Directed by Fred Dekker, 1987
In regards to childhood adventure flicks, The Monster Squad is second only to the Goonies. And, in some categories, The Monster Squad actually kicks The Goonies ass. Plus, if you don’t like either flick, you didn’t have a childhood. End of discussion.
Why does the Monster Squad kick so much ass? It isn’t just because it’s a group of 12 year olds fighting Dracula, the Woflman, the Mummy, the Creature From the Black Lagoon and Frankenstein on the even of the apocolypse. It is because the script isn’t just brilliant, but it is mature. The dialogue isn’t written as if it were something the ideal 12 year old kid would say, it is everything a real 12 year old would say. It is hysterical left and right. Hell, the fat kid in the gang is actually always refereed to as Fat Kid! That is great! This is what you get when Shane Black, who wrote my favorite script from 2005 with Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, is given a writing credit; Nothing less than all-out ass kickery.
But just having the kids in the movie curse realistically doesn’t make a movie amazing. We can’t forget the complete collection of all of the classic movie monsters. Dracula is a bad ass as he downs cops throughout (and even yells in the face of a 6 year old girl, “Give me the amulet you bitch!”) and resurrects all the other monsters. Frankenstein, is of course, the gentle giant as he befriends the Monster Squad. The Wolfman is the helpless victim who can’t control his animal side. The Mummy is a little boring, but the Mummy was never really all that creative in nature to begin with. And the Creature from the Black Lagoon kicks ass just because he is in this movie. All of the monsters look great, even by 1987 standards, thanks to the always inspired work of Stan Winston. Nothing looks bad when that man is involved.
On top of the innocently vulgar dialogue and the classic monsters, people actually die in the movie. People get shot, they get blown up, they get run over by cars, they get stabbed. It is a movie for kids, not a movie engineered for kids by the local PTA. Kids want to see this stuff, even at age 12, and I have nothing but respect for a movie that delivers it with class; never gets gory, but never pulls a punch, either.
I only wish it were available on DVD. As far as I know, there are no plans for a release, so we’ll have to stick with our bootlegs until some studio steps up to the plate – they’re sitting on a gold mine. I thought VH1 would have taught execs that the 80′s is the new hottness by now…