Those who weren’t kids at the time may have missed Fred Dekker’s extremely 1980s homage to the great Universal Studios horror movie monsters, but that’s no reason not to check it out this spooky season. And if you loved The Monster Squad(1987) as a kid, it’s now available On Demand (currently Hulu is carrying it) and on DVD and Bluray for your nostalgic reviewing pleasure.
It might not be the same without the tracking marks of an old-school VHS copy, which is how most people watched it, or on cable—as it didn’t do very well in the theaters. But when it did started popping up on cable TV, it quickly became a cult classic, which makes sense, since it’s basically The Goonies, but with monsters, guns, and some mildly nasty language.
A group of horror-obsessed middle schoolers, plus one junior high kid, band together to stop the forces of evil, including Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, The Wolfman (referred to simply as a werewolf) and The Creature From the Black Lagoon (credited as Gillman) and a reanimated mummy, when they gather in their suburban town for a once-ever-1,000-years ritual. While normally that premise might sound like a torturous movie, in the hands of screenwriter Shane Black (Lethal Weapon series, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Predator) it became something memorable and unique.
Despite all their planning and mystical mumbo jump about opening a portal to limbo to suck up all the monsters (which they pull from an old journal written by Abraham Van Helsing—yes, that Van Helsing) the kids do a pretty fine job of dispatching the bad guys themselves once they get their hands on some weapons.
The opening of the movie shows Abraham Van Helsing, the famous vampire hunter from the original Dracula novel by Bram Stoker, attacking Castle Dracula in the late 1800s with a band of peasant fighters, armed with a variety of weapons.
At least two of the peasants have double-barrel shotguns and one is armed with what looks like a Webley revolver. The rest have a variety of crossbows and other implements. The attack doesn’t go so well, and we flash forward to the 1980s.
The leader of The Monster Squad is Sean (Andre Gower) who starts the group along with his best friend Patrick (Robby Kiger), Horace (Brent Chalem) and the younger Eugene (Michael Faustino). Eventually, Junior High student Rudy (Ryan Lambert) tags along as well as Sean’s younger sister, Phoebe (Ashley Bank).
Sean learns about the monsters in his town when he overhears his father, Del, a local cop, telling his mom about a man who came into the police station screaming that he was a werewolf. He then stole a gun off a deputy and had to be shot, but the coroner’s van was found empty with the driver dead that same night.
Additionally, a mummy had been stolen from a local museum (lol).
Del’s Snubnose Revolver
After a healthy, but not excessive, period of disbelief, Del realizes there is something more than just criminals at work in his town and comes sto the aid of his son.
He speeds home after Dracula’s phantom limo passes through his sedan and finds that Dracula has blown up his son’s clubhouse. He fires a few shots, but you can see from his face he doesn’t expect them to do anything, and they don’t.
Dracula: “I will have your son…”
The ancient vampire then turns into a bat and flies away.
We don’t see the gun in enough light to identify it, but it looks to be a snub-nosed revolver similar to a Smith & Wesson Model 36.
Del comes a little heavier later in the film, attempting to blow Dracula up with a stick of dynamite.
Smith & Wesson Model 15
When the Wolfman comes into the police station, in human form, demanding to be locked up, he steals a cop’s gun and fires a few shots into the ceiling before the young police officer above puts him down with a Smith & Wesson Model 15 revolver, which seems to be the standard sidearm for the department.
Smith & Wesson 3000 Shotgun
Rudy (Ryan Lambert) is the heavy hitter of the club. He uses a compound bow to take out the Mummy (he attaches the end of his bandages to an arrow that he fires from a moving car into a tree…and the Mummy unwraps until he’s just a skull on the road. Why not? “See ya later, band-aid breath!”) and then uses it again later to kill Dracula’s brides (by shooting sharpened stakes from it instead of arrows).
When the Wolfman, who pulls himself together after being blown up by some dynamite, comes at him, Rudy picks up a fallen police officer’s Smith & Wesson Model 15, loads one of the silver bullets he made earlier in shop class (good thing it was a .38), and “Bang,” the Wolfman is gone. “See? Only one way to kill a werewolf.”
The Gillman is the last monster left, other than Dracula who is busy fighting Frankenstein’s monster—who turns out to be a pretty cool dude.
While the Gillman is busy crushing cops’ skulls in the street, Horace (Brent Chalem) grabs a pump-acton Smith & Wesson 3000 shotgun from a fallen cop and takes care of the Gillman with a blast to the heart.
“My name. Is Horace.”
And, just to get you in the spirit, what would an 80s movie be without a serious preparation montage?