The Monster Squad (1987)

The Monster Squad (1987)

Taglines: The end of the world starts at midnight.

The Monster Squad is a society of pre-teenagers who idolize classic monster-movies and their non-human stars. They hold meetings at a tree-clubhouse in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Club leader Sean (Andre Gower), whose five-year-old sister Phoebe (Ashley Bank) desperately wants to join the club, is given the diary of legendary monster hunter Dr. Abraham Van Helsing (Jack Gwillim), but his excitement abates when he finds it is written in German.

Sean, his best friend Patrick (Robby Kiger), and the rest of the Monster Squad visit an elderly man, known as the “Scary German Guy” (Leonardo Cimino), actually a kind gentleman, to translate the diary. When the Monster Squad wonders how the German man is so knowledgeable about Van Helsing’s battle with monsters, he wryly comments that “he has some experience with monsters” and his shirt sleeve briefly reveals a Concentration camp number tattoo.

The diary describes, in great detail, an amulet that is composed of concentrated good. One day out of every century, as the forces of good and evil reach a balance, the otherwise indestructible amulet becomes vulnerable to destruction. With the next day of balance happening within a few days, at the stroke of midnight, the kids realize they must gain possession of the amulet and use it — with an incantation from Van Helsing’s diary — to open a hole in the universe and cast the monsters into Limbo. As shown in the prelude, Van Helsing had unsuccessfully attempted this one hundred years ago in order to defeat his old adversary Count Dracula (Duncan Regehr); his apprentices then emigrated to the United States to hide the amulet, where it was out of Dracula’s immediate reach.

The Monster Squad (1987)

Nevertheless, Dracula seeks to obtain the amulet before the Monster Squad does, so that the Count can take control of the world and plunge it into darkness. To this end, he assembles several of his most dangerous and monstrous allies: The Mummy (Michael MacKay), The Gill-man (Tom Woodruff Jr.), The Wolf Man (Carl Thibault), and in addition, three school girls (Mary Albee, Joan-Carrol Baron, and Julie Merrill) whom the Count transforms into his vampiric consorts.

Dracula then steals a crate from a B-25 Mitchell in flight, containing Frankenstein’s monster (Tom Noonan), thus completing his army. However, Frankenstein’s monster is reluctant to aid Dracula, and wanders into the forest where he encounters Phoebe. Rather than being afraid, she shows him the kindness he has always sought, and they become friends. After Phoebe proves to the Monster Squad that Frankenstein’s monster is not evil, he chooses to help the boys instead of Dracula.

The Monster Squad is a 1987 horror comedy film written by Shane Black and Fred Dekker and directed by Dekker (who also wrote and directed Night of the Creeps); Peter Hyams was one of the executive producers. It was released by Tri-Star Pictures on August 14, 1987. The film features the Universal Monsters (re-imagined by a team of special effects artists including Stan Winston), led by Count Dracula. They, in turn, combat a group of savvy kids out to keep them from controlling the world.

While not being a major success during its theatrical run and receiving mixed reviews from critics, the film has gained a positive reception from audiences and has become a cult classic in the years since its release.

The Monster Squad Movie Poster (1987)

The Monster Squad (1987)

Directed by: Fred Dekker
Starring: Andre Gower, Robby Kiger, Stephen Macht, Duncan Regehr, Ashley Bank, Tom Noonan, Brent Chalem, Ryan Lambert, Mary Ellen Trainor, Lisa Fuller
Screenplay by: Shane Black, Fred Dekker
Production Design by: Albert Brenner
Cinematography by: Bradford May
Film Editing by: James Mitchell
Set Decoration by: Garrett Lewis
Art Direction by: David M. Haber
Music by: Bruce Broughton
Distributed by: TriStar Pictures
Release Date: August 14, 1987