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The Monster Squad Review: The Goonies Vs Dracula — As Good As It Sounds | Retro-Specs

Take The Goonies and Universal’s Classic Monsters and make a movie with them. Wait, The Monster Squad already exists. Hitting our world in 1987, Shane Black (Iron Man 3, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang) helped Fred Dekker (Robocop 3) write a wonderful tale of kids dealing with being kids while fighting Dracula, the Creature, a Mummy, and a nards having Werewolf. Dekker directed, we consumed, and now I am writing about it 35 years later. I’m in the damn club! Now, let’s review The Monster Squad.

The Story

The movie is simple enough, many years ago Van Helsing defeats Dracula and many years later the damn vampire returns with other monsters to take over the world. However, there’s a group of foul-mouthed kids that live and breathe monsters ready to defeat them. Oh, and Frankenstein’s Monster is a good guy and the comedic relief. Wait, the whole movie is comedic relief. At the end of the day, they need a virgin to read some magic German words in order to activate a jewel and send the monsters back into a vortex… It should have been the pits of fiery Hell!

The Monster Squad Review Retro-Specs

Characters

What makes this movie so great is the characters. The monsters are all cool in their own right, but Frankenstein’s Monster gets the big share of the screen for them. However, the kids get to show off each of the classes/cliques we all witnessed ourselves. Horace, also known as Fat Kid, embodies the insecure in us, but he gets a key moment to shine. Rudy is the kid we all want to be, but he learns that there’s more to cool than smokes and leather. Also, we can’t forget Scary German Guy… He’s there too!

Sean is the every kid of the group, think Mikey from The Goonies, and Andre Gower will always be known for the role. We can’t forget Phoebe either, the poor little girl who has to save the world because the teenage “virgin” didn’t think that one time counted. Phoebe is the innocence of us all. The part able to see that Frankenstein’s Monster isn’t a monster, and the part that makes us want to protect that innocence.

Of course, since this is aimed at kids, all of the adults are dumb. The older teenagers are dumb, and everything you hated about your elders is parodied in this movie. Kids get to live revenge on their bullies, a fantastical adventure, and have the idea that adults don’t get it validated all in 79 minutes.

ALSO SEE: Horror Noire | Leslie-Ann Brandt & Nathaniel Logan McIntyre On The Importance Of Black Horror [Exclusive Interview]

Why It’s Special

If you’ve made it this far, then you know why it’s special. All of the characters and story elements sound fun, are fun, and will be fun every time you watch it. However, it’s the comedy and interactions in and around the kids and monsters that make this movie so damn good. From Frankenstein’s Monster learning modern (80’s) slang like “bogus”, to learning that Wolfman’s got nards, there are one liners galore. Rudy saving Horace and making the big brother from The Wonder Years eat a dirty candy bar is the ultimate “F*&$ YOU” moment to bullies, and it made us feel so good to see a cool kid protect the outsider. This movie is that stepping stone from family friendly Back to the Future to the raunchy Animal House or Porky’s.

Yes, this being a raunchy 80’s film means it’s got many haters today. It uses homophobic slurs and crosses lines that honestly should have existed in the 80’s, but they didn’t. Deal with it in context and enjoy the good that is in there.

Final Thoughts

Being a kid is hard and being a geeky kid that is into monsters is harder. However, The Monster Squad is a film that enables you to escape this rotten rock called Earth (boring name by the way, we should officially go by Terra from now on) for a short time. That is an important thing to be able to do. Too often in today’s media we insist on commentary in everything. It is bullshit to disallow simple entertainment. This isn’t the greatest movie ever, but it is the greatest movie to ever have a Wolfman get kicked in the nards, and that’s enough for me.

The movie is a solid B. Watch if you liked: The Goonies or Little Monsters

Have you ever seen The Monster Squad? Also, how would you review it? Lastly, what else would you like Retro-Specs to cover in the future?

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