The Monster Squad (1987)

DVD Cover (Olive Films)
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Overall Rating 72%
Overall Rating
Ranked #2,972
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Count Dracula adjourns to Earth, accompanied by Frankenstein's Monster, the Wolfman, the Mummy, and the Gillman. The uglies are in search of a powerful amulet that will grant them power to rule the world. Our heroes - the Monster Squad are the only ones daring to stand in their way. --TMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: May 13, 2005
Our feature film starts out with Van Helsing (Jack Gwyllim) attempting to put an end to Count Dracula's reign of terror by having a young lady chant a spell over an amulet. Things don't quite work out as planned, however, as the opening narration tells us that "they blew it" (with "it" being putting an end to Dracula).

We then fast-forward to present day (1987), and our movie now centers around a group of kids who have quite the fascination with movie monsters, and as such, have formed a monster club in their tree house. Our group consists of four boys and one (unofficially) girl; there's the leader Sean (Andre Gower), Patrick (Robby Kiger), Horace aka Fat Kid (Brent Chalem), and Junior High bad-ass Rudy (Ryan Lambert). Sean's sister Phoebe (Ashley Bank) also hangs around with the boys, but per the club policy of "No Girls Allowed", she's not an official member of the club. Such sexists, these young boys. When Sean's policeman father Del (Stephen Macht) is called in to the station due to a man claiming to be a werewolf causing trouble, Sean's ears perk up... hey, it's a real-life monster, and Sean is a movie-monster fanatic. When Del arrives at the station, he finds out that the man claiming to be a werewolf just wanted to be locked up for the evening, as there was a full moon out... however, a struggle ensued, and one of the cops shot the man dead. What makes things even odder is the fact that the ambulance driver that was transporting his corpse to the mortuary has been murdered, and the corpse of the werewolf-man has vanished. Another call comes in from the museum, with the report being that one of the mummies has disappeared. Things are getting quite bizarre in this town, and it's only going to get worse when Sean discovers what's going on... Count Dracula (Duncan Regehr) is in town trying to find the amulet that can put an end to his evil, and with him, he has a few helpers. His help consists of other famous movie-monsters - Frankenstein's monster (Tom Noonan), The Creature From The Black Lagoon (Tom Woodruff, Jr.), Wolfman (Carl Thibault), and The Mummy (Michael Reid Mackay). It's up to the only people in town that know how to finish off these monsters to save the day, and with the help of "Scary German Guy" (Leo Cimino), they set out to do just that... but can a Monster Squad consisting of five preteens really defeat five classic movie monsters?

What we have here is a movie chock full of pure eighties cheese, but it's definitely deserving of it's cult classic status. Sure, the jokes are quite dated, and yes, the acting by these kids leaves a lot to be desired... but damned if it isn't one entertaining film. This movie is really aimed towards the kids, even though there's a few things that would probably require an R-rating today - these kids drop a number of words (faggot, homo) that really wouldn't go over too well with today's censors, and there's a very little bit of gore here and there - but it can certainly appeal to adults as well. The appeal of this movie isn't due to the technical merits, nor is it the acting or even the storyline; with the exception of the monster makeup jobs, most of the special effects leave a lot to be desired, the acting jobs put forth by the children is pretty lackluster, and although it was nice to see all of these classic movie monsters sharing the stage, the storyline wasn't exactly high in the originality department. What makes this movie stand the test of time and still come off as so entertaining is the fact that it's just a fun movie to watch; the storyline is silly, the idea of these monsters working together is pretty absurd, and the kids are quite the little smart asses, but it's all put together into one great package of cheesy fun.

As I mentioned above, the special effects are a bit lacking for the most part. However, the makeup and costume jobs on the monsters themselves are beautifully done. Each one looks exactly as they did in their original movies, and come off as being quite convincing without the use of CGI or computer enhancements. Although Dracula and Frankenstein get most of the screen time amongst these monster villains, the other three members of the group do get ample time to shine... none of them come off as being there to pad out the group or to squeeze in one more name, which is what one would normally expect from a movie that tries to cram in so many classic icons.

Sadly, due to the corporate big shots holding on to the rights to this film, various legal issues surrounding the use of the monster names, and various other half-assed issues, there's no legal way to attain this movie on DVD (with no releases pending at this time), and even a VHS copy will set you back more than a few bucks. The only way to get this movie on DVD is to pick up a poor-quality bootleg, and I find that to be just a bit sad; this movie really deserves a decent DVD release. It's not a perfect film, but it's certainly better than so much of the other garbage that hits DVD these days.

Overall, viewers will walk away from this with one of two reactions: they'll either love it or hate it. There's really no middle-ground on this one, and I take the "love it" direction on this one. 8/10.
bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added February 10, 2006 at 4:19pm
One of my very favorite films of all-time. Brings back so many memories from when I was younger. I actually had the good fortune to interview Fred Dekker early last year and I asked him if "Monster Squad" and "Night of the Creeps" were going to see a DVD release. He said that they likely would eventually, or he might go the David Lynch, "Eraserhead" route and just make them available on a website. 10/10
Ginose #2: Ginose - added July 28, 2007 at 9:38pm
Finally got my DVD copy of it. Last night, found it for sale at Blockbuster for $15.99. Worth EVERY penny and then some. I just watched it again for the first time in almost 10 years. IT is fuckin' awesome. Great for fans of monster movies or even those childhood epic movies. Watch it as soon as you can if you haven't. 9.5/10
Tristan #3: Tristan - added July 28, 2007 at 10:58pm
I had no idea Shane Black was a writer on this film. Anyway, I pre-ordered this as soon as I could find it on eBay for a reasonable price. It showed up a few days after it was released, and I can't remember loving a kid's movie more. I think this beats out The Goonies for me.
Lucid Dreams #4: Lucid Dreams - added July 12, 2010 at 12:56am
The acting sucked on this movie, but I still enjoyed it. 8/10
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