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This review is from: The Monster Squad (Two-Disc 20th Anniversary Edition) (DVD)
If you grew up in the 1980's, you're probably already familiar with "The Monster Squad." It's been a long time coming for this film to get the DVD treatment and I for one am glad to see it finally happen. For those not familiar with the story, here's a brief explanation: Dracula's been after an amulet that will allow the monsters of the world take over the human realm forever. Van Helsing tried to stop him many years ago but only managed to postpone his success. Now, in the present day 80's, the amulet and the book necessary to trigger it have been found. Dracula gathers up all of his monster buddies (think Universal Monsters) to help him in his quest. Luckily for us humans, young Sean Crenshaw (Andre Gower) and his monster-crazy pals are on the case. Will the Monster Squad save the day?
For a flick made in the 80's, the special effects are pretty good. The monsters are especially good looking, but that's expected of the wonder that is Stan Winston. The only semi-cheesey effect is that of the vortex at the beginning and end of the film. It looks rather dated, but special effects aren't what this film is all about. It's about youngsters facing challenging odds and trying to succeed.
The human cast includes Gower, Ashley Bank (Phoebe), the reliable Stephen Macht (Del), Robby Kiger (Patrick), Brent Chalem (Horace), Michael Faustino (Eugene), Ryan Lambert (Rudy) and Leonardo Cimino as the Scary German Guy. The monsters include Duncan Regehr hamming it up as Dracula, Tom Noonan as the loveable Frankenstein, and "Napoleon Dynamite's" Uncle Rico (Jon Gries) as the Desperate Man (the Wolfman's human form).
Although it's considered a kids' film, "The Monster Squad" shouldn't be viewed by children under the age of nine or ten in my opinion. You're free to use your own judgment, but just know that there is quite a bit of violence including impalings, dismemberment via dynamite, people sucked into a vortex, and vehicles exploding. There is also a healthy dose of strong language, especially during a scene that will probably upset young children involving Sean's sister, Phoebe, and Dracula (it's only one word, but it's delivered with rage-filled perfection).
This 20th Anniversary DVD is excellent. It brings back a lot of memories for anyone who remembers and loves this film. It includes a wonderful set of documentaries on the making of the film and the events that lead up to the DVD release. There are plenty of other features as well, but just know that Lionsgate did an outstanding job of packaging this DVD and gives the fans plenty of reasons to remember the good old days.
In all honesty, the main reasons for watching this film are to get nostalgic for those of us who grew up on films like this, "The Goonies" and "Gremlins," and also to introduce the film to a whole new generation. My daughter and my brand new son are still too young to see this in my opinion, but I'll definitely introduce them to it later. This flick is a wonderful trip down memory lane and I'm sure that it will be the same for a new generation soon enough.
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