A Sci-Fi Honey ‘Happy Hexmas’ Review by Katie

The Monster Squad (1987)
Happy Hexmas, guys and ghouls!  Today is a most sacred day for horror fans, who delight in spreading fright, partaking in some macabre festivities, and spending the night with a few close friends (and fiends).  Some of my favorite fearsome friends to share this hallowed holiday with include Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, the Wolf Man, the Mummy, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon.  You could visit all these creatures in a variety of ways from Hammer to present-day; however, there’s only one place that you can visit them all in one kick-ass Hexmas flick:  Fred Dekker’s 1987 horror-comedy classic The Monster Squad.

Ever grow up wishing you had a clubhouse (especially a treehouse) where you and your ragtag gang of friends could hide out and talk trash about whatever you wanted?  The Monster Squad features officially the coolest kid club in movie history: a Monster Club, run by 12-year-olds Sean and Patrick, who are die-hard monster movie fans.  Papered with posters from campy classics, the clubhouse also features a consortium of motley characters, including a kid named Fat Kid, a Corey Feldman-type rebel, a precocious five-year-old, a scrappy dog, and Frankenstein’s monster, played by the always amazing Tom Noonan.  Sean wears a t-shirt that says “Stephen King Rules,” and seriously, these kids are the middle school best friends I never had.

Noonan’s “Frank” joins the Monster Club after befriending Sean’s little sister (in an homage to James Whale’s 1931 immortal “flowers in the water” scene), after being awakened from a 100-year sleep by none other than Count Dracula (played with skillful menace by Duncan Regehr).  Dracula recruits his other monster movie minions to help him possess an amulet which will sway the balance of good versus evil squarely in the realm of evil.  Sean and his buddies catch wind of this plan and form “The Monster Squad” to battle them back through an otherworldly portal into a state of limbo, where they will presumably languish for another 100 years.  The film’s rogue gang of kids and action-adventure take on a traditional horror story gives it a Goonies vibe with a supernatural edge. 

Hot off his campy B-horror debut from the previous year, Night of the Creeps, Dekker enlisted co-writer Shane Black to help ratchet up the action in his follow up film.  As in Night of the Creeps, which paid homage to contemporary horror filmmakers, The Monster Squad is reverent to the larger-than-life creatures brought to life on celluloid in the classical era of horror cinema.  All the titular monsters involved are exactly as we remember them through the years: the “Gill-Man,” emerging from the murky depths; the Mummy, staggering out of his sarcophagus; the Wolf-Man, ravenous and uncontrollable; Frankenstein’s monster, woefully misunderstood; and Dracula, leader of this sinister mob – cunning, charismatic, and downright evil.

The Monster Squad was always destined to become a cult classic like its predecessor, ensuring that timeless lines like “Wofman’s got NARDS!” get repeated for all of eternity – and rightly so.  Whether you watched as a kid and have fond memories of repeat viewings throughout the years, or whether you’re watching for the first time as an adult, there’s a nostalgic quality to the film that makes you feel as though you’re reliving it with the youthful simplicity of a blossoming horror fan.  Even today, every time a new book, film, or character emerges from the genre that gets me excited, I get the same giddy and nerdy feeling these kids express in The Monster Squad.  For that one moment in time, we all revert back to our 12-year-old selves, holding tight to our earliest and purest love: horror.

Sci-Fi Honey Rating: Five nostalgic monsters out of five.  
Happy Hexmas, Pumpkins!