Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Favorites: Monster Squad

Sketch by Dezi Sienty

When I was a young kid my mom and my step-dad owned a barber shop. The shop was on the first floor of a three story town house in dead center city Allentown, PA. We lived above the shop on the second and third floor. My step-dad was a distant guy. Didn't really care about teaching me or my step-brother how to hit a baseball or throw a spiral. As a result, I spent the bulk of my childhood watching a whole lot of movies on our VHS player. Also, my step-dad stole cable. We had a cheaters box with all the premium movie channels. And that was pretty much all I did with my free time as a kid. Watch movies. A lot of movies. I would just record endlessly off HBO onto video tape, EP mode you could fit 3 or 4 movies on one cassette! And the 80's, man, just produced a ton of great, great movies that were geared to kids and teens. But what made these flicks great was that they didn't patronize their young viewers, like tween movies do nowadays.
Print by Dezi Sienty

Which brings me to The Monster Squad. One of the truly, quintessential 80's kid flicks I speak of. It was violent, it was scary, the kids curse like sailors... a 6 year old girl gets called a bitch. Sure, it's a cult classic now, but when the film came out in theaters it was a big box office failure. A studio's attempt to cash in on the Goonies craze. And let's be honest, The Monster Squad is basically The Goonies, but instead of the Fratellis, it's classic movie monsters. But the movie goes beyond just trying to be a cheap knock off. The kid actors are just as engaging. The humor is just as sharp. And the scares just as thrilling. Duncan Regher's version of Dracula is brilliant and frightening. Tom Noonan's Frankenstein Monster is imposing, yet pitiful. The movie is a great homage to the classic Universal monster flicks of the 40s. If you haven't seen The Monster Squad, lately or ever, definitely pick it up this Halloween and enjoy. At the very least you will learn two very valuable, possibly life saving lessons if you ever have the misfortune of running into a werewolf: Lesson #1, there's only one way to kill a werewolf. Lesson #2, Wolfman's got nards. - Cody Dee

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