Monsters: The Complete Series (DVD)

monsters

After spending years in bootleg limbo, horror fans finally can own all seventy two episodes of the 1980’s anthology series “Monsters.” We’ve made no secret of our love for the series in the past, and it’s great to finally see the series get its due on DVD. I’m sure a lot of Blu-Ray geeks are pining for their own editions, but for now, this set is a great step forward. Perhaps we’ll eventually see a Blu-Ray edition for fans down the line.

In the 80’s, the anthology television show was at an all time high in terms of popularity, attracting interesting talent. From “Creepshow” right down to “Tales from the Crypt,” folks like Tom Savini, George Romero, and Joe Dante banked on the formula big time. One of the products of the decade was “Monsters.” Though the show didn’t have a narrator per se, it spoofed the traditional family television night by featuring a family night with a trio of monsters gathering around the TV for a night of horror. Though they had no relation to the series itself, they set the stage for the often demented humor that would follow. As well, they set the foundation for the show’s premise. Every episode had to have a monster in it.

Whether it was horror, science fiction, or fantasy, every installment had some monster in it, be they traditional or creative. Many years later, “Monsters” is still an entertaining and unpredictable anthology series that, though occasionally silly, could also be very creepy and clever when it wanted to. There were some terrible episodes like “My Zombie Lover,” a comedic episode around a world based in a zombie apocalypse where families hunt the walking dead every year. When a young girl’s old classmate comes back from the grave to ask her out, things go awry. The episode is terrible, but for every one of those, you had some truly excellent terror fests.

“Holly’s House” is one of the rare cerebral episodes involving a young puppeteer for a popular kids show whose struggles to conceive a child begin to affect her work life as her puppet Holly begins taking on a life of her own. There’s also “Rouse Him Not,” an eerie tale of a painter living a house that happens to festering with a creature in her basement, as well as “Match Game,” about a group of teenagers that play a deadly game in a haunted house that begins manifesting in to reality before their eyes. One of the more creepy episodes I fondly remember watching as a child is “Rain Dance” in which a wealthy couple that’s begun poaching Native American artifacts during a terrible drought begin getting terrorized by a miniature stone demon that delights in payback.

I vividly remember watching this episode and then playing “Goonies II” on the NES directly after, and it’s a solid episode despite the nostalgia trip. I also really enjoy “The Hole,” and “The Waiting Game,” two horrifying tales about individuals trapped in an enclosed space by the undead. They’re truly excellent tales of horror. “Monsters” is gladly a very effective anthology series with top notch production value, and very effective storytelling. Even the blunders are admirable to some extent as concepts that could have gone well but ultimately failed. All three seasons are packed in to one box set with no alterations to the episodes I could find. Even the super imposed logo on the monster dad’s glasses still appear in the opening credits. It’s a wonderful gem for any horror collector and fan of the anthology series.