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An ingeniously awesome cult classic crossover deserved much better than bombing and being abandoned

Why do so many cult classics have to bomb so hard?

via Tri-Star Pictures

Crossovers are all the rage these days, with several of Hollywood’s biggest franchises throwing together combinations of characters that you couldn’t imagine seeing in the same movie as recently as 10-15 years ago. Forget Godzilla vs. Kong, disregard Batman v Superman, and to hell with The Avengers, because 1987’s The Monster Squad deserves your attention.

After announcing himself to the world as screenwriting’s newest wunderkind, Lethal Weapon creator Shane Black followed up his breakout script by tackling an all-star horror crossover that bolted the trappings of spooky supernatural shenanigans onto an all-ages adventure that appealed to both youngsters and adults, bearing tonal similarities to the likes of The Goonies and Stand by Me.

via Tri-Star Pictures

An intrepid band of youngsters form the titular group, and their obsession with all things scary comes in exceedingly handy when none other than Dracula, the Mummy, The Wolf Man, Frankenstein’s Monster, and Gill-Man (who definitely isn’t The Creature from the Black Lagoon) descend upon their sleepy hometown in search of an amulet with the power to enslave humanity and take over the entire world.

It was a sky-high concept, and executed in typically energetic style thanks to Black’s signature rapid-fire dialogue and penchant for a creatively-worded quip or 10, with director Fred Dekker clearly in his element bringing his lifelong love of the classics to life and drenching them in a fresh coat of fantastic paint.

Of course, The Monster Squad ended up tanking horrendously at the box office after earning less than $4 million, because that’s what happens to the majority of cult classics in waiting. Thankdully, the film’s reputation has solidified over the last 35 years, with a recent Reddit thread underlining how popular it remains to this day.

A remake was announced in 2008, 2010, and 2014 without amounting to anything, but perhaps it’s for the best that The Monster Squad gets left alone.

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Scott Campbell

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