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The Monster Squad

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The Monster Squad (Two-Disc 20th Anniversary Edition)

Current Status:
In Season
82 minutes
Tom Noonan
Fred Dekker
Fred Dekker
Horror, Comedy

We gave it an A-

Fred Dekker’s 1987 horror comedy is, like totally, the ultimate ’80s movie. An agreeably goofy, Little Rascals-meets-The Goonies time passer, the movie is proudly anti-CGI (with effects styled by ’80s FX guru Richard Edlund), montage-laden with a song by none other than Michael Sembello (”Maniac”), and peppered with schoolyard insults like ”faggot” and ”homo” that were all the rage in this era before political correctness seeped into American cinematic consciousness. The Monster Squad is far from an ideal picture: The editing is often crude, the jokes occasionally deflate like an inner tube, and visually it’s not on par with the films of Steven Spielberg or Richard Donner to which it owes so much. But this loaded two-disc set is a definitive treat. Among the many EXTRAS are two commentaries — one by writer-director Dekker and some of his young cast, who cheerfully point out the film’s inconsistencies and tweak that aforementioned silly-catchy Sembello song (”Rock until you drop/Dance until your feet fall off”), and another by Dekker and director of photography Bradford May that unapologetically calls out executive producer Peter Hyams (2010) for contributing to the movie’s uneven tone. Best of all is the exceptional, multipart documentary Monster Squad Forever, which runs longer than the 82-minute feature and is twice as good, highlighting every aspect of this movie’s existence, from Dekker’s early career and affinity for Universal horror flicks of the ’30s and ’40s, to the cast’s memories (Tom Noonan’s semi-surly, what-me-worry interview takes are positively hilarious), all the way to its recent addition to the cult-film canon, embodied in its sold-out midnight screenings in Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse. A-