Aah, they don't make 'em like this anymore ...
If you're a fan of movies like "The Goonies" then this will probably sound familiar, even if you haven't seen it. A group of outcast kids get together and form a "Monster Squad", where they gather in a treehouse, talk about monsters, and generally get up to no good. So when Dracula shows up in town with a host of supernatural nasties including Frankenstein's monster and the Wolf Man, they are of course the ones who are best suited to battling these forces of evil and sending them back to where they belong.
This is one of those movies that was made about kids, for kids, but which isn't really suitable for kids. It's basically a bunch of little kids running around swearing and making jokes about farting (not that there's anything wrong with that), and it's just begging for cult status. The silliness of the humour offsets the inherent silliness of the storyline, which doesn't even try to make sense. The script is fairly strong, having been co-written by Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Last Action Hero) who at one point was the highest-paid screenwriter in Hollywood, and with Stan Winston doing the special effects, where can you go wrong?
"The Monster Squad" doesn't try to be anything other than a whole lotta fun, and it suceeds in that. It's short, sweet and ultimately entertaining -- it'll appeal to the twelve-year-old monster hunter in all of us.
Have loved this movie ever since it came out. The production values are strong, and overshadow the limited plot development. Why are these monsters really in this town? Who cares? Stands up on repeated viewings as a solid piece of cult materials. Downside for werewolf fans is that the Wolf Man in here is a secondary baddie (Dracula, like usual, takes top billing), and so doesn't get the attention he richly deserves.
That said, I credit this--along with my grandmother's insistence that we watch all the old Universal monsters movies--with getting me interested in the monster genre. Also, after watching, you will have a strong urge to reintroduce the word "nards" back into your daily speech. Do not resist that urge.
I can't say anything bad about this movie. I NEVER really saw the goonies, but THIS movie I watched in my childhood over and over til I my parents were sick of it. I cried so hard when the only one to save them is the little sister (because she's the only virgin) and how she almost goes with the Frankenstein monster because they're friends and how he keeps her little purse. *tears* I love this movie. Made me laugh, made me cry, made my parents question my sanity with my growing werewolf obsession at such a young age. Good times. Good times. I WAS going to write negatively about how the werewolf isn't that scary but then I remembered that it's a kid's movie and also how in this particular movie they strongly imply that a werewolf can ONLY be killed by silver. Love that.
The special effects in "The Monster Squad" were created by maestro Stan Winston, who had just won his very first Oscar for "Aliens" that same year. He probably had a lot of fun and did a great job of recreating and updating some of the classic screen monsters -- Frankenstein's monster, the Mummy, the Swamp Thing, and of course, the Wolf Man (see second photo down). In wolf form, the creature is portrayed by Carl Thibault who dons Stan Winston's impressive body suit (see bottom photo), which more than slightly resembles the one worn by Oliver Reed in "Curse of the Werewolf".
A lot of strange things were happening in phone booths in the 1980's. In Metropolis, Superman was using them as his own personal changing rooms, whilst over in England Peter Davison was gallivanting around time and space in Doctor Who's phone box Tardis. And somewhere in Los Angeles, some poor fellow was transforming into a werewolf (see third photo down). This is actually the second transformation scene in the movie, both of which are well done and heavily influenced by Rick Baker's work in American Werewolf. The first takes place in the back of an ambulance early on in the movie, after the wolf man has been shot with normal bullets. It's made very clear in this movie that silver bullets are the only way to kill a werewolf.
The way the kids react to the Wolf Man is quite amusing, and there's an interesting debate as to whether or not the Wolf Man has "nards". And, in case you're wondering, he does. In human form, the Wolf Man is portrayed by Jonathon Gries (see top photo), who was billed simply as "Desperate Man". His performance was so impressive, however, that he was cast again as a werewolf for his very next role in "Fright Night Part 2". All in all this is pretty much your standard, tragic Wolf Man story -- the man is inflicted with a curse, and when in monster form must carry out Dracula's evil whims. When in human form he tries to restrain himself and protect those who might otherwise be his victims.