review for The Monster Squad on AllMovie

The Monster Squad (1987)
by Donald Guarisco review

The horror comedy is usually a contradiction in terms but The Monster Squad is a rare successful example of the format. The secret of its success is Shane Black and Fred Dekker's script, which blends homage and lampoon in a way that sees humor in the horror genre without ever disrespecting it. Dekker carries that approach over to his work as the film's director, giving the film a light-hearted 'pop' feel during the segments dealing with the young heroes but creating a convincingly spooky atmosphere for the monster sequences. His work in both areas is aided tremendously by slick cinematography from Bradford May and a rousing orchestral score from Bruce Broughton that hits all the right emotional notes. It's also worth noting that Dekker maintains a tight pace throughout and weaves in some unexpectedly affecting moments of pathos between the scares and laughs. Finally, it's the acting that completes the film's crowd-pleaser appeal: everyone acquits themselves well but the real scene-stealers are Duncan Regehr's regal yet nasty turn as Dracula, Tom Noonan's appealingly childlike take on Frankenstein and Leonardo Cimino's subtle and dignified work as Scary German Guy, the one adult who immediately understands what the kids are up against. In short, The Monster Squad is a smart, fast-paced delight that horror fans of all ages can enjoy and appealing enough to cross over to viewers who aren't genre fans.