DVD Review: The Monster Squad

  DVD Review: The Monster Squad

The Monster Squad was one of my favorite films when I was a kid.  It’s a very simple film aimed at teens and tweens that is basically “The Goonies” with Universal monsters.  You have a rag-tag group of kids who have to defend the world (no one believes monsters are real of course) against Count Dracula, The Wolfman, Gill-man, The Mummy, and Frankenstein.  The Count is attempting to get possession of a mystical amulet that will give him control over the balance of good and evil and he has until midnight to obtain it.  The kids (who meet in a treehouse, no less) try to stop the monsters from obtaining the amulet.  People who haven’t seen the film in years may be taken aback by the politically incorrect and crude humor.  The film was clearly patterned after the popular Goonies film.  Director Fred Dekker has said he also got inspiration from The Little Rascals and basically wanted to marry them with monsters.  What Monster Squad lacks in creativity, it more than makes up for in mindless fun. 

The real treat for fans is this 20th anniversary edition two disc set.  It’s a terrific deal and must-have for fans, and a film that hopefully people will share with friends and family who may have never seen the film.  Fred Dekker says in the DVD insert notes that the Monster Squad was “released to dismissive critical reaction and anemic box office” but he slowly realized that people had “discovered” the film thanks to cable and VHS.  He credits screenings all over the country and especially the fanboy website Aint It Cool News.com has being major reasons that the DVD was produced.  Lionsgate (a perfect distributor of this kind of low budget genre film) is producing the DVD and they did an excellent job with both the transfer and extras.

The Monster Squad comes to DVD with a remastered widescreen transfer and the film has never looked better.  Fans can finally toss their grainy VHS or choppy copies dubbed off cable TV.  The audio was also remastered and the new 5.1 recording sounds excellent.  The DVD is packed with extras including an 87 (!) minute five part retrospective with new interviews with most of the cast and writer/director Fred Dekker who seems genuinely thankful to the fans about the response to the film.  There are also two commentaries, deleted scenes (that don’t really add much to the film), the original theatrical trailer and TV spot, and some other goodies.

The Monster Squad is juvenile, un-even, and even moronic at times, but it’s also a wonderful homage to the monster films that you grew up on as a child. The effects by Robert Edlund and the monsters created by the great Stan Winston make this a must-see. It’s a painless, fast-paced way to spend 82 minutes and I can’t recommend this DVD enough to old fans, while hoping that the film makes lots of new ones.

Film Grade: B+

pixel DVD Review: The Monster Squad

More fun articles: