Fred Dekker’s “The Monster Squad” is the assembly of many eighties tropes, even conjuring up the aesthetic of a novel series one might have found tucked beside “The Hardy Boys,” and “Babysitters Club.” It’s Amblin, Spielberg, Universal and everything else we loved about the eighties, and while it can in many ways be considered a take off on “The Goonies,” it watches so much better over time. Even better is the script by Shane Black allows for interesting and complex preteen heroes, all of whom have their spotlight, as well as their own personal struggles. Like Spielberg, Black introduces a potentially broken home with main hero Sean, while this extraordinary situation allows his family to re-unite for the fate of him and his little sister.
The “Wes Craven Presents Dracula” series has been one of the kookiest and oddest trilogies ever conceived by a studio. Obviously the trilogy is just a hodgepodge of three vampire movies connected because Dracula. But it’s an eccentric trilogy when you take a step back. The first was a sleek action horror film with Dracula being the reincarnated Judas. The second is a goofy thriller about scientists trying to manipulate Dracula’s blood in to a healing medicine. The third is a romance with a martial arts fighting rogue priest who is trying to stop immigrants from becoming Dracula’s imported food.
It’s funny how I know so much about Dracula and still can’t get enough of the character or the concept no matter where I turn. Intervision’s “The Trail of Dracula” is an hour long look in to the history of Dracula through the ages. There are tons of interviews and accounts from the creation of Bram Stoker’s novel, and the unauthorized adaptation called “Nosferatu,” right down to his pop culture influence in the modern age like “Vampire Hunter D” and “Castlevania.” While I would have loved a more thorough examination of the vampire legend and its various incarnations of cultures all around the world, “The Trail of Dracula” explores how Dracula eventually was crafted.
I admit I never read the “Bunnicula” movies when I was a kid nor did I ever really see the animated specials. The TV movie was one of those specials ABC played after Saturday morning cartoons as a means of promoting different types of kids literature. “Bunnicula” is one of the more creative of its type and a definitely fun Halloween treat for kids that love horror that isn’t too scary. Set in a small town, two boys find a weird scripture with the words “Bunnicula” written on it, along with a slumbering rabbit inside of a box.
For movie buffs and collectors looking to gather up some classic schlock and silly horror films, “Mill Creek Entertainment” brings us a 50 Movie MegaPack DVD Set of some their worst and most infamous horror films. Thrown in to the mix, there are some science fiction, juvenile terror movies like “I Accuse My Parents,” and even the George Hamilton starring “Evel Knievel.” Further digging in to the selection of fifty titles, there’s 1944’s “Delinquent Daughters,” the Francis Ford Coppola horror classic “Dementia 13,” the slasher “Driller Killer,” and 1977’s “Drive In Massacre.”
There’s the deliriously bad but hilarious science fiction action film “Future Hunters” starring Robert Patrick, and Bruce Le, William Castle’s fun “House on Haunted Hill,” the early Brandon Lee starring stinker “Laser Mission,” the classic MST3K spoofed “Manos-The Hands of Fate,” the so bad it’s great drug hysteria movie “Reefer Madness,” the goofy science fiction film “Slipstream,” the classic dwarfsploitation movie “The Terror of Tiny Town,” and the Fred Williamson post apocalyptic science fiction film “Warriors of the Wasteland.” All movies come packed in a cardboard box by Mill Creek and in paper sleeves. I have to say I miss the plastic clam cases, but maybe it’s a cost thing.
This year movie collectors might enjoy knowing that Mill Creek Entertainment has taken to the digital world, allowing their consumers to redeem their fifty megapack purchases for digital libraries for their laptops, cell phones, and Ipads. Much like every other home release, the consumers will be given a unique code with their purchase, allowing them to redeem their movie packs in digital form at Mill Creek’s new service Watch.MillCreekEnt.Com where they can watch them, stream them, or download them.
The sequel to Genndy Tartakovsky’s entertaining “Hotel Transylvania” is what I’d define as blatant cash grab. It’s a follow up with a very typical and broadly written turn of events, what narrative it offers for the follow up is slim and often times nowhere to be found, all the while the sequel as a whole feels like a glorified pilot for the inevitable “Hotel Transylvania” TV show. I almost expect an announcement after the initial sales for the home video release about a TV show coming down the pipe. The movie essentially sets up characters for a TV series, and it’s barely competent as a sequel. Of course rather than focus on the dynamic between Mavis and new husband Johnny, we now view them as parents.
“The Goonies” turn thirty this year, which marks a fun anniversary of one of the most iconic family films of the 1980’s. To this day, the film is considered a masterpiece by many, even brandishing its own sequel coming very soon. I figured why not celebrate “The Goonies” by undermining its legacy and praising its knock off “The Monster Squad,” instead? Ain’t I a stinker? I’ll be honest, while “The Goonies” is a very good movie, at the end of the day I’d rather watch Fred Dekker’s “The Monster Squad.”
It’s harder edged, it’s much more entertaining, has more imagination, and it holds up against the rose colored glasses of nostalgia. Goonies never say die, but The Monster Squad kills the fuck out of monsters and bad guys. Here are five Reasons why I’d rather be in “The Monster Squad” than “The Goonies.”
I fondly remember renting “Meet Rockula and Frankenstone” quite often from our local videos store when I was a kid, and thankfully the movie genuinely holds up. Like all great comedy series, the Flintstones have had their share of crossovers, and this time they have the misfortune of meeting Dracula and Frankenstone. Or their stone age counterparts, as it were. While it’s not raucously funny as when Abbot and Costello met them, it’s a darn good short movie with the Flintstones doing what they do best.