Here’s the setup: Dracula comes to what appears to be San Dimas, bringing all his friends from the Universal Monsters catalog with him. He wants to take over the world, and it’s up to a bunch of junior high schoolers, The Monster Squad, to save the day. Sounds like fun, right? Work in some sight gags, put the gang in a little peril, finish with a stake in the heart, and roll the credits. But then the kids get help from a Holocaust survivor who reflects that he knows what real monsters look like, and we’re shocked out of the comfortable universe of the Universal Monsters and back into our (decidedly less comfortable) own. Before we know it, some monsters are comic relief, others are murderers, and the film can’t seem to figure out how it feels about any of it.
Adding insult to injury, The Monster Squad lacks internal coherence. It’s as if the Universal went with the first draft that didn’t feature Fred Grandy and never even bothered to send for a more polished product. There’s a bunch of stuff about a vortex and a rite that’ll do away with monsters once and for all, but the film’s prologue shows us an earlier generation conducting the same rite and creating the same vortex, apparently to no avail. This leaves the adults in the audience spending the picture’s running time asking, “So what?” Forget about the film’s disregard for human life, its cavalier attitude toward early sexuality, and even its silly anachronisms. This movie just doesn’t make any sense.
I’m addending my 10-year-old son’s impressions, so you can see I’m not alone. If you’re looking for kid-friendly, monsterrific fun, skip The Monster Squad and just see the original Universal monster movies again. They’re better in every imaginable way.
I liked the movie the first time I watched it, But the second time, I noticed disturbing elements. Some innocent cops got sucked into the vortex that was meant for evil monsters to be sucked in. Some people even died. So with the deaths, they went from “cheesy non-threatening monsters" to "serious no kidding people-are-dying threatening monsters."
Well, it wasn’t all bad. There were friendly parts. One character was dressing up Frankenstein’s Monster in girl clothes, And the Werewolf mask was cheesy lookin’. Cheesy is good, Because it looks very non-threatening, so it’s “Spooky” not “Scary.” The Mummy and Gill-Man also looked fake and fun.
It’s got elements I liked, & scenes I disliked. Then again, I still could just skip the parts I don’t like. No wait, That wouldn’t work, because that would annoy the people I’m watching it with. Guess I’m still waiting for the perfect movie I’m going to like completely.