Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The Monster Squad (1987)





















Bunch of savvy kids that have their own secret club, a neat treehouse base and end up on a spooky adventure trying to stop supernatural forces...you could say this has a 'Goonie' influence. Hell the young boys even have a fat kid amongst their ranks and he wears loud brightly coloured shirts too.

The plot is hammy as hell but it is suppose to be a homage and twist on the classic B-movie horror genre and of course Universal horror monsters. Putting all the big name supernatural beings together and sticking them in the 80's (present day back then). All the classic monsters including Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, Gill-man, the Wolf Man and The Mummy teaming up to try and take over the world with a supernatural amulet, only the kids can stop them. The only way they can be stopped is to open a portal into limbo and kick them through...this whole idea visually looks identical to the portal sequences in the 'Evil Dead' franchise.

So the whole thing is really cheesy and silly as it is suppose to be a kids flick, but it is?? There is actually some quite edgy scenes in the film with visible blood and body parts! when Wolf Man gets blown into pieces for example, nothing much hidden. Some scenes are also a bit scary for the younger viewer in my opinion. Again Wolf Man attacking people and transforming in classic 'American Werewolf' style, stakes through various hearts with blood, Dracula trying to actually kill the kids and the makeup doesn't skimp with realism.



The monsters all look as they should in classic style but they certainly aren't tame by any means. Wolf Man has a much wilder vicious look which is pretty scary, Gill-man is the best if you ask me, he looks terrific, whilst Frankie is as expected as is The Mummy. Its only Dracula who doesn't really thrill, the casting seems a bit off to me, the guy in the role just doesn't look right, he's too young and 'modern' looking if you get me. There are also Dracula's vampiresses who look as you would expect but they have no purpose in the film, kinda under used idea really, clearly crammed in.



Naturally there are plot issues a plenty which don't really matter but they do stick out. Why exactly does Dracula have Frankie in the first place? Where did Dracula get that big black slick custom hearse?? he's only been in the US about one day! and how did he get a hold of that big mansion? is it his?? The most obvious to me was why exactly Gill-man, The Wolf Man and The Mummy all joined Dracula in the first place, they all just appeared and teamed up. So before hand what exactly did Gill-man do? he just like...lived in the swamp? how did he and The Mummy know Dracula had arrived in the region? I'm guessing it was his supernatural powers. None of the monsters have any real backstory, it all just happens.

The silliest of all was in the finale when Van Helsing appears from the portal to drag Dracula through it. But if Helsing was in limbo how did he get out to do that? and wouldn't he wanna try and stay in the real world once getting out?! I'm pretty sure it wasn't easy.

Its certainly a strange beast this film, its hardly for kids with the blood, monsters and Dracula going around snapping cops necks, yet it is aimed at kids with the young Goonie-esque line up. The young cast are good but the whole time you can't help but think they really wanted Corey Feldman, Haim and Astin in the main roles. Pretty much cast everyone from 'The Goonies' in this and while you're at it call it 'Goonies 2'. End of the day the film was just an excuse to bring back all the classic B-movie monsters and have them looking top dollar with modern makeup (for the time of course). And it works plain and simple, the plot is daft with many holes but it doesn't really matter, its a flick for ghoulish monster lovers with a touch of Indy adventure for good measure.

8/10