Monster Squad. Where does one even begin when paying tribute to a movie that changed the world with its incisive social critiques and mind-boggling dialogue? This was the Citizen Kane of the '80s. The best way to describe it is a mix between The Goonies and The Lost Boys. It's not quite as family friendly as The Goonies, yet not as serious as The Lost Boys. In other words, the Monster Squad porridge isn't too hot or too cold... it's just right. Monster Squad a highly underrated film and it's a downright travesty that it isn't available on DVD. But just because it's not on DVD doesn't mean any of us have forgotten about it, right? Right! So what say we closely examine this spectacular film that changed so many lives forever. Afterwards, I'll have a little Monster Squad bonus for you that I'm sure you've never seen (and with good reason).
update 6/5/07: Monster Squad is finally being released on DVD! Check it out! Big thanks to all of you who helped us by writing the companies and telling them that you wanted it to be released!
The story starts off 100 years earlier in Transylvania where Dr. Abraham Van Helsing is trying to put an end to vampires and all the other monsters in the world. After a few shots of the interior of a castle filled with spooky cobwebs, coffins and torches, we see the Dracula himself transforming from bat into man. Most of the actual transition is cut out, but it's still handled decently enough and the animatronic bat looks pretty damned good. What's sad is that shortly after this, they show Dracula walking around with a bunch of other bats - which were clearly on strings - flapping around his head. Ah budget cuts, gotta love 'em.
Meanwhile, Van Helsing's men blast their way into the front gates only to find a vampiric maiden standing there, eating some unidentified fuzzy creature (perhaps a possum). I thought vampires really only dined on human blood, but I guess they'll attack pets too if you're not home when they pay your house a visit. Anyway, after Helsing fires a stake from his crossbow into the heart of the roadkill-munching vampiress, he has his men bring in a young girl to read a passage from an old script. But time is running out and the big shiny amulet in the center of the room is starting to flash like crazy while the floors start shaking and... and...
Ahhhhhhhhh! For no particular reason, the undead start to come up from underground. They don't really seem to do much harm other than to shake around and grab onto people. I remember hoping for at least one brain-eating scene, but no such luck...
Instead, the amulet opens up a big swirling black vortex and before the girl is able to finish reading the passage which would presumably save mankind, she gets sucked into the vortex. Or, as the intro text to the movie put it so elegantly: They blew it.
Cut to current times, Sean and Patrick are getting chewed out in principal Metzger's office for drawing monster pictures during science class. Patrick tries to explain that their science teacher is boring and has a head shaped like a cat - hence her nickname "Meow Mix". Metzger realizes he isn't getting anywhere with the boys, so he tries to connect with them by saying, "I think science is cool! I dig it maaaan! Hah!" with a big thumbs up. Obviously this doesn't bode well with the boys and as soon as they're excused from his office, they start talking about how Metzger was "totally homo-ing out." Sean even goes so far as to pose the question that the worlds greatest scholars have pondered over the centuries: "I mean, when they send you to school, why don't they tell you about the homos and the people with cat heads?" Why indeed Sean, why indeed...
Meet Horace. If the T&C Surf Design shirt he's wearing doesn't clue you in; Horace is the man and you'll find out why a little bit later on in this article. Horace, also known as "fat kid", is walking across the schoolyard when he's confronted by two bullies. The main bully is E.J., played by Jason Hervey who most people remember as the equally dickwadular older brother Wayne from the hit series The Wonder Years. After taunting fat kid about his weight, E.J. stomps on his Snickers bar. Horace tries to stick up for himself by saying E.J. has a "stupidity" problem. But E.J. snaps right back at him as he shouts, "What'd you say faggot? What'd you say?" Two homophobic references by children in under 10 minutes? Welcome to another classic '80s movie my friends. After Horace calls him an asshole, E.J. decides to forget about the homophobic slander and commence with the embarrassing fat kid schoolyard beatdown.
I suppose "beatdown" wasn't really the right word to use here since it's more of a tackled slapfest. E.J. gives fat kid a series of weak slaps to the face while he screams and squirms. Personally, I like to think that fat kid, er Horace, could've taken E.J. in a standup fight. Then again, it is possible that E.J. had some deadly weapons stored in that feathered mushroom cloud hairdo of his.
With Horace laying helplessly on the ground as his chubby face gets slapped around, it's time for someone to put an end to all this bullying. It's time for someone like Rudy.
Leather jacket? Check. Fingerless gloves? Check. Shades? Check. Black hair? Check. Smokes? Check. My friends, it appears that we have a classic movie badass on our hands here... and he's come to aid Horace in his time of need.
Rudy informs E.J. that the candy bar he so politely squashed under his shoe is now his property. And we wouldn't want a candy bar to go to waste would we now E.J.? Of course we wouldn't. Eat up and we'll call it a day! And so E.J. does eat it up...
And for a brief moment, Horace feels the sweet tingle of victory. Don't worry Horace, you'll get to taste it again...
Patrick and Sean are having a deep conversation about why Wolfman had to wear pants and Sean explains that, "it was so you wouldn't see his wolf dork". I've never heard "dork" used as a euphemism for a penis before, but that's just the kind of eye-opening experience that the Monster Squad was. Sean's little sister Phoebe then tells them that she just saw "Scary German Guy" peaking out of his window at them. We'll learn more about that old guy later on.
Horace then catches up with the guys and tells them about how Rudy saved his life, and wants to know if he can join the Monster Squad. They agree as long as Rudy passes the monster test - a series of easy questions about famous movie monsters. Why the toughest, coolest kid in school would want to join their monster squad is beyond me. I never understood why the Fonz hung out with Richie Cunningham either; these kind of things only happen in Hollywood.
Meanwhile, a cargo plane is flying high in the skies, transporting wooden crates and dead bodies. What's funny is that one of the crates is clearly labeled "FRANKENSTEIN" - don't you thin somebody would've noticed that when loading it onto the plane? Well anyway, one of the pilots hears a noise in the back and goes to check it out. What he finds, is a pissed off Dracula who punches him square in the face. The pilot then opens the chute which drops the Frankenstein crate and Dracula quickly transforms into a bat and flies down to the swampy area where the crate lands.
Wouldn't ya know it? That crate just happened to land in the same small town where all the Monster Squad guys live... what are the odds? Well, back inside the clubhouse they're bombarding Rudy with such difficult questions as "how do you kill a vampire?" and "how do you kill a werewolf?" Rudy answers them easily of course, but he's more interested in what's going in the house nearby. With a pair of binoculars, he gets a nice view of a girl stripping down to her underwear. And with that, Rudy says he's really starting to like the monster club. Phoebe then shows up and tells Sean that he has to let her in the club and that she knows lots about monsters. Sorry Phoebe, no girls allowed! Not yet at least...
Elsewhere, Dracula looks down upon the town and says "Let it begin" while some lightning flashes to reveal his spooky inner skull. It's a fairly random moment, and you can tell the filmmakers just had an extra skull mask lying around and thought, "Hey, how about we try working this into the scene?"
Oh but there's more!
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OF THE MONSTER SQUAD TRIBUTE!
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