The Rube’s Review: The Monster Squad

The Monster Squad

EDITOR’S NOTE: I would like to introduce a brand new writer to the SKC: Sage James Spirtos, otherwise known as The Rube. The Rube will be joining us here over the next few weeks from his secret base, the impenetrable fortress called Rusty Quarters Retro Arcade & Museum. If you’re in the Minneapolis, MN area it’s definitely the place to be!

Monster Squad PosterI was going through my movies this morning, looking for something that I haven’t seen in awhile. First, I went through my 500+ DVD collection and just couldn’t find anything that really interested me, so I decided to get dirty and go through my very dusty and long forgotten VHS collection… I wonder if anyone remembers VHS tapes anymore?

Anyways, while I was looking through dozens of horror movies, which basically makes up about 95% of my DVD and VHS movie collection, I found a tape with no labels on it. Out of curiosity, I dusted it off, put in the machine, and pressed play. To my surprise, it was one of my favorite movies when I was a kid… The Monster Squad. Ok, for you guys and girls that might have not seen (or even been born to watch) this 1988 feature film, the story goes like this:

A group of kids must stop Dracula and his group of Universal Monsters from getting their claws on a mystical amulet and Van Helsing’s diary (that one of the kids moms finds at a garage sale). If evil gets possession of these two items, they will have the power to destroy the world!

I know it sounds kinda cheesy (which is part of it’s charm) but other than some pretty intense scenes (which I’ll get to in a sec), all of the monster makeup/special effects are 100% top notch, even by today’s’ standards… and I have to say they are the coolest revamps of Universal monsters that I have ever seen. All, except for the creature design (created by Steve Wang), where done by Stan Winston’s crew… you know, the guys that did the makeup/special effects for The Terminator movies, Predator, Jurassic Park, Pumpkinhead, and so many more.

Monster Squad - monsters

Ok, so for those who haven’t seen it yet you must be saying to yourself, “Why the fuck should I care about tracking down this dated 80’s kids movie?” Well, here’s a list of some of the things that you’ll see in this PG-13 romp:

retro coin One of Dracula’s Brides eating a wolf’s throat, and gets staked
retro coin Zombies!
retro coin A man violently turning into the Wolfman, twice
retro coin The Mummy
retro coin Dracula being all badass
retro coin One of the coolest Creature (From the Black Lagoon) monsters ever!
retro coin More of Dracula’s brides
retro coin Frankenstein
retro coin A custom monster hearse
retro coin A spooky old mansion
retro coin 7 cops get killed
retro coin The Wolfman getting kicked in the nuts
retro coin An interesting demise of the Mummy
retro coin A tree house gets blown to shit (no mini models on this one)
retro coin A cool scene where bullets bounce off of Dracula
retro coin Dracula kills a cop with dynamite
retro coin A kid burns Dracula’s face with a slice of garlic pizza
retro coin The Wolfman gets blown up into bloody chunks… and reassembles himself to kill again!

Oh, did I mention that this was a (PG-13) rated movie…?

All of the reasons above totally makes up for some of the 80’s cheese (some of the 80’s slang, Town & Country kids apparel, shitty montage music and rap song at the end credits, etc.) that you will have to endure in this picture but trust me, it’s really worth the ride. For those that don’t have don’t know what a VCR is, The Monster Squad is also available on a remastered 20th Anniversary 2-Disc DVD, which is fully loaded with commentaries from director Fred Dekker and most of the cast (R.I.P. Fat Kid), commercials, stills, and deleted scenes.

Written by The Rube

The Rube is co-owner of Rusty Quarters Retro Arcade & Museum in Minneapolis, MN. He is also a Special Effects Artist, Master Chef, and Multiple Threadless Design Winner. Other than writing reviews and doodling, he enjoys watching bad movies, building monster model kits, and collecting games for the Nintendo Entertainment System.

70 posts
  • James

    Wow, haven’t thought about that movie probably since I saw it in the theatre when it first came out!

  • Jim

    I first saw this in 1988 and I went with my uncle who recently passed away, and my cousin. I remember we were late, My uncle was always late, not a pun, he was late. We missed the first 5 minutes or so. I didn’t have cable, so when it came on a few years later on HBO my uncle recorded it for me, and sent me the tape. It was again missing the first 5 minutes or so because he forgot to start the VCR on time. It wasn’t until it came on DVD that I bought it and saw the beginning I watched that DVD over and over. I even showed it to my kids at school, Im a teacher. It is still one of the best movies ever.


  • Daniel

    This has always and will always be one of my favorite childhood movies. It was hard to find a copy when I was young so I rented it from the local video store. I wore out the tape and they had to get rid of it. I now own an original that I bought online and of course now on DVD.

    For all who have not seen it, put on your 80s brain and remember it (kind of) was made for kids… kind of. It’s such a fun watch.

  • Luis

    This was definitely my favorite movie as a kid, everything on it was just awesome, in my 7 year old mind, the only thing that could have improved it was a TMNT cameo. Even when that didn’t happen, i watched this about 40 times, i had it on beta. Great memories.