In the eighties if it was popular it had to have a tie in to something that involved merchandise. It didn’t matter what it was, whether it was Rubiks Cubes, Mad Balls, or even the Garbage Pail Kids, companies were always thinking about new ways to squeeze as much money out of their products as possible. In the eighties, My Pet Monster was a very popular kids toy that was simple in premise. It was a cute horned monster with plastic cuffs that kept its claws secure. The monster was gross enough for kids that loved monsters, but cute enough to warrant being a bed time toy. So naturally Hi Tops gave us an animated series for “My Pet Monster” and a much derided straight to video movie that reeks of a cash grab.
It’s not so much we get a movie about “My Pet Monster” it’s that the producers and writers behind the movie didn’t seem to have a good idea on how to turn the toy in to a good movie. I would have much preferred an “E.T.” meets “Gremlins” fantasy movie about kids that befriend a friendly but raucous monster. Here instead, we’re given a hokey tale of a young kid named Max who is cursed with becoming a purple monster thanks to an ancient statue during a field trip. Once the museum owner finds out Max can transform in to a monster, he hopes to catch him and study him, but Max and his friend Melanie try to conceal his identity while keeping his monstrous habits under control.
At only an hour, “My Pet Monster” wastes no time getting the plot in motion and is filmed very much like a TV pilot. It’s never made clear what kind of powers Max has, but he does become a monster when he’s very hungry. We also never find out why no one else was turned, or why he was chosen to become a monster. Either way its best not to put too much brain work in to the premise. It’s also best not to put too much thought in a movie with a sub-plot about a poodle, and with a monster whose mechanical suit barely seems to work if at all. “My Pet Monster” is another absolutely awful cash in on an eighties fad, and one whose value is centered on nostalgia and nostalgia alone.