Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Cable went out last night due to the storms that rolled through, tore down many branches and (thankfully) cut the oppressive heat and humidity. After watching the first ep of FEAR ITSELF on DVR I decided to pop in the copy of THE MONSTER SQUAD that had arrived earlier from NetFlix.

At the time of its original release I wasn't a huge fan of the flick and in retrospect I chalk that up to two things: one, my love for NIGHT OF THE CREEPS, director Fred Dekker's previous film; and, two, I was a callow 21-year-old when SQUAD came out, with a decided interest in gore, tits and beer. And not necessarily in that order.

While CREEPS deftly juxtaposes its 50s sci-fi, creature from space roots with an 80s zombie flick mentality, SQUAD has a tougher time getting me to buy into the notion of late 80s kids embracing the quartet of square (though beloved by many) 1940s monsters it brings to life. Top that off with my general indifference to much of the Universal monsterdom SQUAD obviously worships and you can see my problem.

But watching the film last night I got much more of a charge out of it than I ever did two decades ago. Yes, it's still saddled with some horrendous over-acting (lead Andre Gower and supporting actor Stan Shaw being the most blatant offenders) and the script feels like it could have used one more draft to give it a bit more heft. But I found myself on the edge of my seat rooting for the kids as they faced off against Dracula and his axis of evil that includes a somewhat inexplicable Creature from the Black Lagoon substitute called The Gill Man, a tortured Wolf Man, and one of cinema's most sympathetic portrayals of Frankenstein's monster courtesy of Tom Noonan.

I'm probably not old enough or young enough to thoroughly enjoy THE MONSTER SQUAD's charms but I no longer dismiss it as an ill-advised follow-up to the (still) vastly superior CREEPS.

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