Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Monster Squad

Directed by Fred Dekker.
1987. Rated PG, 82 minutes.
Andre Gower
Robby Kiger
Stephen Macht
Duncan Regehr
Tom Noonan
Ashley Bank
Leonardo Cimino
Lisa Fuller

Precisely every 100 years at midnight the amulet that controls the balance of power between good and evil becomes vulnerable enough to be destroyed, but only for a few moments. If it is, evil will have free reign. Count Dracula (Regehr) knows this and knows that the fateful day is coming up. He recruits Frankenstein’s monster, the Wolfman, the Mummy and the Creature from the Black Lagoon to help find and obliterate said amulet. A group of kids who are totally immersed in monster lore have discovered this and after dubbing themselves “The Monster Squad,” have set out to save the day.

This is a wonderful blend of pre/early teen comedy, the cheesiest elements of monster movies and, for some younger viewers, tension and possibly horror. Our bad guys are represented in their most classical forms, i.e. Dracula sports a black tux and flowing black cape with a silky red lining and the collar up, of course. This comes off as a nod to us that this is more of an elaborate Halloween prank than actually trying to add anything to vampire mythology. In other words, it puts its tongue firmly in its cheek and it works. We sit back and have fun with kids we either were (or are depending on your age) or wouldn’t normally have hung out with.

Let’s be honest, the squad is largely made up of geeks. As it so often turns out in real life, the geeks are right. Monsters are real. There’s also one set of parents on the verge of a divorce which adds some reality to the proceedings. Though things wrap up in a predictably corny manner, it’s still very enjoyable.

Most of us who grew up in the eighties have fond memories of TMS. Since it’s always been unabashed in its cheesiness, it’s held up surprisingly well. A warning to parents: though its rated PG, a number of four-letter words fly; decide accordingly. If you decide to let the kiddies indulge you’ll find it one of the better horror flicks aimed at young’uns. And yes, the Wolfman still has nards.

MY SCORE: 7.5/10

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