It has come to my attention that one of the best cult classics of all time, “The Monster Squad” is not on DVD yet. To this, I must ask why? We have seven (count them) seven editions of “Underworld”, two editions of “White Chicks”, and five editions of “xXx”, and how many editions of “Monster Squad” do we have on DVD? None. Not even a barebones. Along with “Night of the Creeps” (also directed by Fred Dekker), “The Monster Squad” is one of the oddly unreleased cult classic films that horror fans are begging to have released. “The Monster Squad” is a soon to be lost classic from the eighties that was written off for many accounts. There are no big stars, it’s not particularly a landmark movie, and it’s a derivative spin of “The Goonies” which had been released two years prior. “The Monster Squad”, though, is a perfect introduction in to horror for anyone seeking to brainwash their children in to the horror genre. It was one of my introductions to the genre as a childhood favorite, and currently it’s become the introduction to my nephew. “The Monster Squad”, which was released in 1987, is a true cult classic that has a loyal fan base behind it that insist on a re-release.
“The Monster Squad” is a novel throwback to the horror genre that stars Andre Gower as a horror buff named Sean who hangs out in his tree house with his friends Patrick, and Horace (the late Brent Chalem) discussing horror films and imagining that they’re monster hunters. Until one fateful day, their dream becomes a reality. A plane shipping both Frankenstein’s body and Dracula’s Coffin gets in to a skirmish, and Dracula is re-awakened after many years of slumber. Frankenstein’s body is dropped in to a local lagoon, and Dracula regroups at an old mansion where he begins assembling his forces to take over the world. Sean has been given the diary of Abraham Van Helsing, a detailed account of mysterious spells and thoughts that Sean decides to read using the help of “Scary German Guy” (Leonardo Cimino) who dictates to them that the forces of good and evil are finally balanced–thus the ancient amulet which contains the forces of good–is now useless and can be destroyed. Dracula’s home base is located over the amulet’s altar, but it’s guarded by holy symbols which prevents the monsters from grabbing it.
Sean, after encountering the monsters first hand, decides to re-group all of his friends (including his little sister, the friendly Frankenstein monster, and the cool kid in school, Rudy) and fight off the team of demons once and for all. If he succeeds, he can punch a hole in to the universe and send the demons in to limbo, if he fails Dracula wins, and evil rules. Dekker who wrote the script with Shane Black, cleverly included numerous references to the classic monster movies from Universal–but much like F.W. Murnau with “Nosferatu”–could not get the copyrights from Universal, and to prevent trademark infringement, still included the monsters but altered their appearances all so slightly so there’d be no grounds for a lawsuit. Included are the Wolfman, The Mummy, The Creature, and the one and only Dracula. The results of his alterations succeeded without a complaint from fans or Universal. Ironically the Wolfman became his own presence, the Mummy was frightening, the Creature would become the frame of reference for horror fans arguing for a “Creature” remake, and Duncan Regehr was imminently more imposing than Lugosi.
And like many classic films, “The Monster Squad” has numerous memorable one-liners that have crossed over in to the modern era. Who hasn’t memorized the famous catchphrases from this film? “Wolfman’s Got Nards!”, “Monster ate my Twinkie”, “If we pull this off, I’m gonna shit!” But why “The Monster Squad” remains a true horror classic for nearly twenty years is because it reaches down deep in to horror fans desires, the desire to know that your fandom is not all in vain, the fact that these horror fans actually contribute to the fate of the world by individually battling each monster, inevitably accomplishing their goals, and having fun doing it is what makes this such a revered classic. Each character has their time in the spotlight from Sean battling Dracula, Horace fighting the Creature, and Rudy squaring off against Dracula’s Brides, and the wolf man in the town square.
But it’s every kids dream to fight monsters, and in some ways “The Monster Squad” helps us live out that fantasy. And it’s a damn good film chalk full of horror movie references, and nods to classic films that only the discernable eye can catch. And, though of its time it may be in terms of fashion and music–featuring a “Monster Squad” rap in the credits and all–it’s still a very timeless classic that many have yet to see. Do we have to have a remake to finally see this on DVD? This is deserving of a two disc special edition, wouldn’t you agree? Please, from the bottom of this horror buff’s heart, give us a re-release of “The Monster Squad” on DVD. I don’t care who you get to release it, just release it. Help us, Anchor Bay, you’re our only hope.