Last week, I told the story about first horror movie I’d ever seen – a movie no kid should have been allowed to pick from the video store. But if I had waited another year, I could have seen a horror movie aimed at kids called Monster Squad.
While taking five of the world’s most famous monsters – Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolfman, the Mummy, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon – and throwing them into one movie could have gone a much darker route, instead we’re told the story of how a bunch of kids thwarted their plans to take over the world.
The story begins centuries ago, with Van Helsing battling Count Dracula over a powerful amulet. Though Van Helsing is lost, Dracula survives the ordeal. Fast forward to the present and Dracula is assembling the world’s most dangerous monsters to once again attempt to plunge the world into endless darkness.
With Van Helsing gone, the world’s only hope lays in the hands of the Monster Squad, a group of kids who worship monster movies. When the leader of the group is handed down Van Helsing’s diary, they learn with the help of the “Scary German Guy” that the time is right for Dracula to rise once again. Dracula’s after the amulet from the beginning of the movie, which was hidden in a crypt where the diary was found. After barely escaping with the amulet, the kids face off against the monsters in the town square. Reading the incantation in the diary opens a portal into limbo, sucking away all the monsters, including Frankenstein’s Monster, who had sided with the children and turned against Dracula, saving the day.
There are some great moments in this movie, including one of the funniest lines in all of cinema: “Wolfman’s got nards!”
The monsters steal the whole show, which is to be expected, but there is a bit of an unbalance between them. Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster have the biggest role in the bunch, understandable since they’re the most popular, but the Mummy and the Creature are short-changed. They die easily and appear to have no abilities. Usually the Mummy is shown to have some sort of power in their movies, but in here he’s slow, powerless, and killed because his bandages got caught on something while he was hanging onto a car. That’s pathetic.
Surprisingly, the Wolfman gets a lot of screentime, besides just getting kicked in the balls. While in human form, he fights Dracula’s influence and tries to get the cops involved, who unfortunately don’t believe him. After the nutshot, he’s seemingly killed by dynamite but his body pulls itself back together; only silver bullets can kill him after all. I think this movie may have been where I got my obsession with werewolves.The Universal Monsters have had a rich history – if you want a refresher on all of them, I’d definitely recommend Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness series. James Rolfe has covered just about every film they’ve been in – including Monster Squad itself. To me, Monster Squad rivals the Goonies as one of the best kids adventure films there is. While the kids themselves weren’t as memorable – I can’t name a single one of them while the Goonies’ names are easy to recall (maybe it was the nicknames they used) – the story of how they tackled the strongest monsters in the world is certainly worth a watch, even if just to hear Dracula call a 5-year-old-girl a bitch.
This post is written as part of Maddylovesherclassicfilm's Horrorathon. Make sure to check out the rest of this year's monster mashes there.