The Monster Squad was released August 14, 1987. The film featured kids running around unsupervised, fighting monsters, saying curse words, and learning what a virgin was. It was peak 80s family fun. I remember watching it quite a few times and then playing Monster Squad with my cousins. We were pretty effing, rad. Duh.
1. Shane Black (Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang) co-wrote the script with director Fred Dekker. The original script opening had zeppelins, machine guns, and pure insanity that would have cost more than the entire film’s budget.
2. The only lines Black and Dekker wrote together was a line delivered by Horace (Brent Chalem) talking about rocks and birds.
3. The legendary Stan Winston created the monsters for the film. Since Universal owns the classic movie monsters but passed on the film, Winston had to make subtle changes to avoid copyright infringement. This is why Frankenstein’s Monster has bolts in his temples, Dracula is missing his widow’s peak, and the Wolfman is wolfier, has pointier ears, and balls.
4. Ashley Bank turned down a role in Fatal Attraction to play little sister Phoebe. Duncan Regehr, Dracula, didn’t want to frighten the five-year-old, so he didn’t wear his spooky contacts and teeth on set with her. In the scene where Dracula lifts up Phoebe and she screams, the young actress was actually terrified to see Regehr in full monster mode, as he had put in the contacts and fangs.
5. Liam Neeson was up for the role of Dracula, but clearly lost out to Regehr. Another small role was supposedly planned for Neeson but never filmed.
6. Jon Fries played The Wolfman. You may also know him as Uncle Rico in Napolean Dynamite.
7. Tom Woodruff Jr. was working on the film on the Wolfman animatronics. When the film had not yet filled the role of Gillman, Woodruff offered his services. At the end of the flick, the townspeople are really beating the crap out of Gillman. The props were soft on the outside, but hard inside and the beating was really wearing on Woodruff, physically and mentally.
“They were wailing on him,” Rose recalled. “They’d stop and Tom would just say through the Gill mask ‘Hey guys, do you mind just taking it easy a little bit?” Alas, these pleas fell on deaf ears. After a few tiring takes, Rose remembers that, “One of the bigger guys was in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Since Woodruff’s vision was limited by the suit, he didn’t see the stunt man and accidentally slugged him right in the face.
“[He] fell like a sack of potatoes, straight on his a**,” said Rose. For a few unsettling moments, the stunt man just laid there with a glazed look in his eyes. Evidently, there was a pair of badly-placed rivets on the inside of his helmet. The blow drove these into his forehead and, once the hat was removed, two streams of blood spurted forth. Thankfully, he wasn’t seriously hurt.
8. Scary German Guy’s backstory was apparently thought of as controversial back in 1987. Dekker said that showing the Holocaust tattoo on SGG’s arm was a way to show realism in the midst of such a crazy fantasy story.
9. Clearly even Dekker wasn’t sure what he was going for, other than kids and classic monsters.
“I’m enjoying now Dracula’s MO, which I’m unclear about. He’s got a car. He’s planned to have this crate shipped. It’s clearly a nefarious plan. I just have no idea what it really is.” -Fred Dekker
10. The movie was only in theaters for two weeks and only made $3.7 million. It was not released on DVD until its twentieth anniversary, which is when I bought it.