MARCH 21, 2008
There’s a certain risk involved when re-watching movies as an adult that you really liked as a kid. The risk being that they don’t hold up to your memory, and as a result you no longer like the film at all. It happened with Critters last year, and pretty much all of the Nightmare On Elm St sequels (except 3. Dream Warriors fucking owns). So even though I bought the Monster Squad DVD when it came out last year, I never opened it, because I was afraid of it happening again. I had only seen the movie once, when I was like 8, so I didn’t remember ANYTHING except liking it. However, when the New Beverly announced they would be screening the film with Fred Dekker in attendance, I couldn’t pass it up. Plus, if there was any hope for enjoying the movie as an adult, it would be at the Bev, with 300 of my closest friends (and of course, a few smuggled in beers).
Luckily, the gamble worked. I had a blast. It reeks of 80s at every turn (having Mary Ellen Trainor, patron saint of 80s action movies, doesn’t help, as MILF-y as she may be), but it’s fun all the way through, and a far better way for a modern audience to be introduced to Wolf Man, Dracula, and Frankenstein than that piece of shit Stephen Sommers movie.
One thing I never realized as a kid was how the movie was essentially missing a middle. The monsters come, their plan is revealed, and they are stopped. Instantly. The first time half of our characters even SEE the monsters is when they are having their big showdown. Men In Black was the same way; they spend a good hour introducing us to everyone on both sides of the conflict, and then less than 20 wrapping it up. It’s a short movie anyway (82 minutes with credits), but this odd structure makes it feel like 60.
Still, as a kid I didn’t get why all of the kids were trying so hard to get the photo that Frankie took, so it evens out.
Anyway, now that I felt “safe” to do so, I went home and opened the DVD, finally. I wasn’t aware that the documentary on the disc was longer than the film itself, but it was quite good. I wish they had assembled more of the actors (where’s Eugene?), and that they had spent more time on the film’s reception, however. Still, a must for fans, and very well put together. I was saddened to learn of Horace’s passing 10 years ago (of pneumonia), but not really surprised – for some reason I find that whenever I watch a movie from the 70s or 80s, I later discover that one of the actors died at an early age. It’s depressing.
There are also two commentary tracks. I listened to the one with Dekker and the kids, but not the one with Dekker and the DP. Why? Well, DPs are 99% of the time the boringest people in the world to listen to, and between the doc, the commentary, an Dekker’s Q&A at the screening, I highly doubt there’s a lot more I need to know about this movie. Still, it’s a great package (there are also deleted scenes, storyboards, etc), the type of set I wish all movies would get eventually. Three Amigos! is similarly beloved, despite a less than impressive original box office take, and that movie doesn’t even have a goddamn widescreen transfer!
What say you?