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The Monster Squad

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The original "Monster Squad" was a live action Saturday morning kids program that ran from 9/77- 9/78 on NBC TV. On the show Dracula, The Wolfman & Frankenstein were actually the good guys and fought crime from their wax museum headquarters with the help of the human curator. The curator was played by Fred Grandy, who went on to star in "The Love Boat'.

-Thanks to Xanda Tonge

More Trivia from The Monster Squad
One question: How on earth can a movie this good have been so rare and hard-to-find for so long?

The answer? Copyright problems. For this tragic reason, this superbly made family movie in the vein of "The Goonies" has, until recently, been largely hidden from view...

And it's a crying shame too, because it really is beautifully made and has something for everyone. The Monster Squad is a fun 'B-movie' which carries on the tradition of the old monster movies of the 1950's.

A ramshackle bunch of kids led by Sean (ANDRE GOWER) calling themselves 'The Monster Squad' live in a town where everything is starting to go haywire. A man walks into a police station begging to be incarcerated because it is a full moon. Needless to say the police think he's simply crazy. Only later does it start to appear that he's something else entirely.

Meanwhile, above, a plane carrying strange cargo in the form of coffins and artifacts has problems and "things" fall out of the sky into a local swamp. Later, all the famous ghoulish characters from those old monster movies will reunite there and only 'The Monster Squad' will stand between them and the total domination of the world by the forces of evil.

A hundred years ago, famous vampire hunter, Dr.Abraham Van Helsing battled these very same forces before disappearing, leaving only a diary of his exploits.

The kids are lucky enough to get hold of this and, with a translation from the local 'scary German guy' (LEONARDO CIMINO) we learn that an amulet exists which is a source of pure good and can be used to stop the evil Dracula (DUNCAN REGEHR) from taking over the world.

Dracula, with his compadres Frankenstein, Werewolf, a Gill-Man, and a 2000-year old Mummy, meanwhile know that the kids have the diary and the stage is set for the showdown.

Luckily Sean, Fat-Kid, Rudy and Pheobe have a suprise ally in the form of gentle giant Frankenstein (TOM NOONAN), who is obviously disallusioned with a life of evil and the stage is set for the battle to save all mankind...

Verdict?

Three words, Scary... German..... Guy...

Even the effects hold up excellently today. This really is a lovely looking movie -especially now that we can see it on DVD. The movie is peppered with some fab one-liners from Fat-Kid (BRENT CHALEM) and tag-along little sister Phoebe (ASHLEY BANK).

The teamwork montage where the Monster Squad prepare to do battle by sharpening stakes and making silver bullets was pretty cool when I was a kid, and it would no doubt have the same effect today.

The acting is pantomime in most respects, but this is a Saturday night drive-in movie! Dekker takes many routes with the plot, some of which lead further than others, graced occasionally by moments of actual poignancy - such as the good natured Frankenstein, or Scary German Guy's reflection on the true monsters of Nazi Germany.

Overall this is a cult classic example of a mid-eighties monster-movie that took nothing too seriously.

My verdict: surefire monster madness that will have you howling at the moon and melting down your mother's spoons.

Notice any mistakes? Review

Strengths: Fun effects and makeup
Great montage sequence
Some fine jokes in the script
Occasional moments of poignancy

Weaknesses? Some poor plot points
Some pantomime performances

Our rating: 7 out of 10


Review Written by Simon Barber:  Contact  |  More Reviews by Simon Barber
The Monster Squad