The Monster Squad Fred Dekker

The Monster Squad Fred Dekker
Though it never took off at the box office, faded in the VHS market and is only now receiving a DVD release, The Monster Squad remains a treasure amongst modern monster movies and ’80s nostalgia. Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolfman, the Creature (from the Black Lagoon) and the Mummy are all resurrected in the modern day (well, 1987) and set loose to send the world to hell. But one thing stands in their way: a scruffy group of comic and horror film-obsessed pubescent kids called "The Monster Squad,” armed with the right weapons and literature to stop the monsters cold. On the surface it appears to be a fright flick for the kiddies with comedic gags thrown in but Fred Dekker (Robocop 3, Night of the Creeps) made an odd yet rewarding choice to insert all sorts of PG-13 content: questioning whether the Wolfman has "nards,” asking a teenage girl if she’s a virgin (as well as showing her in her skimpies) and allowing a six-year-old, as well as a group of pre-teens, to say "shit,” amongst other words that would get their mouths cleaned out with soap. It eschews every eye rolling move most kids films feel obliged to make (though the Back to the Future-like ending is a must), creating a legacy that will hopefully grow, especially with this fine DVD treatment. Dekker’s commentary with the cast reunites the "Squad members,” allowing them to reminisce and relive their youth. Best of all is hearing Ashley Bank, the aforementioned six-year-old, who’s now 26. A five-part retrospective is an all-encompassing look back, sitting down with Dekker and picking his brain about the film’s roots, as well as focusing on everything, from the makeup and legacy of the monsters to developing the story and revealing the mini-phenomena of the film. The interviews with most of the cast members, especially in "The Monsters & the Squad,” give some great memories from the set and as with most films starring children, provide an interesting look at how everyone has aged. "Monster Mania” takes the film to a convention to demonstrate just how large and adoring the film’s cult following has become. The deleted scenes are all rough cuts, oddly, featuring Sean and Phoebe’s parents, which were wisely left on the cutting room floor. "A Conversation with Frankenstein” is a lost interview, with Tom Noonan in character; it’s funny, he knows his history and throws in a whimsical playfulness, especially when he’s explaining how working with children gave him a way to break free of Dracula’s "bad influence.” The only real disappointment is the updated artwork — the original movie poster is an unsung classic that is sadly absent. Plus: commentary, stills, storyboards. (Maple)