Fall always meant October which meant monsters and horror movies but it also meant back to school (which had usually begun just after Labor Day). Me being me and a lover of the classics Fred Dekker brings them all back in a lovely pair of my favorite films: Night of the Creeps and The Monster Squad released in 1986 and 1987 respectfully; they stand out as a pair of rare classic gems of the 80's. The 1980's was a period in horror movie history that tried almost desperately to separate itself from its origins and move away from the vampires, werewolves zombies and mummies and had become overly saturated and fascinated with slashers and gore.
Monster Squad hooks us with this backstory that gives us every indication how this movie is going to be taken, and it is Excellent!
If this doesn't at least make you chuckle then move on to Night of the Creeps. That said however, it's a pretty fun movie about how Dracula assembles the cast of the classic Universal Monsters (Frankenstein's Monster, the Mummy, the Creature from the Black Lagoon and even the Wolfman) to try to take over the world in the name of darkness and the only ones to the stand in their way are the kids you picked on at the playground who read Famous Monsters of Filmland and played Dungeons and Dragons.
|Aren't they cute?|
My friend TJ from over at Warning Signs and I had something of a debate/quick capsule summary about this movie some time ago:
"Monster Squad" is not just about a fight with Dracula and his gang of monsters. It is also -- and more importantly -- about facing bullies, dealing with disintegrating marriages, struggling with the remnants of fascism, and coping with puberty. Didn't know that, did you? (OK, Single Bullet Theory, you probably knew.)
My response: It's also the fact that the Wolfman's got Nards, the Creature steals Twinkies, Mummies prefer the closet, the Monster makes for a good babysitter, Dracula made the name Alucard cool before Castlevania 3, your first isn't always your "First" since that one doesn't count and one sticky-fingered teenage delinquent can take on a small band of monsters near single-handedly.
That about sums about The Monster Squad quite succinctly. Next up is Night of the Creeps which is another treat of a flick. It starts off in black and white 1950's sorority row like the fabled escaped maniac on the loose with an axe campfire tale and a UFO crashing with a bizarre alien experiment. Fast forward to modern day 1986: Chris Romero (as in George) and James Carpenter (JC) Hooper (like Tobe Texas Chainsaw Massacre Hooper) are trying to fit in, or at least, JC is trying to help Chris fit in to get Cynthia Cronenberg's attention. To do so they have to steal a corpse and drop it on a frat's doorstep, easy enough as far as pranks go right?
|"Hi I'm Johnny Knoxville |
and this the 'Zombie Apocalypse'!"
|Interesting point of trivia: Note the tag on the wall|
The slugs infest some the local pet life and cause all sorts of hell... one of the best scenes is when a zombie dog sits in the middle of the road causing a busload of drunken frat boys on their way out to the big dance wrecks it, allowing the dog to go on his merry way infected the whole lot of them.
After that it's up to little ol Chris and the overcoat sporting, one-liner uttering, cigarette smoking, whiskey drinking hard-boiled noir-styled detective throwback of Ray Cameron played expertly by Tom Atkins to get the right tool for the job for handling a shitton of zombies (naturally): a flamethrower
|Did I mention real fucking ugly zombies?|
From there it's loads of head exploding, slug igniting and assorted zombie carnage, well worth the revisit to the college days of the 1980's and a definite throwback/homage film.
Drive in totals for both flicks:
-Too many dead bodies walking around either filled with slugs or trying to suck your blood than you can shake a severed limb at
-Werewolf Nut Fu
-Two classic 80's montages, one with a catchy tune and several counts of juvenile thievery and the other with 6 boobs for a total of an 8 in-movie total (likely to be censored on TV, shame on you Ted Turner, thank you and don't sue me Joe Bob)
-Enough nostalgia to make you dread getting up and going to school er work in the morning and crave a bowl of cereal and wish for Saturday morning cartoons again
Monster Squad - 0 splatter 3 skulls
Night of the Creeps - 7 splatter 3 skulls