Original release: August 14th, 1987
Running time: 82 minutes
Director: Fred Dekker
Writers: Shane Black, Fred Dekker
Cast: Andre Gower, Robby Kiger, Brent Chalem, Michael Faustino, Ashley Bank, Ryan Lambert, Stephen Macht, Duncan Regehr, Tom Noonan
When I was little, there weren’t many things that scared me. I never checked under my bed and didn’t worry about what was in the closet either. Monsters were made for stories and they weren’t supposed to exist in our world. At least that’s what I was told, and besides, even if they were real, they couldn’t be any worse than my third grade teacher – now that was a real monster! Belief in the supernatural was never a requirement for me to enjoy monster movies though. It was enough that the characters believed in them and were ready to fight.
The Monster Club was an 80′s film that placed kids at the centre of the action and made them face a collection of truly nasty creatures. It’s about a group of kids who run a monster club. They meet everyday in a tree-house to talk about what they saw in films and read about in comics. Lead by Sean (Andre Gower), the Monster Squad includes his best friend Patrick (Robby Kiger), Horace (Brent Chalem), who’s always referred to as “Fat Kid”, Eugene (Michael Faustino), the youngest, and his beagle, Pete.
There’s also Sean’s younger sister, Phoebe (Ashley Bank), who desperately wants to be in the club but isn’t allowed because she’s a girl, and the cool kid, Rudy (Ryan Lambert). After saving Horace from a beating at school, he brings him to join the club but first has to pass the monster test. Meanwhile, Count Dracula (Duncan Regehr) is back in action and has gathered Frankenstein’s Monster (Tom Noonan), a Wolfman, a Mummy and Gill-man to help him obtain an amulet which keeps the balance between good and evil. Once every century, the amulet’s power weakens for a short time and the balance can be tipped.
As Sean’s father, Del (Stephen Macht), is a cop, the youngster learns about a man who’s shot when he enters a police station and goes berserk, claiming he’s going to turn into a werewolf, and an ancient Egyptian mummy that walks out of a museum.
This all coincides with Sean receiving Van Helsing’s diary which details the weakening of the amulet, happening the next day. The Monster Squad realise everything they’ve read about and seen in films is real, but no one else sees what’s going on. It’s up to them to save the world by getting the amulet first and opening a portal to cast Dracula and his own squad into Limbo.
As they embark on their mission, they also have to try and find a virgin to recite the German words in the diary that will open the portal. With the help of a holocaust survivor and Sean’s dad, the Monster Squad just might manage to avert an apocalypse, but Dracula doesn’t give up easily and even resorts to blowing up Sean’s tree-house and using very harsh language with little Phoebe.
The Monster Squad is a thoroughly enjoyable 80’s romp that has quite a few stand-out moments, including one where Phoebe makes friends with Frankenstein’s Monster, securing her membership in the club. The towering giant also joins the Monster Squad and fights alongside them. Any scene with Eugene is also fun; he tells his father there’s a monster in his closet, and there really is. Later on he sends a letter to the army telling them “Dear Army guys, There are monsters, come quick.”
Being an 80s film, there’s also the obligatory music montage sequence where we see the gang preparing for battle and arming themselves with silver bullets, stakes and cross bows. By the time The Monster Squad reaches its finale and the army guys arrive, thanks to Eugene’s letter, the kids are exhausted and so are we. It’s quite a battle and Horace even finds a way to deal with the school bullies who were taunting him at the beginning.
It’s a film many of us saw as kids and remember fondly. Though the effects look dated now, it’s still as enjoyable as other childhood favourites like The Goonies (1985) and The Explorers (1985), which gave kids like me a few scares back then, even though I was knew it was all make-believe, or at least I hoped it was.
The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is a composer and music producer with a philosophy degree. Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and World Cinema, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.
You can find his music on Soundcloud .