The Monster Squad
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that while most of the movie is good Scooby-Doo-style fun, it also has an undercurrent of intolerance. In addition to Dracula and the Wolfman, the movie sets up the boogeymen of the day: gay men, fat people, and girls who want to be included in a boys club. There's also lots of cartoonish violence that, while completely unrealistic, is likely to scare younger kids. Sean's parents are also going to a marriage counselor and fight loudly where Sean can hear them. And while Rudy protects Horace from getting bullied, he's also not someone to look up to -- he drinks and smokes. The kids also swear quite a bit and call their teacher and other kids "faggot."
What's the story?
Sean (Andre Gower), Horace (Brent Chalem), cool kid Rudy (Ryan Lambert), and the gang may be in junior high, but they still love the Wolfman, Dracula, and the whole ghoulish bunch. When strange things start happening -- a man (Napoleon Dynamite's Jon Gries) shows up at a police station desperate to be locked up to keep him from harming people as a werewolf, a mummy disappears from the museum, Dracula's casket gets dropped in a marsh -- the kids know what they have to do. "Something's out there and it's killing people," announces Sean in their treehouse. "No one is going to do anything about it but us." With the help of Scary German Guy and the diary of vampire-hunter Abraham Van Helsing, the gang learns that every 100 years, the forces of evil can take over the world if a special amulet isn't protected and they fail to find a virgin to read an incantation -- in German. But can they find the amulet, fight the monsters, and save the world, even while their families don't believe them?
Is it any good?
For teens who think they're too old for the Scooby Doo TV series but not old enough for real horror movies like Shaun of the Dead, consider THE MONSTER SQUAD, a little-known 1980s monster movie that's basically Buffy-light.
There are some priceless moments in the movie: Eugene (Married… With Children's Michael Faustino) tells his dad that there's a monster in the closet. Dad opens the closet and he's so busy hamming it up he's oblivious to the fact that there's a real mummy in there. Eugene sends a note to the military -- "Dear Army guys, There are monsters, come quick!" -- and they actually show up. But most of it is your typical Scooby-Doo intrigue: creepy houses, hidden passageways. But for avid monster lovers, none of that will matter. It's a frolicking good time. If you can ignore the fatphobia, homophobia (did these kids have to use the word "faggot"? Ugh.), and no-girls-allowed attitude at the beginning of the movie, the rest is a hoot.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about cartoonish violence vs. the real thing. How do you differentiate the two? What makes the cartoonish kind fun to watch in this movie?