Ashe never got to see a ton of modern classics from his youth, so we’re making him watch them all as a nostalgia-less adult. Check out the inaugural article for more info.
Sorry for being behind this week. It took a bit of doing to find a copy of this movie because, for some bizarre reason, it’s not only not available on streaming, but it’s also not available to rent digitally either. Why, movie studios? Why do you do this? Is it a rights issue? Did the internet… hit you? I won’t say how I ended up watching it, but it was highly unpleasant and aggravating. It only required one late night “encounter” with a homeless man, though.
And I’m going to have a similar problem with next week’s film, too, because it looks like that one isn’t available anywhere either. Dammit.
Okay, anyway, this week we’ve got a Goonies (which I still have not watched) also-ran called The Monster Squad. I’d honestly never even heard of it before folks suggested it to me for my Halloween theme this month. Was it a big thing? I seriously have no idea. It felt a bit made-for-TV, so maybe not. Feel free to tell me in the comments how it was a major part of your childhood, and I’m an idiot for not knowing about it, though.
If you need a quick recap: A kid named Sean, his baby sister, a cool kid, a fat kid and a couple of other kids that all blended together for me by the end of the movie fight off Dracula, The Wolfman, Frankenstein’s Monster, The Mummy and The Creature from the Black Lagoon, who have all banded together to destroy an amulet that keeps the balance between good and evil in the world. Pretty basic adventure stuff.
Here’s the part of the plot that was really weird to me, though: people just kind of know shit in this movie. Dracula is the worst offender. He somehow just knew that Sean had Abraham Van Helsing’s diary and even called his house to ask after it. Sean somehow knew that the name Dracula gave, “Mr. Alucard,” was an anagram and began trying to puzzle it out right away. (It’s obvious in an era with the Castlevania games and “Hellsing,” but before those the whole Alucard thing used to be mildly clever.)
Dracula magically deduced where to find the magic amulet in the abandoned house he and the other monsters were inhabiting. He just knows that Sean’s dad is a cop. He just knows where Sean lives. It’s super weird. I mean, yeah, he’s freaking Dracula, but I don’t recall one of his powers being clairvoyance. Even The Wolfman, in his human form (played by Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite), knows to call Sean’s dad at work and warn him that Dracula is coming for him. Also, Sean’s dad weirdly believes him.
That aside, it’s a fairly serviceable movie, albeit very 80s. Rudy, the cool kid, is quite possibly the most “rad” kid you will ever lay eyes on. He’s in junior high. He smokes. He’s into girls. He’s also a giant creep, as he peeps at one of the kid’s older sisters and uses a nude photo (accidentally snapped by Frankenstein’s Monster) of her to blackmail her into helping them. That’s super disturbing in a modern context (especially post-iCloud thefts), but totally played for laughs in the back-in-the-day of this movie.
All in all, it’s pretty forgettable. Stuff just sort of happens over the film’s 80-minute runtime, sometimes with little to no explanation. For example, why does everyone have dynamite? Dracula has tons of the stuff. When Sean’s dad fights The Wolfman, he pulls a stick out for some reason. Was there a clearance sale on it somewhere? Also, why is the Creature from the Black Lagoon a threat at all? He literally does nothing the entire movie and then gets blown away by a shotgun because it turns out being a fish-man just makes you a sad mutant and not actually a powerful supernatural creature.
But I will admit, I did laugh at the “Wolfman’s got nards!” bit.