In August of 1987, Fred Dekker and Shane Black unleashed their eerie take on the adventurous-adolescent film. Following in the footsteps of genre giants such as Stand by Me, E.T., and Explorers, these ghoulish Goonies, though not initially pleasing to the palates of critics, would conjure a cult-like following over the decades to come. Thirty-one years after the movie hit theaters, traces of its touch can still be found. With the resurgence of 80’s culture in modern media, spearheaded by Stranger Things and the hailing of traditional heavy metal in the foothills of the United States heralded by bands like the thunderous Visigoth (see more here), there is no doubt that The Monster Squad deserves its place upon the Retro Rushmore.
Aliens, outer space, corpse hunts, and lost pirate treasure are great, but The Monster Squad tore open a fresh, untapped vein of our hazy youth. Kids love horror for one of two reasons. Their parents are horror fans and allow them to watch and use this time as a bonding experience, or their parents hate horror and forbid them from watching it, all but guaranteeing little Timmy stays up late and catches Tales from the Crypt. H.P Lovecraft himself said the greatest fear is fear of the unknown. On the other hand, the unknown offers the greatest rewards for those rebellious enough to brave the dark. The Monster Squad offered a new vehicle to pilot and charge through the curiosity of our childhoods. Gone are the railroads. Gone are the ships, of sea and space sort. Born is the badass black hearse of Mr. Alucard.
The halls of horror are often, though not always, filled with metal heads. There has always been a clear connection between metal and the macabre.This should come as no surprise. The legendary roots of the occult origins of some of the world’s finest music can be traced to the tale of blues musician Robert Johnson, who sold his soul to the devil.
The Monster Squad was the introduction to horror for a lot of kids. This was a safe alternative to some of the more extreme movies. However, this exposure to the genre was the first step into the dark. Once Dracula’s fangs pierced our young imaginations, there was no turning back. We were all doomed to be creatures of the night. The Monster Squad contributed to creating a new generation of horror fans. Those fans would go on to explore the genre and become part of the fold. The Legends of Limbo would prepare us for Elm Street and Return of The Living Dead, while simultaneously exposing us to classic heavy metal bands such as Dokken and Leatherwolf. Instilling in us the cardinal rules of horror, marked with a caveat: There is only one way to kill a werewolf, but if you’re cornered and lacking a silver bullet: Kick him in the nards.