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Non-Review Review: The Monster Squad

The Monster Squad is an affectionate celebration of the monster movies of yesteryear, written from the point of view of a generation that grew up with the Universal Horror monsters. When Dracula conspires with his monstrous brethren to conquer the world, it’s up to a gang of plucky kids and their knowledge of horror movie tropes and clichés to stop the lord of the vampires from swaying the balance of good and evil once and for all. It’s an understandably cheesy celebration of those old monster movies, one that benefits from never taking itself or its subject matter to seriously. However, there’s a deep and abiding affection to be found in The Monster Squad, a polite and endearing salute to the iconic monsters of the thirties (through the fifties) from a generation that has its own scary subjects to worry about.

Staying under wraps…

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Non-Review Review: The Wolf Man (1941)

Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night,

May become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.

Although hampered by perhaps the weakest leading performance of the “great” Universal horror films, I maintain that The Wolf Man has the strongest script of any of the classic Universal monster movies. Although, like so many other horror films produced by the studio, it went through any number of re-writes and executive meddling before reaching the screen, I think Curt Siodmak’s script deserves a great deal of credit for doing several very import things. On one level, it presented one grand unifying story archetype for werewolf tales, to the point where it is almost that subgenre’s Dracula. However, it also plays as a fascinating and compelling psychological drama, with an element of humanity and complexity that shines through Jack Pierce’s phenomenal make-up work.

Lon Chaney as the wolf man. Or me, early on a Sunday morning…

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