William Chrapcynski is another new name joining us for Halloween Horrors 2016! For his debut, William chose the 80’s cult classic The Monster Squad, a film that not only perfectly encapsulates so many things that we love about horror films and the Halloween season, but also tends to brings with it a flood of memories of the childhood years when so many of us first watched it. William’s entry definitely touches on both of those aspects, proving that the writer truly “got” the topic at hand.
William’s entry not only explains why so many of us love this film, but also why those that may not have seen it will most likely love it as well. More importantly, William ties the whole thing back into his own childhood experiences, which really, is what this whole series was about.
The Monster Squad
Count Dracula. Frankenstein’s Monster. The Wolf Man. The Mummy. Children of all ages have dressed up as these characters for Halloween for decades, and the one 80s flick that contains them all is The Monster Squad. Well. there is also the “Gill-Man”, but I don’t think he’s nearly as iconic as the others. While the film does have a scare or two, its childish humor is what truly ties it together to make it part of one of my favorite holidays.
The Monster Squad is about a group of kids who love the classic monsters. They eventually get sucked into an adventure where, with the help of a “Scary German Guy”, save the world from the very creatures that they idolize. Imagine if The Goonies was crossed with The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and you’ll have an idea of what this movie is all about.
What? You haven’t heard of this movie? Well, that doesn’t surprise me all that much. Unless you watched a great deal of cable during the late 80s or early 90s, it’s entirely possible that you have not been introduced to it. Movie goers and critics didn’t give it much praise during its original release, but it did eventually find itself jammed into the “cult classic” category as horror fans discovered it.
One thing that I find rather special about this movie is that it doesn’t dumb things down despite its somewhat childlike atmosphere. It really reminds me of how things were for me at that particular age. I mean, what kid doesn’t want to know whether or not the Wolf Man has nards? What kid doesn’t question whether or not all monsters are evil? What kid doesn’t want to be the hero that saves the world? That’s the kind of movie that The Monster Squad is.
The basic plot of the film revolves around Count Dracula plotting to take over the world with his monster horde. To complete his plan, he needs to locate a particular amulet before the “good guys” do. While it’s a fairly familiar plot, the film finds several clever ways to keep things interesting. I think the writers definitely spent some time studying The Goonies as it explores the idea that “ugly” doesn’t necessarily mean “evil”. I think the film also tries to get the watcher to understand that kids are often strong enough to solve a serious problem. That’s an idea that I can certainly get behind.
Now, I do have somewhat of a personal connection with this film and Halloween. As I mentioned before, most of the monsters in this film are those that are often portrayed by children on October 31st. Back in the day, I was no exception. I was lucky enough to have a mom who knew how to sew and that meant that I never really had a store bought costume to wear. I’ve been Scooby-Doo, Snake Eyes (G.I. Joe), and many others. One year, though, I got to be a mummy. Mom sewed several strips of white cloth to some sweat pants and a shirt and I transformed myself into a mummy back from the grave!
So, who’s this film for? If you’ve seen The Goonies amd haven’t heard of The Monster Squad, then I certainly recommend it. If you grew up during the 80s, it could be a great movie to share with someone of a younger generation. If you like monsters, it’s definitely got that! It you like a little bit of cheesy humor, it’s certainly got that covered. It’s the perfect movie to get you all pumped up for the Halloween season!
By William Chrapcynski