “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant films” each year, showcasing the range and diversity of American film heritage to increase awareness for its preservation.” But apparently I do. Probably because I was in second grade when the movie came out and it contains this scene. So sue me.
I like to describe The Monster Squad as a poor man’s Goonies vs. the classic Universal Monsters. How can that concept not be awesome? Answer: It can’t. It could only have been more awesome. By using the real Goonies. <Sigh>. What could have been? Oh well. Enough fantasizing about my Platonic ideal of The Monster Squad and on to the actual, imperfect version of the movie that we do have.
The Monster Squad of the film’s title is a club composed of pre-teens obssessed with the classic monsters of the golden age of monster movies. They hold their meetings in the treehouse of club leader, Sean. Somehow, Sean has just come into possession of the diary of Abraham Van Helsing, vampire hunter of Dracula fame. However, none of the Monster Squad is able to read it because it has been written in German. Lucky for them, there is neighbor just down the street known as “Scary German Guy” who might be able to translate it for them. “Scary German Guy” turns out to be not so scary, just German. He translates the diary for the Monster Squad, revealing that one day out of every century, the forces of good and evil reach a precarious balance. Conveniently for the plot, this century’s potential day of ushering in global evil, chaos, and destruction is just a couple of days away! In order to save the world, the Monster Squad needs to secure a magical amulet that will banish the monsters to Limbo, which Van Helsing unsuccessfully attempted to do a hundred years before. Somewhere nearby, Count Dracula is forming an alliance including Frankenstein’s monster, a Wolfman, a mummy, and a gill-man to recover the amulet first.
Like several of the other movies on my list, The Monster Squad has developed its own cult following. Prior to it’s release on DVD, a 20th anniversary reunion screening was organized at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas. It was attended by the director, Fred Dekker, and other cast members. Lines extended around the block for the two showings, with some people coming from as far away as California.
It also appears that a remake is in the works. I’m pretty certain this idea needs to be shot with a silver bullet, have a wooden stake driven through its heart, burned with fire and then have the ashes placed on a rocket which is then shot into the Sun. I am only settling for the Sun because the Phantom Zone from Superman does not actually exist. Remakes are almost unanimously inferior to the originals. Especially of movies from the 1980’s, which was just a decade full of unadulterated awesomeness. There is also the fact that Micheal Bay is listed among those involved. Have you seen what this jackass wants to do to The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? NO THANKS. Leave The Monster Squad alone.