**/**** Image B- Sound B+ Extras A
starring André Gower, Duncan Regehr, Stephen Macht, Tom Noonan
screenplay by Shane Black & Fred Dekker
directed by Fred Dekker
by Bill Chambers Since I caught myself mouthing a portion of the dialogue while revisiting it for the first time in almost two decades, I think it's fair to say I internalized The Monster Squad through multiple viewings in my misspent youth. Still, as that Tri-Star horse sprouted wings, I realized I had no tactile memory of the film, no real recollection of what it felt like--and the answer is: it feels like eighty minutes, give or take. It's pabulum, albeit pabulum with a pedigree. The latest nostalgia trap to get a nerd baptism (an AICN-sponsored reunion screening at Austin's Alamo Drafthouse is more or less single-handedly responsible for the picture's splashy DVD release), it's at least better than the movie to which it's most often compared, the Steven Spielberg-produced The Goonies, if only because it's a good half-hour shorter and, by extension, comparatively unpretentious. Beneath its own Spielbergian façade, The Monster Squad works like those old horror hosts used to by sanctioning the classic monsters for a younger generation, whereas The Goonies aims only to erect a shrine to itself.