'Made the Monsters Crazy' (1987) |  Cult turns 35 and is still the perfect choice for Halloween

Every self-respecting cinephile is a fan or at least holds a special affection for The Goonies (1985), a timeless classic from the Afternoon Session. Made by Steven Spielbergthe youth adventure film is one of those that are passed down from generation to generation, as well as Back to the future, Indiana Jones or Star Warswithout losing its strength even though almost 40 years have passed since its release.

In case of The Goonies, the impressive thing is to have achieved such status with just one film. Another timeless cult object are the classic monsters of the seventh art, which are already more than imprinted in pop culture. Emblematic figures like Dracula, Frankenstein and the Werewolf, for example, that anyone would identify with just one image. Now, wouldn’t it be awesome if some producer came up with the idea of ​​pitting the Goonies against these supernatural monsters? Well, this movie exists, it was released in the 80’s, it’s called Drive the Monsters Crazy (The Monster Squad in the original – or Squadron of the Monsters) and you need to know!

‘Deu a Louca nos Monstros’ (The Monster Squad) is an 80’s cult that needs to be better known!

Written by Shane Black It is Fred Dekker, two very creative minds from the 80’s, being responsible for productions like Deadly machine, The House of Astonishment It is Night of Goosebumps, the duo’s idea was really to create a children’s adventure film adding horror elements that both love so much. For this, in the way of the “noise gallery”, the directors brought iconic figures from the cinema of the genre, today known as the classic monsters of Universal Pictures, which, although they were not exactly created by the studio (with the main ones coming from books and ancient legends), have undoubtedly been immortalized in popular culture thanks to the studio’s 1930s productions. Thus, Dracula, Frankenstein, Werewolf, Mummy and Creature from the Black Lagoon become the challenge of a group of five children.

The big draw of The Monster Squad even today, it is undoubtedly the visual effects and makeup used in the creation of the monsters – the work of one of the most renowned professionals of the genre to have passed through Hollywood: the late Stan Winston. The artist who died in 2008 was responsible for the practical effects and visuals of films such as Terminator (and its continuation), Aliens – The Rescue It is Jurassic Park, just to name a few. After his death, his studio is still active, and remains a landmark in Hollywood in the segment. One of the most curious facts about the participation of Winston and his team in Drive the Monsters Crazy was that their employees needed to be divided into two teams for work.

The characterization of the monsters is still impressive and looks like something out of a horror movie.

It so happens that at the same time, the winston had been hired to create the effects and makeup in the film The predator (1987), with Arnold Schwarzenegger, for 20th Century Fox. Despite having the name of the Austrian actor associated with the project – who was still rising to become an international star – part of the Stan Winston considered work in Drive the Monsters Crazy most important and worthy of the company’s A team, and the rest moved to The predator it would be, in his view at the time, the ones who got the worst job. That’s because in the first, the team would have the chance to create some of the most classic and iconic movie monsters of all time, while in the second, it would seem, it would be a science fiction B creation.

Time has proved otherwise, with The predator still remembered today as one of the most beloved action films of the 80s, while Drive the Monsters Crazy ended quickly falling into obscurity. What we can say is that the practical effects and make-up of the juvenile feature took it to a new level, and made the joy of all the children and teenagers who were able to check it out at the time, like this one that tells you. One thing that children are able to distinguish right away is the quality and visual care of their beloved productions. Or what sounds “cheap” and what sounds high-end.

Recreating the classic look of “Universal’s monsters” is what attracted the professionals at Stan Winston’s studio.

The plot begins like a horror movie, with an invasion of Dracula’s castle with Van Helsing at the head of the villagers, leading them to put an end to the evil undead creature. The original sequence in the script was going to be much bigger and grander, complete with airships and people on horseback in this attack on Dracula, but for budgetary reasons the opening sequence had to be scaled down considerably. This passage is so classic that it permeates the basic imagination of even children unfamiliar with horror elements. In the midst of combat, a virgin reads scripture from a book and opens a portal, sucking everyone and everything into it. One hundred years pass and we are now in the present time, that is, the present time of 1987.

It’s impossible not to think about The Goonies, which had been released just two years ago, however much the creators Dekker It is Black refuse to accept the comparisons. The fact is that with the success of the aforementioned film about adventurous children produced by Steven Spileberg, all films that featured this dynamic were automatically compared to him. And here we also have a small group of pre-teens. The difference is that instead of being passionate about pirates and hidden treasures, the gang here is even cooler, because they are passionate about horror and monsters, hence the name of their club – complete with a tree house – “The Monster Squad”. , the “Monster squad”.

The concept of ‘Monster Squad’ is simple: The Goonies vs. Universal’s classic Monsters.

Even its members bear resemblance to the Goonies. For example, the leader of the monster squad is Sean (Andre Gower), Mikey for the time here – whose name may even have been an allusion to the interpreter Sean Astin. His best friend is Patrick (Robby Kiger), which is the version of Bocão (Mouth), played by Corey Feldman, given the appropriate proportions. Without thinking too much, in these films we always had the chubby friend, who was bullied, whether Gordo (Chunk), role of Jeff Cohenor Horace (played by Brent Chalem – who sadly passed away ten years after the release of Drive the Monsters Crazy). Further sealing the link between the two works is the fact that Mary Ellen Trainorthe mother of the main brothers Mikey and Brand in Goonies, also being the mother of the brothers Sean and Phoebe in this film here.

Interestingly the title Monster Squad it had already been used in another production, but has no connection with the Dekker and Black film. Well, or almost. turns out that Stanley Ralph Rossone of the creators behind the hit show batman and robin, from the 60s (the one from POW, SOC, WHAM), developed a series along the same lines in the 70s. But, instead of DC superheroes, the creator would use the classic Universal monsters, Dracula, Frankenstein as protagonists and the Werewolf fighting criminals and saving the day. That is, the monsters were the heroes in this version. Ten years later, the same characters and the same title were used by Dekker and Black, subverting the concept and bringing children (the Goonies) to face the creatures.

The original ‘The Monster Squad’ was a 1970s sitcom featuring Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolfman as heroes.

With a budget of US$12 million and distributed by TriStar Pictures (a subsidiary of Columbia / Sony) in the USA, Drive the Monsters Crazy premiered in its country of origin on August 14, 1987, with pretensions of reaching its target audience at the end of the American summer before back to school. Perhaps the film would have been more embraced at the time had it been released closer to Halloween that year. Be that as it may, the feature faced heavy competition from films like The Lost Boys, Robocop – The Cop of the Future, Masters of the Universe (the He-Man movie), La Bamba It is 007 – Marked for Death, all already on display making noise at the box office. Apart from that, on the same weekend hits such as girlfriend for rent It is No way out (with Kevin Costner), who left The Monster Squad eating dust. The film unfortunately flopped, with a total gross of $3.769 million. One of the factors that may have contributed to this failure was the lack of focus on its target audience, in a film that should be aimed at little ones, but which has truly disconcerting, violent and unsuitable scenes for minors – thus guaranteeing PG censorship. -13 to the film, that is, unaccompanied minors under 13 years old do not enter.

‘Deu a Louca nos Monstros’ is aimed at children and teenagers, but it’s too intense for them.

With video stores, the film’s cult status has only grown. After that came the screenings on open TV, where this one who speaks to you was able to check it out for the first time and fall in love with the feature still in childhood. After all, what boy wouldn’t fall in love with this combination? Drive the Monsters Crazy it is still celebrated to this day annually. On its 20th anniversary in 2007, the film received a fancy double DVD release in the US. And on his 30th birthday, in 2017, a documentary was released, written and directed by Andre Gowerthe protagonist Sean, entitled Wolfman’s Got Nards, reference to the most iconic line in the film – when Horace kicks the werewolf… in the netherlands. The 1h30min documentary features interviews with basically everyone involved with the film, including the actors and creators. Dekker It is Black, being an indispensable request for fans. The documentary is in its entirety a great love letter and shows the passion that people still reserve for the film. As the filmmakers say: “It’s like throwing a basketball in 1987 and watching it go into the hoop twenty years later.”

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