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Monster Squad
Monstersquadposter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Fred Dekker
Produced by Jonathan A. Zimbert
Written by Shane Black &
Fred Dekker
Starring Andre Gower
Robby Kiger
Brent Chalem
Ryan Lambert
Michael Faustino
Stephen Macht
Leonardo Cimino
Duncan Regehr
Tom Noonan
Ashley Bank
Lisa Fuller
Jack Gwillim
Music by Bruce Broughton
Cinematography Bradford May
Editing by James Mitchell
Distributed by TriStar Pictures
Release date(s) August 14, 1987 (USA)
Running time 82 min
Country USA
Language English
Budget $12,000,000 (estimated)
Box office $3,769,990 (USA)

The Monster Squad is a comedy/horror film written by Shane Black and Fred Dekker and directed by Fred Dekker (who also wrote/directed Night of the Creeps). It was released by Tri-Star Pictures on August 14, 1987. The film features the classic monsters (re-imagined by a team of special effects artists including Stan Winston), led by Count Dracula (Duncan Regehr).

Plot Edit

The Monster Squad is a society of young pre-teens who idolize classic monsters and monster movies and hold their meetings in a tree clubhouse. Club leader Sean (Andre Gower), whose five-year-old sister Phoebe (Ashley Bank) desperately wants to join the club, is given the diary of legendary vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing (Jack Gwillim) - but his excitement is toned down when he finds it's written in German. Sean, his best friend Patrick (Robby Kiger), and the rest of the Monster Squad get their local "Scary German Guy" (Leonardo Cimino), actually a kind person and a former Nazi Holocaust victim, to translate the diary. (When the group remarks about his extensive knowledge, the German Guy replies that he has a lot of experience with monsters...and as he closes the door on them, reveals the concentration-camp number on his arm.)

The diary describes, in great detail, an amulet that is composed of concentrated good. One day out of every century, as the forces of good and evil reach a balance, the otherwise-indestructible amulet becomes vulnerable to destruction, and the next day of balance falls within a couple days, at the stroke of midnight. The kids realize they must gain possession of the amulet before the day of balance arrives; once they have the amulet, the kids can use it — with an incantation from Van Helsing's diary — to open a hole in the universe and cast the monsters into Limbo. As shown in the prelude, van Helsing had unsuccessfully attempted this one hundred years ago in order to defeat his old adversary Count Dracula; his apprentices subsequently hid the amulet in America, where it was out of Dracula's immediate reach.

Dracula, meanwhile, seeks to obtain the amulet before the Monster Squad does, so that the Count can take control of the world. To this end he assembles several monstrous allies: Frankenstein's monster, a werewolf, a mummy, and an amphibious gill-man, in addition to three school girls (Mary Albee, Joan-Carrol Baron, and Julie Merrill) whom the Count transforms into his vampiric consorts. The next day, Frankenstein's monster is wandering in the forest where he encounters Phoebe. Rather than being afraid, she shows him the kindness he has also sought, and he gets acquainted with and becomes a member of the Monster Squad.

The amulet turns out to be buried in a stone room, under a house that Dracula and the other monsters now occupy and where Van Helsing's diary was found. The secret room is littered with wards which prevent the monsters from simply taking it. The Monster Squad finds and removes the amulet, and escape Dracula's grasp only with sheer luck and a talent for improvisation (like using a garlic pizza to burn the vampire's face). The German Guy informs them that the incantation must be read by a female virgin. As midnight approaches, the Squad makes their way to a local cathedral to make their last stand — and in the nick of time, as shortly after they leave, Dracula destroys their clubhouse with a stick of dynamite. This also calls up another helper for the Monster Squad: Sean's father, Police Detective Del, who has been charged to investigate the strange happenings in town of late (as caused by Dracula's cohorts) but has been quite skeptical about their supernatural causes, not to mention Sean's hobby, in the first place. Del is further puzzled when he is getting warnings from the werewolf that his family is in danger, as the werewolf is actually a reluctant pawn of Dracula in his human form and is actually begging the police to put him in a maximum security prison, but he is dismissed as a loonie.

Unfortunately, the doors to the cathedral are locked, so the incantation must be read on the stoop, leaving the Squad vulnerable. The Monster Squad has the assistance of Sean's father and Patrick's older sister (Lisa Fuller), as she's the only virgin they know who speaks German. Unfortunately, with time winding down, the incantation fails since Lisa is actually not a virgin anymore. As Dracula's Brides and the other monsters close in, it is realized that Phoebe, being five, must still be a virgin, and the German Guy attempts to help her read the incantation as the rest of the squad fends off the monsters.

In the ensuing battle, the vampiresses, the Mummy, the Gill-Man, and the Wolf-Man are killed. Dracula arrives and is about to kill Phoebe when the Frankenstein Creature betrays him, impaling him on a wrought-iron fence. Phoebe finishes the incantation, opening the portal which begins to consume the bodies of the monsters. Dracula, still alive, attempts to drag Sean in with him, but Sean is saved at the last minute by stabbing Dracula with a wooden stake and Van Helsing, who briefly escaped from limbo to take Dracula to his doom. Although Phoebe tries tearfully to hold onto him, Frankenstein's Creature says he must leave and is last to be sucked through the portal, but accepts a gift of a stuffed animal to remember Phoebe. The portal then closes, ensuring the world's safety.

CastEdit

Home videoEdit

The film was first released by Vestron Video in 1988. It was the film's only VHS release.

A 20th Anniversary Reunion of The Monster Squad was held with cast members and Director Fred Dekker in attendance in April 2006 in Austin, Texas at the Alamo Drafthouse. This reunion was put together by the staff at Ain't It Cool News, who were longtime fans of the film and on a whim decided to reach out and try to connect the cast for a special screening. Two shows were held at the theatre; both sold out with lines formed around the block; some audience members flew from as far as California to watch the film. It was at this screening that Dekker had urged any interested fans to write the copyright holders via snail-mail.[1] Ain't It Cool News also broke the news of the DVD release in January, 2007. Michael Felsher of Red Shirt Pictures approached Lionsgate Studios to produce and release the 20th anniversary edition.

The Monster Squad two-disc 20th anniversary special edition DVD was released by Lionsgate on July 24, 2007, and contains a wide range of special features including a 5-part 90 minute retrospective documentary, 2 audio commentaries, deleted scenes, the theatrical trailer, a TV spot, animated storyboards, and more.[2] A soundtrack album is available from the Intrada label.

The Alamo Drafthouse held 2 sold-out screenings of the Monster Squad on January 9, 2010 with stars Andre Gower, Ryan Lambert, and Jon Gries along with writer Shane Black and director Fred Dekker all in attendance. The screenings were celebrated with a limited edition poster by artist Tyler Stout.

The special edition DVD also makes a few references to the death of Brent Chalem, who played "Horace", of pneumonia in 1997. Chalem was working as a paralegal at the time of his death.[3]

Lionsgate released a Blu-ray version of the film on November 24, 2009.

RemakeEdit

A movie with the same name The Monster Squad is being produced by Rob Cohen and is currently in the planning stages. However it is not currently going to be a remake of the 1988 made film of the same name. [4] Platinum Dunes will produce the film and Paramount Pictures will shoot the project.[5][6] Writing team Brian and Mark Gunn have been hired to pen the script.[7]

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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