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In an era when most American films are patched together from parts of last year's hits, THE MONSTER SQUAD sports a fairly innovative combination; namely, the 1986 hit STAND BY ME and a potpourri of 1940s Universal horror epics (HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN; HOUSE OF DRACULA; ABBOTT AND COSTELLO
MEET FRANKENSTEIN). THE MONSTER SQUAD begins as Dracula (Duncan Regehr) and Frankenstein's Monster (Tom Noonan) hook up with their pals the Mummy (Michael MacKay), the Wolfman (Carl Thibault), and the Gill-Man (Tom Woodruff, Jr.) in a Spielbergian suburb to search for an ancient amulet that will
help them rule the world. Meanwhile, a group of grade-school friends devoted to Hollywood monster lore meet in their treehouse and quiz one another on the finer aspects of movie-monsterdom. When the kids learn of this horrific invasion, they turn to "The Scary German Guy" (Leonardo Cimino) for
assistance, then gain an unexpected ally in the Frankenstein Monster, who is tired of being bossed around by Dracula. This second feature from director Fred Dekker (NIGHT OF THE CREEPS) is a poorly paced and haphazardly scripted (by LETHAL WEAPON writer Shane Black--yes, together they are Black &
Dekker) horror-comedy that is neither scary nor particularly funny. Its attempt at creating a STAND BY ME-type childhood ambience is strained to the breaking point. Furthermore, the monsters are a tepid lot, and the special makeup (by Zoltan and Katalin Elek) is terribly plastic. Only Noonan
scores as the Frankenstein Monster, primarily because he and the filmmakers understand that children have always seen this creature as a misunderstood victim--not as a monster.