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‘The Monsters Go Crazy’ (1987) | Cult turns 35 and remains the perfect choice for Halloween

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Any self-respecting cinephile is a fan or at least has a particular affection for Os Goonies (1985), a timeless classic of the Afternoon Session. Produced by Steven Spielberg, the youth adventure film is one of those passed down from generation to generation, such as Back to the Future, Indiana Jones or Star Wars, without losing its strength even after almost 40 years since its release.

In the case of the Goonies, what’s impressive is that they achieved such status with just one film. Another timeless cult item is the classic monsters of the seventh art, which are already more than printed in pop culture. Iconic characters like Dracula, Frankenstein and the Werewolf, for example, that anyone could identify with a single image. Now, wouldn’t it be great if a producer came up with the idea of ​​pitting the Goonies against these supernatural monsters? Well, this movie exists, it was released in the 80s, it’s called Deu a Louca nos Monstros (The Monster Squad in the original – or Squadron of Monsters) and you should know it!

‘Dou a Crazy nos Monstros’ (The Monster Squad) is an 80s cult that deserves to be better known!

Written by Shane Black and Fred Dekker, two very creative minds of the 80s, responsible for productions such as Lethal Weapon, House of Scares and Night of Goosebumps, the idea of ​​the duo was really to create an adventure film for children adding horror elements that both love so much. For this, on the way to the “gallery of noise”, the directors brought iconic figures of genre cinema, today known as the classic monsters of Universal Pictures, who although they did not have properly created by the studio (the main ones coming from ancient books and legends), have undoubtedly been immortalized in popular culture thanks to the studio’s productions of the 1930s. Thus, Dracula, Frankenstein, Werewolf, Mom and the Monster of the Black Lagoon become the challenge of a group of five children.

The big draw of The Monster Squad even today is undoubtedly the visual effects and make-up used in the creation of the monsters – the work of one of the genre’s most respected professionals to come to Hollywood: the late Stan Winston. The artist, who died in 2008, was responsible for the practical effects and visuals of films like The Terminator (and its sequel), Aliens and Jurassic Park, to name a few. After his death, his studio remains in operation and remains a Hollywood landmark in the segment. One of the most curious facts about Winston and his team’s participation in Freaked Out to Monsters was that their employees had to be split into two teams for the job.

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

It turns out that around the same time, Winston’s company had been hired to do the effects and make-up for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s film The Predator (1987) for 20th Century Fox. Despite having the Austrian actor’s name associated with the project – who was still rising to international stardom – part of Stan Winston’s studio team considered the work on Freak Out of the Monsters more important and worthy of the project. The company’s A-team, and the others transferred to The Predator would, according to him at the time, be the ones who got the worst job. Indeed, 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 to be a creation science fiction b.

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Time has proven otherwise, with The Predator still being remembered today as one of the most beloved action films of the 80s, while Freak Out of the Wild eventually faded quickly into obscurity. What can be said is that the practical effects and composition of the children’s feature film took it to the next level, and made all the children and teenagers who saw it at the time happy. , like the one you’re talking about. One thing kids can tell right away is the quality and visual care of their beloved productions. Or what sounds “cheap” and what sounds premium.

Recreating the classic “Monsters of Universal” look is what drew the pros to Stan Winston’s studio.

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

It’s impossible not to think of The Goonies, released just two years ago, especially since creators Dekker and Black refuse to accept comparisons. The thing is, with the success of the aforementioned movie about adventure kids produced by Steven Spileberg, any movies that brought that dynamic were automatically compared to it. And here we also have a group of pre-teens. The difference is that instead of being aficionados of pirates and hidden treasures, the gang here is even cooler, as they are passionate about terror and monsters, hence the name of their little club – complete with a tree house – “The Monster Squad”, the “Monster Squadron”.

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

Even its members look like the Goonies. For example, the leader of the monster squad is Sean (Andre Gower), the Mikey of the time here – whose name was perhaps even an allusion to the interpreter of Sean Astin. His best friend is Patrick (Robby Kiger), who is Corey Feldman’s version of Gobber (Mouth), given the right proportions. Without thinking too much, in these films we also always had the chubby friend, who was being bullied, whether it was Gordo (Chunk), played by Jeff Cohen, or Horace (played by Brent Chalem – unfortunately who died ten years after the release of Deu a Louca).in Monsters). To further seal the connection between the two works, Mary Ellen Trainor, the mother of protagonist brothers Mikey and Brand in Goonies, is also the mother of brothers Sean and Phoebe in this film.

Interestingly, the Monster Squad title had been used in another production before, but it has no connection to Dekker and Black’s film. Well, almost. It turns out that Stanley Ralph Ross, one of the creators of the hit ’60s Batman and Robin series (that of POW, SOC, WHAM), developed a series along similar lines in the ’70s. DC heroes, the creator would use Universal’s classic monsters, Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Werewolf fighting off criminals and saving the day as protagonists. In other words, the monsters were the heroes of this version. Ten years later, the same characters and title were used by Dekker and Black, flipping the concept and bringing kids (the Goonies) up against the creatures.

The original “The Monster Squad” was a 70s series that featured Dracula, Frankenstein and the Werewolf as heroes.

With a budget of US$12 million and distribution by TriStar Pictures (a Columbia/Sony subsidiary) in the United States, Crazy in the Monsters premiered in its home country on August 14, 1987, with the intention to reach its target audience. of the American summer before the start of the school year. Perhaps the film would have been more embraced at the time had it been released around Halloween that year. Anyway, the feature film faced strong competition from films such as The Lost Boys, Robocop – The Policeman of the Future, Masters of the Universe (the He-Man movie), La Bamba and 007 – Marked for Death, all of which are already in theaters making a splash at the box office. Other than that, the same weekend debuted hits like Girlfriend for Rent and No Exit (starring Kevin Costner), which left The Monster Squad in the dust. The film unfortunately flopped, with a total gross of $3.769 million. One of the factors which may have contributed to this failure was the lack of focus on its target audience, in a film which should be aimed at children, but which contains scenes that are truly disconcerting, violent and unsuitable for minors – thus guaranteeing a PG censor -13 to the film, i.e. unaccompanied children under 13 do not enter.

“Dou a Louca nos Monstros” is aimed at children and teenagers, but is too intense for them.

With video libraries, the film’s cult status only grew. Then come the exhibitions on open TV, where whoever speaks to you was able to discover it for the first time and fall in love with the feature film while still in its infancy. After all, what boy wouldn’t love this jumpsuit? Gone Crazy in the Monsters is still celebrated every year to this day. On its 20th anniversary in 2007, the film received a fine double DVD release in the United States. And on his 30th birthday in 2017, a documentary was released, written and directed by Andre Gower, protagonist Sean, titled Wolfman’s Got Nards, a reference to the film’s most iconic line – when Horace kicks the werewolf… in the Netherlands. The 1:30 documentary features interviews with virtually everyone involved in the film, including cast and creators Dekker and Black, making this a must-have fan request. The documentary is in its entirety a great love letter and shows the passion that people still have in film. As the filmmakers say, “It’s like throwing a basketball in 1987 and seeing it go into the basket twenty years later.”

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