The Monster Squad

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What started out with a bunch of foolish pranks and fun became a very sad week for the world of movie lovers. It’s terrible to lose any one of us, and surely many cinephiles die by the day, but this guy was among the biggest and most important. As it turns out, this week’s Reject Recap seems more filled with bad stories than good. Of course, it’s a week in which we saw a lot of recycling and — appropriately for the holiday that fell recently — resurrection of properties including Jurassic Park, Evil Dead and Finding Nemo. Looking over the list of the ten big stories, it’s a pretty disappointing time for us in general. Well, it’s not disappointing as a reader, as we hosted a bunch of great writing this week and also found some notable features by friends at other sites. Strewn through, we share some videos of Roger Ebert‘s reviews of films being discussed. Start your weekend right after the jump.

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You read the headline correctly. The number of horror classics that could be remade outnumbers the number that shouldn’t be. I’ve bought into it. I’ve seen enough good examples of remakes done well to no longer balk at the announcement of a new one outright (and I’m sure 5 more will be green-lit by the time I’ve finished typ…okay 5 more just got green-lit…); and if early word on the new Evil Dead picture is to be believed then it’s just one more punctured notch into the human-skinned belt of worthwhile horror remakes. No horror picture is safe from being resuscitated and put back through a brand new shiny meat grinder. Sometimes we get unexpectedly tasty ground sirloin; and sometimes we get mildewy grotesqueness reminiscent of “The Stuff” (which could use a remake). Talented filmmakers will make a good picture while talented accountants will make money. Sometimes both can be satisfied, and that readily occurs in the production of a horror remake because they’re cheap to make, easy to sell, and fun to play around with. They’re the pancakes of the film industry. Almost any horror picture is capable of being remade well given the right kind of people with the right kind of attitude. While it feels like everything’s already been remade, there are still a few stragglers that haven’t. Here are 5 that shouldn’t and 10 where an update might not be so bad.

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It’s finally October, the favorite month of fans of both Halloween and all the ghouls, ghosts, and goblins that come with that. The Universal monsters deserve much love when it comes to scary cinematic treats, which is why it’s high time we covered The Monster Squad on this little commentary column of ours. The film is a cult favorite and it sits in fans’ hearts as more than just a Goonies rip-off with classic horror icons. So let’s ring in All Hallow’s Month with all the great things we learned listening to the commentary for The Monster Squad. It’s got nards.

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Back in 1985, releasing a family film that was directed by Superman’s Richard Donner and had Steven Spielberg’s name plastered all over it as a writer and producer was pretty much the antithesis of a risky proposition. At this point in the mid 80s Spielberg and his crew of cohorts were at the height of their powers, churning out family friendly blockbusters one after another. So The Goonies never really had an uphill battle to climb. It was probably always going to be a success. The way that it took the ball and has continued to run with it, even twenty-six years later, is a little astounding though. This is a huge movie. If ever someone admits to not having seen it, they instantly get hit with an incredulous, “WHAT? YOU HAVEN’T SEEN GOONIES?” It’s almost to the point where the DVD gets sent to suburbanites in the mail with Peter Frampton records and samples of Tide. On the other end of the spectrum, The Monster Squad is a total cult movie. While it’s loved passionately by a small group of geeks, a normal person would have to very randomly stumble across something deep within the heart of the Internet to ever realize that this movie even exists. There aren’t any college frat boys wearing out their copy of Monster Squad like they are their copies of Goonies. There isn’t a new generation of young kids catching on to Fat Kid and Frankenstein the way they are Chunk and Sloth. […]

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After working with both Mark Shostrom and Sonny Burman on Evil Dead II, I had ended up back at Stan Winston’s studio. Stan and his permanent crew of John Rosengrant, Shane Mahan, Tom Woodruff, Jr., and Richard Landon were back in the shop from England and Aliens, and had just completed the Robert Zemekis episode of Amazing Stories, “Go to the Head of the Class.” The next assignment was a mechanical boar for the Debra Winger/Theresa Russell vehicle Black Widow. No, you didn’t miss anything. The sequence was cut just as we finished the puppet. Alec Gillis returned to the studio in time for the next Amazing Stories episode “Miss Stardust” for which we created three intergalactic beauty contestants. Ironically, it was during the shooting at Universal Studios, that Stan told us what the next assignment was going to be: A cross between The Goonies and Ghostbusters entitled The Monster Squad. Okay, confession time here. I do like the original Universal films Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Wolfman; I’m not a huge fan of The Mummy. Yes, my brother and I saw all of the films and collected the Aurora model kits (so good) but my love of monsters truthfully was for giant monsters: King Kong, Godzilla, Ray Harryhausen pictures, dinosaurs – those were the monsters that really ignited my imagination. I was partial to The Creature from the Black Lagoon, but technically, this was a 50s monster and not a 30s monster like its cousins. So when Stan told us […]

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Another week, another round of dollars to be spent here on This Week in Blu-ray. And just like last week, there are a few movies worth buying.

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DVDs I Bought This Week!

Rob Hunter loves movies. He also loves selling his plasma. These two joys come together in the form of cash money payments that he receives every week and immediately uses to buy more DVDs.

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