Something’s Out There and It’s Killing People! And If It’s Monsters, Nobody’s Going to Do a Thing About it Except Us!: The Monster Squad (1987)

Something’s out there and it’s killing people! And if it’s monsters, nobody’s going to do a thing about it except us!

I first saw this film on a Nostalgia Critic review and thought it sounded absolutely hilarious. When I saw that it was on Amazon, I had to watch it. Then I made my mom watch it with me, then my sister, and then my friends.

If you are a fan of the classic monster films: Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon, then you will love this! This film brings them all together in a wonderful way,

The film starts off in Europe with Van Helsing trying to seal the monsters into limbo for life, but failing. Instead the spell just makes the monsters pause their hauntings and sleep with all the villagers and Van Helsing being trapped in limbo instead.

Time goes by and we are in a small town in the USA. There we have two boys who are always getting into trouble as instead of paying attention in class they draw monsters. The two kids, (they have names but are never really used so I am going to call them Leader and Sidekick), are in charge of the monster club. The monster club also has their friend who is really young, Baby, and another friend who they call Fat Kid who’s name is actually Horace.

Then there is a new guy who wants to join the club, the Cool guy. He has a leather jacket, smokes cigarettes, has long dark hair. My friend pointed out that he actually looks a lot like Nick from Jimmy Neutron. He doesn’t seem like the type of guy who would be interested in a monster club, but he passes every test. The Leader does not want him to join, but the rest of the team do and he’s on the squad. Cool kid turns out to also be interested in spying on Sidekick’s sister, who lives next door to the clubhouse, and always changes in front of her open, blinds up window. They always do this in movies and it makes zero sense!

Meanwhile, the monsters have arrived. Dracula was having himself and Frankenstein’s monster flown over, but a pilot was too curious and when he realized what they were, he dumped the coffins. Dracula searches for his friend and while doing so wakes up the Mummy, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the Wolf Man.

The Leader’s father is a police officer and he is having issues with his wife. She wants him to be home more, but he has to work. He starts investigating the “stolen” mummy and gets called away with someone claiming they are a werwolf. The Wolf man freaks out and is killed at the police station…or is he? Only silver can kill a werewolf, so he resurrects and transforms, taking off to join his monster club.

Sorry!

The leader’s mom bought a Van Helsing book in German a yard sale for his son. She leaves it for him; along with a note that a Dr. Acula wants to buy the book. The Leader has to write it out a few times like he thinks it is an anagram and I’m like it is SO OBVIOUS! What kind of Monster Squad leader are you?

It’s super obvious!

There is a man who lives down the way that speaks German and all the kids like to say he is a spy or monster. The squad go over to have him read the book and find out what it says and he tells them it is a spell to seal monsters away forever. All you need is a virgin to read out the words. Aw, so that must have been where they went wrong in the beginning.

They try to figure out what to do next and where to find a virgin, because even though the spell didn’t say it they assume it has to be a girl, when they are all virgins (maybe not Rudy he is a little older), when the Leader’s sister comes over and wants to join the club again. The boys are all no girls allowed, but then she shows that she has Frankenstein’s monster. They all sit in the treehouse trying to decide what to do next when Frankenstein’s monster acts just as pervy as the boys, looking at sidekick’s sister and takes a picture of her.

The squad finds out that the monsters are hiding out in an old abandoned house, down the street. It turns out that Dracula is there because he is looking for the amulet he needs to have the monsters walk the Earth forever. The squad tries to go in and manage to swipe the amulet, but now the real fight will begin as they have only so much time to complete the spell and seal the monsters away forever.

So the monster experts: the Leader and Sidekick do nothing to try and find a way to stop the monsters. Their only plan of attack is to just talk a lot. The real star of this was the cool guy who makes wooden stakes, melts silver for bullets, steals an archery set from the school to shoot down the vampire brides, etc. He’s really awesome as in the grand battle he takes monsters down left and right.

Horace is also really cool as he has been bullied and hurt, but when push comes to shove he takes out the Creature. It is such a great scene as his previous bullies tell him great job fat kid, and he tells them not to call him that.

E.J.: Hey Fat Kid! Good job.

Horace: My name’s not fat kid. [cocks shotgun] It’s Horace!

After an epic battle, the kids save the day. This is a really fun and great movie that I highly recommend. You should definitely give it a watch.

For more monster filled films or tv shows, go to Munster Masquerade: The Munsters (1966)

For more Dracula, go to The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula, Part I: The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977)

For more on Frankenstein’s monster, go to We’ve Seen Dracula, the Wolf Man, and Frankenstein’s Monster: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

For more on the mummy, go to Welcome to a New World of Gods and Monsters: The Mummy (2017)

For more on The Wolf Man, go to Beast or Man: The Wolfman (2010)

For more on The Creature from the Black Lagoon, go to There Are Many Strange Legends in the Amazon: The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

For more ‘80s films, go to I Just Killed My Best Friend. And Your Worst Enemy. Same Difference.: Heathers (1988)

Catherine Morland’s Viewing List

Happy Friday the 13th! I don’t know if you have any plans, but as for me I’m going to spend my evening with pizza and horror films.

Speaking of Horror films I have been getting ready trying to pick out which ones I’ll use for Horrorfest X, my yearly Halloween countdown, but I’ve also been going through old posts and looking at the ones from the original Horrorfest, and thinking some of these movies Catherine Morland would love as they are full of gothic-y goodness.

Unfortunately, while they occasionally have Austen tendencies and can go on my Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans list, like Rebecca, the ones I’m thinking of are more like Catherine Morland’s Reading Listthey don’t have anything to do with Jane Austen but are gothic stories Catherine would love.

Hmm…

Then I thought, why not start a new series, a list of only the good Gothic like horror films for the other Catherine Morland/Henry Tilney spooky people out there? It will only contain movies that I strongly recommend-none of the films that are poorly written or have a lot of issues. And unlike my other lists, this will be a one stop list for people looking for recommendations, while the original posts will only be done during Horrorfest.

So films on this list are going to be Gothic films or films with Gothic components. For those who are wondering what classifies something as a Gothic, here is the definition.

Gothic fiction, which is largely known by the subgenre of Gothic horror, is a genre or mode of literature and film that combines fiction and horror, death, and at times romance.

Any films I have already reviewed that fit for this list I will just list and link here, while any future film I review I will add a little specifically why it belongs on this list. I have 9 years of films I have watched/reviewed for Horrorfest, but I’m not sure how many of those will be on her. For now I’m going to put on the ones I have recently re-edited, and then will be adding more constantly. If you are looking for recommendations, be sure to check back for more:

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

Frankenstein (1931)

The Mummy (1932)

The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

The Cat and the Canary (1939)

Wuthering Heights (1939)

Rebecca (1940)

Return of the Vampire (1943)

Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

Laura (1944)

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949)

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

The Bad Seed (1956)

Horror of Dracula (1958)

Psycho (1960)

Carnival of Souls (1962)

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Fahrenheit 451 (1966)

Northanger Abbey (1987)

Heathers (1988)

The Addams Family (1991)

Dead Again (1991)

The Addams Family Values (1993)

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (2005)

The Corpse Bride (2005)

Northanger Abbey (2007)

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant (2009)

The Turn of the Screw (2009)

The Moonstone (2016)

For more movie lists, go to Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans

An Invisible Man Can Rule the World. Nobody Will See Him Come, Nobody Will See Him Go…He Can Rob, and Wreck, and Kill!: The Invisible Man (1933)

 

An invisible man can rule the world. Nobody will see him come, nobody will see him go. He can hear every secret. He can rob, and wreck, and kill!

Choosing a movie to open and close is hard-very, very hard. My drama teacher always told us the opening, before intermission, after intermission, and the closing are the most important-basically the opening and closing are what people remember. If you goof, make a mistake, or something doesn’t quite go right-they will forgive. As long as the begining is good and the end is powerful. That’s a lot of pressure.

Hmmm…

I was very unsure what to do-

Hmmm….

But then I had an idea. I read the book The Invisible Man and did not like it. I had never seen the film-in fact it is the only classic Universal Film I have yet to review.

Idea!

That being the case, it is the perfect one to end on. Will it be as good as the other classic films? Will it be better than the book? Will it be worse? Hmmm…?

On with the review!

When screenwriter R.C. Sherriff came to Hollywood to write this film, he asked the staff at Universal for a copy of the H.G. Wells novel he was supposed to be adapting. They didn’t have one; all they had were 14 “treatments” done by previous writers on the project, including one set in Czarist Russia and another set on Mars. Sherriff eventually found a copy of the novel in a secondhand bookstore, read it, thought it would make an excellent picture as it stood, and wrote a script that was a closer adaptation of the book.

What?

But there is one thing they did to help-they gave him a girlfriend. Having a girlfriend is very important to this character who otherwise is crazy, cruel, maniacal, evil, etc. The girlfriend humanizes him-when they are together we see there is more to him-another softer side, he isn’t just a monster.

So everyone wanted Boris Karloff to play the lead-but he turned it down as the character isn’t really on screen. The director overheard Claude Rains auditioning for another part and thought he was perfect. Rains had never been in a film before this, only stage acting, and did it perfectly as his voice was clear-even in all the costuming.

So let’s do the review:

A stranger arrives in the snow to the small village of Iping. All stop when they see how strange he looks-dressed in much heavier clothing than one would even in the cold. He wants a room.

They are more of a summer place, but agree to give him a room to sleep and an extra room-for his experiments.

The townspeople are wary of him-after all what innocent person covers themselves and tries to obscure thier identity. When the owner’s wife brings Griffin his dinner she sees that half of Griffin’s face is GONE!!

They didn’t have the technology we have today, so in order to make Rains invisible they dressed him in a full black bodysuit and placed him in front of a black screen.

Elsewhere, Dr. Cranley (Henry Travers) is woking in his laboratory. Dr. Cranely is Griffin’s mentor and his daughter Flora (Gloria Stuart) was engaged to him. Both are puzzled by his disappearance, and Flora is extremely worried about him, as she hasn’t heard from him in over a month. Dr. Arthur Kemp-Griffin’s friend and the other worker in Dr. Cranely’s lab, has also had zero word. And because Griffin was always working in secret, none know even what he was doing, so no clues where to find him.

A week later, Griffin is still at the inn working trying to find his way “back”. The only one who goes into the rooms is Jenny, the innkeeper’s wife. She doesn’t want Grifffin here-she wants him gone as his rooms are a mess, he is incredibly mean, and just creepy.

When they try to get him out, Griffin refuses and tosses the innkeeper down the stairs. They call the police. Constable Jaffers (E.E. Clive) comes to arrest him, but then Griffin does what no one expected.

Griffin attacks the men guarding the door and then takes off.

So this where I have a problem in the book. All the other classic monsters had something that made you feel for them. The Phantom? Thrown out because disfigured, abused, mistreated, used, and people have tried to kill him because he is ugly. Finds a girl who he thinks loves him but doesn’t care a fig about him-you understand why he goes all crazy. Dr. Frankenstein wants to help humanity, believes he knows better than God, but learns his harsh lesson. His monster is just trying t make it but people are afraid and trying to kill him. In Bride of Frankenstein? Frankenstein wants to live his life but blackmailed into creating another monster. Frankenstein’s monster just wants love. The Mummy is crazy and bad, but his main goal is to bring his love back to life. Dracula is an evil monster, but very charming. The Wolf man, poor guy just trying to reconnect with his dad, grieve his brother, and take over family business-wrong place wrong time. The Creature from the Black Lagoon? Just wants love.

Griffin is not charming, he’s not trying to help people, he’s not looking for love. He’s a wackadoo murderer-evil, insane, cold, etc.

Dr. Cranely and Kemp go through Griffin’s stuff to try and find clues to where he is. They do find a list of drugs, one being monocaine, which destroys everything and turns whatever creature that gets into it-insane.

You’re crazy!
Crazy, am I? We’ll see whether I’m crazy or not.

Griffin goes to Kemp as he needs help. He threatens him and blackmails him into being his errand boy. Griffin and Kemp discuss what happened and Griffin tells him he started working his experiments five years ago. He threatens Kemp to get his notes for him so that he can create the antidote.

The Chief Detective starts investigating and questioning people. Meanwhile, Kemp and Griffin head to the inn to get the notes. Griffin gets his stuff and attacks the Detective, killing him. This causes more panic and hysteria.

The police murder has lit a fire under them and they begin searching for Griffin. They start looking 20 miles in all directions and more and more volunteers join in. At 10:30pm  radio broadcast goes out and warns everyone that it isn’t a hoax. A reward for £1000.00 is offered.

Dr. Kemp is worried and calls Dr. Cranely to tell him about Griffin and warns him that Griffin has gone crazy. Dr. Cranely tells Kemp to take care to keep him there and that he will be there the next day. Kemp calls the police to tell them Griffin is in his house. Griffin becomes enraged at him for telling in him.

Flora goes to see Griffin and here we have a shred of humanity as he softens toward her and we see a sliver of the man he was-the one Flora fell in love with. But then he is gone and only the crazed killer remains.

One who has created this invisibility and wants to auction it off to the highest bidder.

While they are talking the police arrive. Griffin escapes and flees, but not before he tells Kemp he will murder him at 10:00 pm. The police come up with a plan as to how they will catch him. They will use Kemp as bait, but Kemp doesn’t like that idea. He takes off in his car but Griffin is already waiting there. He ties him up and pushes Kemp and the car off the cliff.

Griffin stays in a barn that night and a farmer spots the hay moving and calls the police. They decide to burn down the barn and follow the Invisible Man’s footprints on the snow to take aim. He’s hit and as he does his body is revealed slowly.

I thought it was pretty good, but let’s be honest it wouldn’t be nearly as good if it wasn’t for Claude Rains.

The thing that is mindblowing is the special effects. Really good for 1933. So there we go I have reviewed all of the Universal Classic Monster Films!

There we go. All 31 posts finished! Yay!

I hope you all have a fantastic and safe Halloween!

To start Horrorfest VII from the beginning, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

For the previous post, go to Mr. Hyde Versus the Werewolf: Dr. Jekyll Versus the Werewolf (1972)

For more Claude Rains, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart: The Wolf Man (1941)

For more mad scientists, go to Nowhere to Hyde: Scooby-Doo Where Are You? (1970)

Welcome to a New World of Gods and Monsters: The Mummy (2017)

Welcome to a new world of gods and monsters.

So I love The Mummy (1932)

And The Mummy (1999)

But this one was horrible!

Ugh.

The plot made no sense at all!!!

Help me! I’m confused!

There was no cool Egyptian stuff or history or action at all. It didn’t even take place in Egypt but in England!

And they threw in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and didn’t explain why:

This is pretty much how I felt through the whole film:

It was just horrible from beginning to end, didn’t explain, and I didn’t care about any of the characters. I’d rather watch him:

Or him:

Or her:

Or her:

Any day.

To start Horrorfest VI from the beginning, go to One of Our Guests is a Werewolf, I Know It.: The Beast Must Die (1974)

For the previous post, go to What Do They Want You For? Murder: Silver Streak (1976)

For more mummy films, go to A Modern Mummy: Under Wraps (1997)

For more Tom Cruise, go to Pot o’ Gold: 17 Irish Heroes

For The Mummy (1932), go to Eternal Punishment for Anyone Who Opens This Casket: The Mummy (1932)

For more Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, go to Man-Bat: On Leather Wings, Batman the Animated Series (1992)

For more sucky films, go to Have You Seen Megan Hipwell?: The Girl On the Train (2016)

For more sucky remakes, go to Dracula. Not Myth, Nor Ravings of a Mad Irish Novelist, Oh No, He’s Real: Dracula 2000 (2000)

Candy, Candy, Candy!

CANDY!

CANDY!

So this year we went Trick or Treating and then to a haunted house. We didn’t spend as much time getting candy but we still had a pretty good haul.

3 Double Bubble Gum, 2 Packets of Swedish Fish, 2 Whopper packs, 2 Three Musketeer Bars, 2 Boxes of Nerds, 2 Crunch Bars, 3 Butterfingers, 2 Packs of Gobstoppers, 9 Sweettarts Packs, 6 Snickers, 1 Snicker Almond Bar, 4 Milky Way Bars, 1 Pack of Bottle Caps, 2 Baby Ruth Bars, 2 Jolly Rancher Pops, 7 Hershey Kisses, 7 Tootsie Roll Pops, 4 Kit Kat Bars, 5 Reese’s Cups, 1 Tiger Pop, 1 Blow Pop, 1 Dum Dum, 6 Packs of Chocolate M&Ms, 2 Packs of Peanut M&Ms, 1 Pack of Peanut Butter M&Ms, 1 Twizzler, 5 Laffy Taffys, 1 Box of Milk Duds, and 1 Pack of Fruit Snacks.

CandyOverload

So like last time, I just want to do a little poll and see what posts you all enjoyed this year so I can make it even better next year. Sadly, I didn’t get to finish everything I wanted to complete from last year. I planned to finish the posts for all the Universal Monster Movies ;  but only got to The Mummy and The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Wolfman will have to wait ’till next year. I also really wanted to do posts on Alfred Hitchcock’s movies, like The Birds, Psycho, Rebecca, and Strangers on a Train; but also wasn’t able to get to them. I really, really, really wanted to do Vincent Price films; like House on Haunted Hill. The Tomb of Ligeia, The Pit and the Pendulum, but those didn’t get a chance either. 😦

I’d like to know which were your faves are so vote, vote, vote! If you are unsure which to pick then why don’t you pop over and start at the beginning. Also I’d like to know what you wish I had posted on. Just leave a comment at the bottom of the page! :D