Wednesday, July 25, 2007

MONSTER SQUAD-A-THON: DVD Quick Take & Finale Screengrabs

I had envisioned a post about the actual Monster Squad DVD to be relatively simple, afterall Lionsgate crafted a product that was far and above anyone's expectations for a movie making its digital debut. But while making my way through the extras today, my excitement for them waned because really if you're going to buy this DVD it's for the movie, and everything else takes a backseat. Don't get me wrong, it's a fabulous DVD with a great documentary, commentaries and outtakes -- it's just that watching The Monster Squad for the first time since 1991 confirmed all the hype I've reaped on it all these years and made me want to revisit the film's crowning sequence. With the aid of a generous person who owns a better computer than mine, I was able to capture some screengrabs of the final act and share them here.

Before that, a few more words on the DVD. Unless you're one of the few who caught Monster Squad in the theater, you've been missing out on its original Cinemascope widescreen for all these years. Director Fred Dekker filmed this movie as kind of a poor man's John Carpenter, in that he greatly utilized the wide aspect ratio in every scene's framing, and as such I can't even imagine watching Monster Squad in pan and scan mode (like we all did on HBO and on VHS). As you'll see in the following screengrabs, Dekker really knows how to fill a frame.

Fans of Monster Squad will do cartwheels over the generous extras on the DVD, with a 90+ minute documentary that covers pretty much everything and a lively cast and crew commentary. The documentary's most interesting elements are when it focuses on Dekker, from his rise up the Hollywood ladder to how his career crashed. After being rejected by the USC and UCLA film schools, Dekker crafted the story for House, a horror movie with its own cult following these days (though I prefer the idiotic fun of House II: The Second Story). His first directing job was the still-not-on-DVD Night of the Creeps, which bombed at the box office but had a positive buzz before its opening that led to Monster Squad's greenlight. Monster Squad obviously did poorly as well at the box office, and Dekker bluntly says it killed his career 'for a couple of years.' This confession is somewhat sad since it comes at the end of the documentary after he talks all the hard work that went into it and the positive reception it has since garnered. Dekker follows up that statement by saying Robocop 3 killed his career again, and he's not lying -- he never directed again. Dekker's only credits following Robocop 3 have come as writer on the television series Enterprise and producer for a few forgettable televison projects.

But hey, he'll always have Monster Squad, and let's take a look at some of the highlights from the movie's unforgettable final act:

Tough talking Rudy puts his Monster Squad membership on the line with a downtown showdown against Dracula's virgin vamps.

I love this shot, especially the placement of his cigarette and how he's firing a full-on inch-thick wooden stake.

Doesn't get much better than this. I love how the streetlight captures the stake and the advancing vamps.

WE JOIN OUR CURRENT BATTLE ALREADY IN PROGRESS: Sean's dad had the sense to apparently pick up one (1) stick of dynamite at the store (minutes before midnight) before coming to help. He puts the dynamite to good use by stuffing it down the Wolfman's pants.

Boom goes Wolfman out the window, and he's going to show that all that business about a silver bullet being the only thing that can kill a werewolf is no joke.

Yup, he's back together again, and no mere State Trooper can stop him ...

Unless they had the help of a rebellious teen with a silver bullet.

Don't mention it, man.

Meanwhile, after The Creature's fabulous manhole entrance, it's time for Fat Kid to shine ...

Those bullies are no help, time to put that shotgun to good use.

"Hey Fat Kid, nice job!"

"My name ... is Horace!" [pumps shotgun]

Awww fuck, Dracula's still here -- and I bet he wants that amulet, too.

"Give me the amulet you BITCH!*

*Sigourney Weaver damn well better have gotten royalties for his delivery of this line.


Remember kids, this is an 80s horror movie so the villain will not die easily, in fact I bet he...

... Hey, where'd he go? Ah shit, better just let Van Helsing deal with him -- is that damn portal open yet?

Haha! This movie will surely jump start my career -- who am I again?

Just to add an "E.T." element, let's have Frankenstein get sucked into the portal as well, with the little girl yellinw "Don't go, Frankenstein!" Try and have her sound as much like Drew Barrymore as possible.

In case you got in late ... well, we're The Monster Squad ... and I'm Andre Gower.

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