One thing has always puzzled my regarding today’s film. Throughout the years, I’ve watched all the 80’s “gang of kids” movies. With almost all of them, a handful, if not all, of the kids went on to long careers, many still working today. Three films that were quite entertaining, and have gained a cult following of their own since their initial release I can recall quite easily. 1985s “Explorers” had Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix, while 1986s “Stand By Me” had Jerry O’Connell, Corey Feldman, River Phoenix, and Wil Wheaton. Of course, one of the best, 1985s “The Goonies”, had Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, and Corey Feldman.
So what happened to the cast of today’s film? I could never understand why we never saw any of them again? Surely they didn’t go into seclusion like the brilliant writer did soon after? In fact, the only time I ever thought I saw any of them beyond the film was seeing Adam Lambert on “American Idol”, who looks uncannily like Ryan Lambert (I wonder if they are related?).
At any rate, I didn’t let that interfere with my review of today’s film…
31 Days of Howl-oween
A Review of Films Filled with Frights
~ Monster Squad ~
Director: Fred Dekker
Cast: Andre Gower, Robby Kiger, Stephen Macht, Tom Noonan, Duncan Regehr, Ryan Lambert
Country: United States
Specs: 82 mins. / Color / OAR 2.35:1 / MPAA Rating: PG-13
After Dracula is resurrected in modern day small town America, he calls forth Frankenstein’s monster, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the Wolfman to help him secure an ancient amulet which will allow him to rule the world. Unfortunately for him, he seems to have sparked the interest of a small band of neighborhood children, who have a group they’ve dubbed, The Monster Squad. It’s up to them to stop Dracula and his gang, and prevent the unbalance of good vs. evil.
This is a marvelous film. The story is tight, the editing tighter, the writing and dialogue is amongst the best in buddy films, and the make-up/special effects are amongst the best on celluloid.
The homages to some of the creatures original Universal versions is tastefully done, and the characters are never played goofy or for laughs. In fact, the creatures are downright bound to be scary to younger viewers, which is partly why I imagine this film got the PG-13 rating (the other being the obvious sexual jokes/content).
The behaviors of the kids are so well played against each other, that it is very realistic in their chemistry as a group. Even the little annoying sister is wonderfully played by such a young actor.
As I stated in the opening, a real shame that none of these kids ever went on to bigger and longer careers in front of the camera.
My Rating: ***** / A-
Available on Amazon: The Monster Squad (20th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]