Movie Title : The Monster Squad
Starring Andre Gower, Robby Kiger, Stephen Macht, Duncan Regehr, Tom Noonan, Brent Chalem, Mary Ellen Trainor, Stan Shaw
Directed By Fred Dekker
What is it? A cult hit. Much to everyoneâ€™s surprise â€“ particularly its cast and crew. â€œThe Monster Squadâ€, a huge flop when it was released theatrically in 1987, is now considered a straight-up out-and-out cult classic because, well, itâ€™s so infectiously tacky and incontrovertibly culpable fun. Written by Fred Decker and Shane Black and directed by Dekker, itâ€™s a â€œGooniesâ€ like romp about a bunch of kids that team up to bring down all the movie monsters â€“ including Dracula, The Mummy and the Wolfman.
Whatâ€™s wrong with it? The Plot. There isnâ€™t much of one. And as the Washington Post noted in their review (in 1987) itâ€™s an â€œunapologetically scrambled mixture of “Goonies,” Hardy Boys adventures, “Ghostbusters” and Abbott and Costello monster filmsâ€. Theyâ€™re right. It is. Its best bits from all those films stitched together. The paper may also have been right when they said it features â€œbad actors wandering around in bad makeup and rubber masksâ€â€¦ for the most part, the acting isnâ€™t that stellar, and the make-up is pretty atrocious, but all these years later, I think itâ€™s that cheap way about the film thatâ€™s part of the appeal. Oh, and they get to say â€˜Shitâ€™.
Whatâ€™s right about it? Unlike a lot of the so-called kidâ€™s films today, â€œThe Monster Squadâ€ actually gives its audience â€“ in this case, youngsters â€“ what they want, and not just give in to what the studio executives believe kids want. Thanks to the ingenuity of its young writer/director Frank Dekker (â€œNight of the Creepsâ€), this one spoke straight to the kids â€“ in the same way say, â€œThe Gooniesâ€ did. But more so, this one let the kids swearâ€¦ not many kids movies these days even feature a single â€˜shitâ€™ let alone an â€˜assholeâ€™ or â€˜bitchâ€™â€¦ and itâ€™s not often youâ€™ll find references to â€˜virginsâ€™ in the family film, either. It truly was a landmark film for its time â€“ something that was seemingly made whilst big brother (in this case, Mr. studio head) turned his back.
Why is it so bad itâ€™s good? The plotline was rather thin â€“ a bunch of kids team up to take on all those classic movie monsters â€“ but it was the execution of it that worked. The production design; the energetic performances; the dialogue (Shane Black co-wrote the script with Dekker) and the sheer thrill of seeing all these movie monsters share the screen was a thrill for kids.
– CLINT MORRIS