When 30-something year old’s are asked to name some of their favorite lesser-known, non-blockbuster flicks from the 80’s, nine times out of ten the movie Goonies will be thrown somewhere in the mix. With good reason, Goonies is a classic. However, Goonies appealed to a broad range of individuals, many of which had never even heard of the horror-themed equivalent, The Monster Squad. If you ask a die-hard horror flick fan about it they may even argue that The Monster Squad is far superior to Goonies on many levels. I’m not here to throw weight one way or another in the underground debate between the two. These films don’t need to be cheapened by turning them into a fan-boy/fan-girl feud equipped with t-shirts emblazoned with “Team Goonies”, or “Team Monster Squad”. I’m here to throw a spotlight on a film that, in my opinion, should be regarded as a timeless classic.
The Monster Squad is a tale about Sean Crenshaw (Andre Gower), and his pre-teen club of monster enthusiasts that include Patrick (Robby Kiger) Sean’s right-hand man…or, boy, Horace (Brent Chalum) the groups husky cowardly lion, Rudy (Ryan Lambert) the squad’s own cigarette smoking Fonzie, and little Eugene. The squad occupies their time debating methods of killing monsters, comic books, and horror movies. That is, until Sean’s little sister, Phoebe (Ashley Bank) is given the antiquated diary of the legendary Abraham Van Helsing (Jack Gwillim), which tells of a magical amulet that is sought by none other than Count Dracula (Duncan Regehr) who with the help of his monstrous cohorts, Frankenstein’s monster, the Mummy, the Wolfman, and Gill-man, intends on destroying the amulet to upset the balance between good and evil.
The Monster Squad is a 1987 recipe for success. So much so that writer/director J.J. Abrams and legendary producer Steven Spielberg used the same recipe when creating their 2011 blockbuster Super 8. When the movie Goonies was made in 1985, two years before The Monster Squad, it was cooked with the same ingredients as well. One of the many common traits between all three films is the fact that people love to watch this formula unfold on the silver screen. For me, what separates The Monster Squad from the traditional cookbook is the usage of classic horror movie icons. Add the fact that the creature effects were done by Stan Winston Studios and you end up with an exquisite gourmet production that has the ability to satiate even the most high-brow of critics. Whether you are trying to get in the mood for the Halloween season or you just want to devour something entertaining and visually stimulating, I would recommend The Monster Squad any day of the week.