You ever catch The Monster Squad?

Probably not.

Like a bastard child of Goonies and Gremlins, The Monster Squad focused on the adventures of a group of steadfast friends whose movie-esque troubles centered around, obviously enough, monsters, instead of bank robbers and vicious Mogwai. Their main nemesis? Dracula. His buddies? Frankenstein’s monster, the Wolfman, a sartorial mummy, and a creature from some lagoon. (I don’t think they had rights to use the name “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” so they called it “Gillman”. No, seriously.)

The film had plenty of weaknesses, and proved it in 1987 by failing brilliantly at the theaters. The critics at the time didn’t help, mind you, pushing the stake in a weeeeee bit further by giving it some pretty disappointing reviews. And, rightfully so.

But, here’s the thing. Unlike Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (televisiĆ³n, not el film-o), a cult favorite due to its impressive writing, emotional depth, and campy but surprisingly accurate metaphors for surviving high school, The Monster Squad remains a cult icon thanks to its just being fun.

Despite being able to go batty (and hover, unchanged, in mid-air) does Dracula drive a black hearse with a skull jutting out from the hood? You betcha. Does he employ that ages-old and deceptively simple trick of calling himself “Mr. Alucard”? Uh-huh. Does Frankenstein’s monster stumble (slowly) across a little girl playing all by her lonesome? Sure, why not. Van Helsing make an appearance? Yep. No-one-believes-the-kids-so-they-have-to-save-the-world-all-by-themselves?

Fuck, yeah.

But the sheer enjoyment one can suck out of the film is probably best illustrated by this one YouTube clip:

“Wolfman’s got nards…”

G’bless ’em. Even if they didn’t do anything else right in the movie (they did), that line would still be a classic. (Well, classic to those of us who’ve thus far refused to mature.) They even managed to encapsulate some of the dumbest and most telling vocabulary ever uttered by a middle school kid in the ’80s: using “dorked” as a euphemism for getting laid. (In a related bit, the end of the movie has a hilarious scene where one of the boys is arguing with his older, high school-aged sister about whether she’s a virgin. She had just read aloud this mystical text that would have saved the day if she were, you know, all pure and stuff. Unfortunately, after the reading, nothing happened. Not even a weak abracadabra:

“You’re not a virgin, are you?” She shakes her head.

“‘No’? What do you mean, ‘No’?”

“Well… Steve, but he doesn’t count!”


So, The Monster Squad, I salute you. You bring back a little bit of the Halloween of my youth. Now, if I could only get a hold of some of those deliciously creepy sets…

Posted Wednesday, September 12th, 2007 at 4:58 pm
Filed Under Category: ya' know?
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