Is The Monster Squad: An 80’s Classic in Need of New Life?
The Monster Squad was a defining moment in my childhood. I grew up a child of the 80’s and as such I spent my formative years plopped in front of a behemoth 32” maple television console. I spent hours pushing the large black switches on the wooden cable box, alternating between Showtime and HBO.
My 11-year-old brain soaked up movies that were FAR outside of my recommended age rating. Children of the Corn, Rambo, Revenge of the Nerds… my impressionable mind absorbed it all, but it was The Monster Squad that elevated my love for movies to another level. But, is Monster Squad an 80’s Classic in need of New Life?
Monster Squad, a forgotten 80’s Cult Classic
If you haven’t been exposed to The Monster Squad, first let me say how sorry I am for your unfortunate upbringing. Secondly, let me fill you in on what you missed. The Monster Squad centers around a small band of prepubescent Horror Movie fanatics as they battle an unholy collection of Universal Movie Monsters. We’re talking Dracula, Wolfman, The Mummy, Gill-Man and Frankenstein’s Monster.
Sounds awesome, right?
It wasn’t a stellar beginning though as the film tanked at the box office and was relegated to home video not long after that. With the help of Blockbuster and premium cable it developed a cult following and has even spawned a full-length documentary called The Wolfman has Nards but talks of a sequel never made it past talking.
Roadblocks to Monster Squad Achieving New Life
There was a window in the late 2000’s when a remake was a real possibility, but timing and lack of direction consistently derailed plans of bringing The Squad back from the dead.
The rights to the film fell back to Paramount in 2008 and plans to remake the film began; however, it never moved past the planning phase. In 2010, Michael Bay signed on to produce the film and all signs pointed to an explosive greenlight for the project. The studio pulled out of development as fan reaction was less than enthusiastic with Bay touching their beloved movie.
Every few years since 2010 rumors start building momentum for a remake, a reboot, a sequel… at one point talk of a television series even made the rounds. But just like Dracula cowering from the rising sun the rumors would quickly retreat into the shadows. Content to lurk in the darkness until least expected.
Off Script with Monster Squad Writer/Director
Original Monster Squad director and co-writer Fred Dekkar (he teamed with Shane Black for the original script) has gone on the record stating:
“Shane Black and I have both been approached about adapting The Monster Squad for television. Was it my first choice? No. But I’m a big fan now of long-form television… And figuring out a way to take The Monster Squad and turn it into a long-form series was very exciting to me. But when we were approached, it was right after Stranger Things. I thought, well, let’s make this for the people who fell in love when they were kids and say, ‘Where is the squad as adults?’ And Shane said to me, ‘Well that’s it.’ I said, ‘Yeah, it’s a great idea.’ And he goes, ‘No, that’s Stephen King’s It. The first part of the book and the first movie is them as kids fighting monsters and the second movie is them as adults fighting monsters.'”
Not quite a ringing endorsement to bring Sean, Rudy, Horace or “Scary German Guy” back to the silver screen! After countless stalled remake attempts a Monster Squad remake seemed all but a lost cause. That may be about to change though with a looming shift in The Monster Squad rights.
A Glimmer of Hope for a Forgotten Cult Classic
In an interview with The Thing With Two Heads in February of 2021 Dekkar provided a glimmer of hope to The Monster Squad faithful. Dekkar stated:
“I have a new [idea] now. There is a world where Monster Squad is still alive, Shane Black and I, in about a year-plus, will co-own the rights to it, so it’s something that I’ve been thinking about, but it’s gotta be done right or not do it. I’m thinking about it as a series.”
Dekkar goes on to expand on some possible plot points when he says:
“But as a sequel, if we were gonna do a one-off sequel back in the day, the only thing I could think to do is skip ahead to the atomic monsters of the ’50s. Because we’d done all the ’40s monsters, there’s nobody left, really. The Invisible Man, although he’s not really a monster. So my thought is I love Tarantula, I love Them!, although that’s a Warner Bros. movie. The giant insects and the melting face from Tarantula and the Metaluna mutant. Even Universal had some really cool monsters in the ’50s that they didn’t have in the ’40s and that might be the route.”
Life after Home Video
Its been a year since The Thing With Two Heads interview. Stranger Things and It have less of a pop culture strangle hold on the pre-teen horror genre as well. Are the stars aligning? Is there a clearer path for a Monster Squad Remake to finally see the light of day? Only time will tell but sharpen your stakes and dust off your werewolf nard kickers just in case!
Monster Squad was directed by Fred Dekkar. It was co-written by Dekkar and Shane Black from Lethal Weapon fame. It stars Andre Gower, Robby Kiger, Brent Chalem, and Ryan Lambert as the titular monster hunters. Co-staring Duncan Regehr as Dracula, Tom Noonan as Frankenstein’s monster, Jonathan Gries as The Wolfman, Tom Woodruff Jr. as Gill-man, and Michael MacKay as The Mummy. You can catch it streaming now on STARZ. Find out for yourself if The Monster Squad is an 80’s Classic in need of New Life.