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In Praise of The Squad
by Tim Josephs

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Tagline: You know who to call when you have ghosts...

Tagline: You know who to call when you have ghosts...
When I was about 12 or so I had a Halloween party. After hours of trick-or-treating a few friends and I gathered at my house to watch some scary movies and munch on chips and candy. I think there were three movies but I can only remember two. One of them was the 80s remake of INVADERS FROM MARS, and of that I only recall a woman at one point gobbling down a frog. The other movie was THE MONSTER SQUAD, and it was love at first screening. For those who might not be familiar with the film, it's about a group of kids who have their own monster club that regularly meets in their tree fort to talk about and draw pictures of their beloved
...But who do you call when you have monsters?

...But who do you call when you have monsters?
monsters. When they discover that Dracula is in town with a group of bad guys to find an amulet that will shift the powers of good and evil (to the evil side of course), they realize they're the only ones who can stop it.

Although the plot is kind of silly (why Van Helsing's diary and this important amulet are suddenly found in this suburban American town, who the hell knows?), it's actually a good and entertaining movie. I'd seen it once or twice since that Halloween party, but because it's very rarely on TV, I finally bought myself a copy.

I watched it recently and it was pretty much just as I remembered it. I think what originally
Preparing for battle

Preparing for battle
enthralled me with the film was that it was a group of kids facing some scary dudes all by themselves. Just like the kids in THE GOONIES and to a lesser extent, THE LOST BOYS, I wanted to be there, in that group, going on a great albeit frightening adventure.

And THE MONSTER SQUAD has it all. There's a brave leader, a cool kid, a fat kid (who everybody except the cool kid calls Fat Kid), a sweet little girl, an initially scary but eventually helpful foreign guy, and even a cute dog.

There's a superbly 80s montage set to "Rock Until You Drop" where the boys prepare their plans and weapons to battle the monsters, including melting down
Yes, yes he does

Yes, yes he does
silverware to make silver bullets.

There's comedy: When Fat Kid kicks the Wolfman in the groin and the Wolfman hunches over in pain, Fat Kid says in astonishment "Wolfman's got nards!"

There's a touching moment when little Phoebe has to say goodbye to the gentle giant Frankenstein.

And of course there are some scary scenes, like when the Mummy jumps on the back of their speeding car or when they have to face the three recently turned female vampires.

Basically everything you could want in a kids/teen oriented scary/funny film is in there and I think it's a dirty shame that it's not regularly shown on cable, especially this time of year.

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Mike Thomas
Oct 26, 2010 10:55 PM
[X] delete
"...and you CAN'T kill a werewolf with wooden stake - only a silver bullet!"
Oct 27, 2010 10:02 AM
[X] delete
Yes. And as demonstrated, not even blowing one to pieces will work.

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Movie Musings
Every other Tuesday

Thoughts, observations, conjectures, complaints about movies and mostly how they relate to me personally. If you're looking for something a little broader, try Ebert.

Other Columns
Other columns by Tim Josephs:

So Long 2013, and MatchFlickers!

The Season for Peace, Presents, & Puncture Wounds

Women are Once Again Kicking Ass

Chewing the Scenery

The Greatest President We Never Had

All Columns

Tim Josephs
Born to write (literally much to the displeasure of his mother, he emerged with a pencil clutched in one tiny fist), Tim spends most of his days crafting epic monosyllabic poems, new comical titles to his favorite Beatles' songs (Hey, Dude), and angry letters to local businesses that have wronged him in some way. He's really an okay guy once you get to know him.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Tim Josephs by clicking here.

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