Customer Review

39 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A forgotten gem., November 5, 2004
This review is from: The Monster Squad [VHS] (VHS Tape)
With all the Universal films being released and re-released on DVD, in addition to Stephen Sommers' VAN HELSING, I'm shocked to see that THE MONSTER SQUAD isn't being given the credit it is due. Some of the special effects may seem a bit dated by today's near-flawless CGI standards, but this is a really enjoyable movie that transcends time as much, if not more so, as all the black-and-white favorites that inspired it.

The story centers around a small band of pre-teens who are devoted fans of the Classic Monsters. The group soon learns that the evil Count Dracula is lurking nearby, and has gathered a small band of his own: Frankenstein's Monster, the Wolf Man, the Mummy, and the Gill-Man (aka, the Creature From the Black Lagoon). Their goal: to obtain a mystical amulet that will shift the balance of power in their favor and plunge the world into total, chaotic darkness.

What follows is a series of chases, terror-filled encounters, and unforgettable one-liners ("Wolf Man's got NARDS!") that make this film a must-have for all monster fans. The Squad is a likeable lot, each member possessing characteristics that kids of any generation can identify with, and the monsters themselves aren't played for comedy or reduced to caricatures:

Duncan Regehr's Dracula is both charming and sadistic, a perfect blend of Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee, while Tom Noonan's Frankenstein Monster draws its inspiration from Boris Karloff and Glenn Strange, seemlessly integrating the best aspects of both actors' very different portrayals.

Jonathan Gries' performance as the Wolf Man's human half makes the viewer WANT to believe that he is Lon Chaney, Jr. back from the grave, and the Mummy shines in an amusing scare scene with one of the younger Squad members. Sadly, it is the Gill-Man who manages to get the least amount of time, but when he does show up, he is something to behold.

Though not released through Universal, THE MONSTER SQUAD is a wonderful cult-classic that preserves the spirits of these characters to a much greater degree than the latter-day VAN HELSING does. Only one question remains: where's the DVD?
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