The Monster Squad (1987)

PG-13 | 82 mins | Horror, Adventure, Comedy | 14 August 1987

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HISTORY

The film begins with the written prologue: “One hundred years before this story begins...it was a time of darkness in Transylvania...A time when Dr. Abraham Van Helsing and a small band of freedom fighters...conspired to rid the world of vampires and monsters...and to save mankind from the forces of eternal evil...They blew it.” A subsequent scene depicts “Van Helsing’s” unsuccessful attempt to open the portal and vanquish “Count Dracula” in 1887 Transylvania.
       Principal photography began on 13 Oct 1986 in Los Angeles, CA, according to the 5 Nov 1986 Var.
       The Dec 1987 issue of AmCin stated that most of the special effects were achieved in-camera using stop-motion animation, matte painting, rotoscoping, pyrotechnics, and makeup. Although all but one of the creatures featured in the film were in public domain, the specific costume and makeup designs made famous in the classic Universal pictures of the 1930s--1950s were still copyrighted by the studio. As a result, director Fred Dekker and the monster art department at the Stan Winston Studio were forced to alter each character’s appearance. The most significant changes were made to the “Gillman,” who was modeled after the “Creature from the Black Lagoon” from the 1954 film of the same name (see entry). The 22-29 Aug 1987 Screen International listed a production cost of $14 million.
       The Monster Squad received mixed reviews and was considered a commercial disappointment, with the Oct 1987 Box reporting opening weekend earnings of just $1.9 million from 1,280 theaters. However, in the years since its initial release, the film has gained a substantial cult following.
       End credits give “Special Thanks” to ... More Less

The film begins with the written prologue: “One hundred years before this story begins...it was a time of darkness in Transylvania...A time when Dr. Abraham Van Helsing and a small band of freedom fighters...conspired to rid the world of vampires and monsters...and to save mankind from the forces of eternal evil...They blew it.” A subsequent scene depicts “Van Helsing’s” unsuccessful attempt to open the portal and vanquish “Count Dracula” in 1887 Transylvania.
       Principal photography began on 13 Oct 1986 in Los Angeles, CA, according to the 5 Nov 1986 Var.
       The Dec 1987 issue of AmCin stated that most of the special effects were achieved in-camera using stop-motion animation, matte painting, rotoscoping, pyrotechnics, and makeup. Although all but one of the creatures featured in the film were in public domain, the specific costume and makeup designs made famous in the classic Universal pictures of the 1930s--1950s were still copyrighted by the studio. As a result, director Fred Dekker and the monster art department at the Stan Winston Studio were forced to alter each character’s appearance. The most significant changes were made to the “Gillman,” who was modeled after the “Creature from the Black Lagoon” from the 1954 film of the same name (see entry). The 22-29 Aug 1987 Screen International listed a production cost of $14 million.
       The Monster Squad received mixed reviews and was considered a commercial disappointment, with the Oct 1987 Box reporting opening weekend earnings of just $1.9 million from 1,280 theaters. However, in the years since its initial release, the film has gained a substantial cult following.
       End credits give “Special Thanks” to Dick Rudolph. A statement also reads: “Filmed at Culver Studiosdios.” More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Dec 1987
pp. 64-68.
Box Office
Oct 1987
Section R, p. 96.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Aug 1987
p. 3, 15.
Los Angeles Times
14 Aug 1987
Calendar, p. 20.
New York Times
14 Aug 1987
Section C, p. 15.
Screen International
22-29 Aug 1987.
---
Variety
5 Nov 1986
p. 6, 28.
Variety
12 Aug 1987
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Taft Entertainment Pictures/Keith Barish Productions Presents
A Peyer Hyams Production
A Fred Dekker Film
In Association with Home Box Office
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d cam op
1st asst cam
Still photog
Chief lighting tech
Key grip
Best boy
Dolly grip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Assoc ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set des
Set des
Leadman
Standby painter
Propman/Foreman
Prop master
Asst prop master
COSTUMES
Cost supv
Cost supv
MUSIC
Mus ed
Scoring mixer
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Foley supv
Prod sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Utility sd tech
VISUAL EFFECTS
Monsters created by
Visual eff prod by
Spec eff coord
Spec eff shop supv
Spec eff company supv
End titles and opticals
Main titles des by
Frankenstein, Head monster maker
Dracula/Bat transformation, Head monster maker
Wolfman, Head monster maker
Mummy, Head monster maker
Gillman, Head monster maker
Gillman, Head monster maker
Monster art dept
Monster art dept
Monster art dept
Monster art dept
Monster art dept
Monster art dept
Monster art dept
Monster art dept
Monster art dept
Monster art dept
Monster art dept
Monster art dept
Monster art dept
Monster mechanical dept
Monster mechanical dept
Monster mechanical dept
Monster mechanical dept
Monster mechanical dept
Visual eff in 65mm by
Dir of photog, Boss Film Corporation
Visual eff art dir, Boss Film Corporation
Visual eff ed, Boss Film Corporation
Chief financial officer, Boss Film Corporation
Prod supv, Boss Film Corporation
Spec eff foreman, Boss Film Corporation
Prod adv, Boss Film Corporation
Opt supv, Boss Film Corporation
Model shop supv, Boss Film Corporation
Spec projects supv, Boss Film Corporation
Chief eng, Boss Film Corporation
Chief matte artist, Boss Film Corporation
Asst to Richard Edlund, Boss Film Corporation
Prod coord, Boss Film Corporation
Spec consultant, Boss Film Corporation
Opt cam op, Boss Film Corporation
Opt cam op, Boss Film Corporation
Opt cam op, Boss Film Corporation
Opt line-up, Boss Film Corporation
Opt line-up, Boss Film Corporation
Head lab tech, Boss Film Corporation
Opt coord, Boss Film Corporation
1st asst photog, Boss Film Corporation
1st asst cam tech, Boss Film Corporation
Still photog, Boss Film Corporation
Tech anim supv, Boss Film Corporation
Anim, Boss Film Corporation
Anim, Boss Film Corporation
Anim, Boss Film Corporation
Anim coord, Boss Film Corporation
Anim prod asst, Boss Film Corporation
Anim prod asst, Boss Film Corporation
Anim prod asst, Boss Film Corporation
Anim prod asst, Boss Film Corporation
Matte artist, Boss Film Corporation
Spec projects asst, Boss Film Corporation
Asst ed, Boss Film Corporation
Ed prod asst, Boss Film Corporation
Asst spec eff foreman, Boss Film Corporation
Grip, Boss Film Corporation
Lighting tech, Boss Film Corporation
Prod asst, Boss Film Corporation
Prod asst, Boss Film Corporation
Propmaker, Boss Film Corporation
Propmaker, Boss Film Corporation
Model shop coord, Boss Film Corporation
Model shop prod asst, Boss Film Corporation
Des eng, Boss Film Corporation
Electronics supv, Boss Film Corporation
Chief programmer, Boss Film Corporation
Accountant, Boss Film Corporation
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Casting asst
Loc mgr
Prod office coord
Asst to Messrs. Hyman & Zimbert
Asst to Mr. Dekker
Prod asst
Prod asst
Extra casting by
Animal action by
Animal action by
Studio teacher
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
[Col by]
SOURCES
SONGS
"Rock Until You Drop," performed by Michael Sembello, written by Michael Sembello, Dick Rudolph and Danny Sembello, produced by Michael Sembello, published by Gravity Raincoat, Dickiebird Music & Publishing, Unicity Music, Inc. and No Pain No Gain Music, courtesy of A&M Records
"The Monster Squad," performed by The Monster Squad, written and produced by Dick Rudolph and Michael Sembello, published by Dickiebird Music & Publishing, TECO/Barish Music, Gravity Raincoat and Taft/Barish Music.
DETAILS
Release Date:
14 August 1987
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 14 August 1987
Production Date:
began 13 October 1986
Copyright Claimant:
Taft Entertainment Pictures and Keith Barish Productions
Copyright Date:
15 October 1987
Copyright Number:
PA345213
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed in Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
82
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28663
SYNOPSIS

In attempt to distract himself from his parents’ troubled marriage, twelve-year-old Sean Crenshaw becomes leader of the Monster Squad, a fan club devoted to classic monster movies. Unknown to Sean and his friends, Count Dracula has emerged from his grave to assemble a team of several famous creatures, including Frankenstein, the Wolfman, the Mummy, and the amphibious Gillman. Sean overhears his father, Police Detective Del Crenshaw, discussing strange occurrences around town. Suspecting monsters are responsible, Sean refers to the diary of legendary vampire hunter Dr. Abraham Van Helsing. Unable to translate the German text, the Monster Squad consults with an elderly Holocaust survivor who lives in the neighborhood. The writings reveal that once every century, a portal opens that will dispel the forces of evil to another dimension. After failing to defeat Dracula in 1887, Van Helsing’s followers emigrated to the U.S. to hide a powerful amulet, which helps maintain the balance between good and evil. Noting the date of Van Helsing’s last entry, the boys realize they must find a female virgin to read a special incantation before the portal reopens the following night. They prepare for the ritual, as Dracula sends Frankenstein to steal Van Helsing’s diary. However, the children appeal to the creature’s gentle nature and he befriends Sean’s five-year-old sister, Phoebe. The next evening, Monster Squad member Patrick Rhodes recruits his older sister to read from Van Helsing’s diary while Sean searches for the amulet. Meanwhile, Dracula destroys the Monster Squad’s clubhouse and murders Del’s partner. Del meets the boys at the town church, where they struggle to recite the German phrase. The incantation fails, however, because Patrick’s sister lied about her virginity. As the ... +


In attempt to distract himself from his parents’ troubled marriage, twelve-year-old Sean Crenshaw becomes leader of the Monster Squad, a fan club devoted to classic monster movies. Unknown to Sean and his friends, Count Dracula has emerged from his grave to assemble a team of several famous creatures, including Frankenstein, the Wolfman, the Mummy, and the amphibious Gillman. Sean overhears his father, Police Detective Del Crenshaw, discussing strange occurrences around town. Suspecting monsters are responsible, Sean refers to the diary of legendary vampire hunter Dr. Abraham Van Helsing. Unable to translate the German text, the Monster Squad consults with an elderly Holocaust survivor who lives in the neighborhood. The writings reveal that once every century, a portal opens that will dispel the forces of evil to another dimension. After failing to defeat Dracula in 1887, Van Helsing’s followers emigrated to the U.S. to hide a powerful amulet, which helps maintain the balance between good and evil. Noting the date of Van Helsing’s last entry, the boys realize they must find a female virgin to read a special incantation before the portal reopens the following night. They prepare for the ritual, as Dracula sends Frankenstein to steal Van Helsing’s diary. However, the children appeal to the creature’s gentle nature and he befriends Sean’s five-year-old sister, Phoebe. The next evening, Monster Squad member Patrick Rhodes recruits his older sister to read from Van Helsing’s diary while Sean searches for the amulet. Meanwhile, Dracula destroys the Monster Squad’s clubhouse and murders Del’s partner. Del meets the boys at the town church, where they struggle to recite the German phrase. The incantation fails, however, because Patrick’s sister lied about her virginity. As the creatures approach, young Phoebe grabs the diary and finishes reading the passage, successfully opening the space-time continuum. Frankenstein impales Dracula on a wrought-iron fence, but the vampire attempts to drag Sean with him into the portal. Sean breaks free by stabbing Dracula with a wooden stake just as Van Helsing appears to grab the vampire and drag him into the other world. Phoebe attempts to save Frankenstein, but he is sucked into the void along with the other monsters. Once the portal seals shut, the Crenshaw family reunites and the U.S. Army arrives to help clean up the mess. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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