Movie Meltdown

Movie Meltdown is a proud member of the Battleship Pretension fleet!   

The Monster Squad

by Kyle Armstrong  

     Monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, Wolfman, etc. had been pushed aside to bring in the new monsters. Like Jason Vorhees, Freddy Kruger, and Michael Myers, but were the classics forgotten? Here is a film that says “No, and they should not be”. What makes these classics “classic”? Heart. While being the outcast and considered the “villains of society”, there was some sympathy to them. But that sympathy at the time could not be expressed, because at the end they were sentenced to their unfortunate demise - and it was expected of them. No matter how likable they were, characters like the Phantom, Quasimodo and the Monster. While there was still a tragic monster in the newer horror films, these classics had a much deeper and complex feel to them - and here is a film that pays homage.

     Back in October of 2013, I went to see a film that was a tribute to the old monster movies, this film was The Monster Squad. When Baxter Theaters showed this as one of their midnight movies, I did not know what to think, since I had never even seen it. The line was long and there were fans dressed as the characters for a quick costume competition before the show. When I finally saw the film I enjoyed the tone and homage it paid to the classic monster movies.

     This movie has much hilarity and heart to it. There are too many scenes in this film that make me glad to watch it. But my personal favorite is the drive in movie scene. The father can’t take his son Sean to the drive in, so Sean sits up on the roof with popcorn watching the movie from his house. Dad gets back, sits on the roof, and watches it with him. There is so much about that one scene that made me smile. When Sean sees the name ‘Alucard’ on a post it on the refrigerator and puts it all together matching it up to be Dracula is a great scene, reminded me of Dr. Acula from Edward D. Wood Jr.’s Night of the Ghouls.

     While having heart, it also had attitude. Instead of letting Dracula take over, these kids don’t sit back and cower, they make weapons of what they got and fight back. I see this film as very underrated, being that it started a newer line for kids films. Movies like ParaNorman and Monster House may have taken some tips from Monster Squad, while paying tribute to the classic monster movies. And also having main characters who are fans of these classics and know what to do in the situation.

     Then there are the quotes. Like “Creature stole my Twinkie” and of course the line that makes the money… “Wolfman’s got nards”. Why is that line so great? Is it the comedy in finding out or the kid Horace who questions it at that moment?

     The effects are amazing, the Gill-man looked absolutely fantastic, one of the best designs for this character I’ve ever seen. I had a small issue with Dracula, the acting was great, it may have been because he was too broad shouldered. And then there was Wolfman. Sometimes I liked his make-up and sometimes it bothered me, but mostly reminded me of the ones from Ginger Snaps.

     Frankenstein's Monster was great, the design was really good. It looked like a rugged Boris Karloff that has been through too much, but still has a heart. Then of course there is Kharis. For the Mummy they used Lon Chaney Jr.’s Kharis, rather than Boris Karloff’s Imhotep, and I can see why. While I love Boris Karloff’s Imhotep, Chaney’s Kharis looks like he has been through much more. He’s missing an eye, walks with a limp, and looks like he will fall apart at any moment - and The Monster Squad most definitely used this to their advantage.

     The film brought back these monsters for a most needed reunion and just may have resurrected these classics. The kids became good friends with Frankenstein's Monster in a Goonie-like manor. Think E.T. meets Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein


Go Back