Movie Reviews Index

The Monster Squad (1987)

Rating: 4 Stars

D: Fred Dekker. Andre Gower, Duncan Regehr, Stephen Macht, Tom Noonan, Robby Kiger, Brent Chalem, Ryan Lambert. 82 mins. (Lionsgate) 8/07

Every hundred years, the powers of good and evil are balanced and there is a struggle for dominance. The last time the powers grappled, Dr. Abraham Van Helsing used an indestructible amulet, a talisman that wards off evil, to send the monsters running back into the shadows. Now, a century later, Dracula (Regehr) makes the scene with the Frankenstein Monster (Noonan), the Wolf Man, the Mummy and the Creature from the Black Lagoon in tow to help him take over the world. What the creepers don't count on is Sean Crenshaw (Gower) and his horror-movie fan friends, who band together with a German neighbor to send the creatures into Limbo for all eternity. Basically, this is a loving tribute to the Universal monster-rally flicks of the '40s. Dekker and co-scripter Shane Black deliver an exciting supernatural adventure in which our young heroes encounter and defeat all the major midnight monsters. Filled with humor and heart, the film is essentially a celebration of the joys of childhood and a reminder that kids have to face some pretty adult situations. (Beyond the immediate threat of the monster invasion, Sean has to deal with his parents' pending separation-pretty heavy stuff for an eighth grader to cope with in addition to that whole "saving the world" thing.) Macht is great as Sean's dad, as are Leonardo Cimino as Scary German Guy and Jon Gries as the Desperate Man who has difficulty getting the police to believe he turns wolfy when the moon is full. (If you remember, Gries also essayed a werewolf role in Fright Night Part 2.) The standout performer here, though, is Chalem as Horace (aka "Fat Kid"), who has most of the best lines ("Wolf Man's got nards!") and does some serious monster slaying when push comes to shove. Lionsgate's double-disc edition presents the film for the first time in its original widescreen ratio. Extras include multiple commentaries, a five-part documentary, interviews, deleted scenes, trailers, TV spots and more. Recommended for when you're looking to rekindle the enthusiasm you had for monsters when you were a kid.

~ Rob Freese