Tag Archives: Monster Squad

I’m in the Gosh Darn Club, right?!

So, I’ve definitely been absent from the online world for a few months now as I’ve been dealing with some personal family matters that have literally been taking up all of my time.  I’m hoping to be able to pull myself out from under the mountain of things that need to be done in order to record a new episode of the podcast or to get back to writing soon.  In the meantime, I wanted to take a second and point to something very awesome, the Halloween 2016 release from one of my favorite independent companies, 8 Bit Zombie!


I’ve mentioned Ross and his rad clothing and merch outfit 8BZ on Branded before what with his super cool vintage-inspired lunchbox releases and his badass Masters of the Universe-style action figure Thrashor.  While there are a lot of neat independent companies putting out fun t-shirts and toys, there’s just something that feels dead-on when it comes to 8 Bit Zombie in terms of the design aesthetic and products that Ross and his cadre of artists realize and produce that speaks directly to my eight year-old brain.  Whether it’s the attention to detail (like the accurately nostalgia-ridden fonts and illustration styles), the quality of the products, or how Ross and company manage to fill in the gaps missing in vintage pop culture collecting with all new very cool stuff, I always feel like this stuff was tailor-made for me.  And like I’m want to say about the era 80s kids grew up in, this feeling is such a shared experience that I’d be willing to be that quite a few of you will feel the same when you browse through the 8 Bit Zombie catalog.  It’s like 8BZ took all of the stuff we loved as kids, put it in a blender, and made something new, yet still very nostalgic.  And I love that.

Which brings me to the brand new 2016 Halloween product drop scheduled for 2pm eastern, 11am pacific this very afternoon.  If I already felt like 8BZ was aimed at me specifically, you can only imagine how excited I was when Ross reached out and gave me an early glimpse at the stuff he had in store which for the first time is going to be centered on a single nostalgic theme.  What’s that theme?  Well, just so happens the new 8BA release is riffing off of one of my most favorite movies of all time, the 1987 Fred Dekker classic, Monster Squad!


I mean, holy freaking crap.  For a film that was woefully under-merchandized back in the day, the new stuff 8 Bit Zombie has put together makes up for that ball being dropped in spades!  Today’s release includes a metric ton of cool stuff, but lets start with that beautiful old school plastic lunchbox you see above.  Available in two colors (red or black), this thing is literally a dream come true for me.  I can’t tell you how long I’ve dreamed of owning a Monster Squad lunchbox.  Like I’ve mentioned a million times on the site before, the film should have had a huge marketing push as it was released at an apex of kid’s pop culture branding and merchandise, but somehow it fell through the cracks and was forgotten way too easily.  This Scooby Doo-inspired design just reminds me how rad a Monster Squad animated series could have been.  Instead of a thermos, each lunchbox comes packed with a very neat pint glass that features the same beautiful artwork by the super talented Matthew Skiff…


In addition to this bad ass lunchbox, 8 Bit Zombie is also putting out a couple of new t-shirt designs celebrating the film.  First up, there’s a riff on the original UK logo with the an updated version featuring homages to all five monsters that appear in the film featured on a black shirt…


So now you can show off your membership in one of the coolest goddamn clubs around!  The second t-shirt dropping this afternoon is a Ratfink-inspired take on the monsters that is both an homage to the 1987 film and the 50s and 60s monster culture that originally influenced Fred Dekker to create the film…


Again, talking about the amazing attention to detail, I freaking adore that the Monster Squad font chosen for this shirt is a throwback to the font used in the German release of the film (under the title Monster Busters)!  Don’t even get me started on the nods to Dracula’s hearse, the dynamite that absolutely can not kill the Wolfman and the fact that the Mummy is hanging off the back like in the climax of the film.  This shirt just puts a huge smile on my face…

Alternate Logo 3 German

The coup de grace?  Well, last but certainly not least is the official Monster Squad-themed membership pack that includes a plethora of awesome goodies, way more than any of the past 8 Bit Zombie member packs…


So what’s in this thing? Included in each pack is a pair of Rudy Halloran-style shades, one each of a Monster Squad membership patch, sticker, pin and membership card, a set of three monster patches and an extremely badass decision coin!


Here’s a close up of the rad patches you can totally sew to your jean jacket…


And wouldya look as this too-cool-for-words decision coin!?!

I can pretty much state unequivocally that I will be making all of my important decisions with this coin very soon.

If you’re a fan of Monster Squad, or just like really bitchin stuff I highly suggest you head on over to 8 Bit Zombie this afternoon and load up on some of these amazing goodies.  Ross is also brining back some retired Halloween-themed t-shirts from the graveyard (in particular a couple very cool Lost Boys and Return of the Living Dead shirts.)  He also still has some Return of the Living Dead-inspired Body Bag old school jointed paper Halloween decorations in the shop (I have one hanging at my house right now!)  So head on over and pick up some fun stuff.  Make sure you tell him that Branded sent ya, and if you pick up some of this stuff, please send me pictures.  That would really brighten what has been a pretty crappy start of Fall here at Branded…

The League Re-Revisited!

6883501769_16f5716f51_oLong Time readers might remember that I used to have a lot of fun participating in a weekly pop culture project called the League of Extraordinary Bloggers, or just the League as I preferred to call it.  The project was spearheaded by Brain over at CoolandCollected.com, as a way for folks to find new sites and share inspiration.  I met a bunch of cool folks through the exercise, and though I didn’t participate every week, I always had a blast when I did.  The League has come and gone a couple of times, and finally Brian is giving it another go, though this time a bit rejiggered for a more modern content sharing community.  With the rise in folks ditching traditional sites for Tumblr, Instagram, and Facebook he wanted to make sure that everyone felt they could participate no mater how they interact with the pop culture community, so the Project is now been re-dubbed the Pop Culture League and has a spiffy new logo to boot…


The first new assignment is up which is simply, Shelfie.  So to answer the call and jump back in the saddle with the folks who are participating I present my most recent obsession, my Dead Media collection of copies of the 1987 Fred Dekker flick Monster Squad on VHS from all over the world!


This is actually not literally on a shelf, they’re currently giving me inspiration on my desk, but you get the idea.  I’ve made no secret that Monster Squad is one of my favorite films and even though there isn’t a ton of merchandise floating around for the film, there’s enough to keep a true fan busy for awhile trying to pick it all up.  Since I don’t have the wall space for the various movie posters I’ve mainly been concentrating on acquiring Squad ephemera (press kits, photos, international programs and fliers, and magazine articles), but this past year I decided to challenge myself by trying to hunt down copies of all the various releases of the film on VHS.  What I really wanted was a way to display my love for the film literally here at Branded HQ and this seemed to be a fun way to do it.  Not only do these tapes feature a lot of the alternate poster art, but it’s just really cool seeing all of these together.  So what do we have in that picture above?  Going from left to right we have…

The CNR Video, ex-rental VHS from the Netherlands…


Next up is the Australian Filmpac ex-rental VHS in that snazzy red clamshell case…


This one is a little worn, but I kind of like that.  I imagine it was rented a bazillion times which makes me happy.  Next, a couple of releases from the UK, an Braveworld/World Vision ex-rental and the Braveworld/World Vision mass market releases of the film on VHS…

image11    image5

Note the altered Craig Nelson poster art and the alternate UK log on the ex-rental (and Horace’s rad Monster Squad shirt!)  Also, I love that red tape cover on the ex-rental as well, it reminds me of the green on that was on all of the E.T. VHS releases…

Moving right along, here are a couple of German releases.  First is the VPS Video mass market release of the VHS (where the film was re-titled Monster Busters!)


Then here’s a German ex-rental from Videoplay-Spielfilm that has the most boring VHS tpae stickers ever…


Now let’s jump over to Spain for a couple more releases.  Here we have the Record Pictures ex-rental VHS with some of the gaudiest cover art ever (and a re-titling of the film to Una Pandilla Alucinante), as well as an Action Time Video ex-rental release of the Beta version of the film…

image13    image10

Staying in and around the area of Spain, here’s the Transvideo ex-rental release of the VHS from Portugal (re-titled Deu A Louca Nos Monstros)…


Next up was a very hard VHS to find, and I wasn’t even sure it existed until I had it in my grubby little hands, this beautiful Italian ex-renal from Gallery Panarecord (the Italian subsidary of Worldvision) complete with the most bizarre poster for the film (re-titled Scuola Di Monstri, Monster School)…


Next, let jump to a completely different continent with my absolute favorite VHS release of the film all the way from Japan, this Hearld Videogram ex-rental that is appropriately Halloween-y!


The next release came out a little later, but it’s still cool all the same, it’s Danish VHS where the film was re-titled Monster Klubben.  This is also the only international paper sleeve release that I’ve found…


Rounding out the international releases of the film that I’ve been able to source is another rare one, this time from Mexico.  I am super intrigued by this Videomax ex-rental (from Blockbuster of all places), because this is the only release of the film that has a longer running time than the standard North American release.  Most versions of this film are 93 minutes long, with a handful of the international releases edited down to 89 minutes.  But this Mexican release is 100 minutes!  I’m working on getting a new VCR set-up so that I can figure out what exactly is in those extra 7 minutes of film…


Last, but certainly not least, is the US/Canadian release of the film by Vestron Video.  This copy came from my favorite Mom & Pop video rental store in Duluth, GA, Home Video, and it’s teh absolute gem in my collection.  I’ve personally watched this copy at least 20 times over the years, both as a rental, and then after I bought it from the store when it closed…


So there you have it.  There are at least two more international copies of the film that I have yet to get my hands on, one from Turkey and another from South Korea.  If anyone out there has any connection that could help me get copies of those two I would be eternally grateful!

If you dug this tour of my pop culture shelfie and would like to see more posts in this vein, or if you want to join in on the fun, then here are some links to other sites participating this week as well as to Cool and Collected, who hosts the League…

Here’s the collection of Chris over at Stunt Zombie

The collection of Brother Midnight at Green Plastic Squirtgun is insane…

Linz over at Pop Rewind loves her some Terminator collectibles!

Cody at Copyright 1984 showcases a bunch of pictures of his rad collection…

And finally Brian over at Cool and Collected short a great video of his Batman shelf…

Exclusivity Vs. Fandom, or Why it Sucks to be a Collector These Days *UPDATED*

I’ve mentioned this in the past, but it bears repeating, I don’t like being negative here at Branded in the 80s.  First and foremost this site is about celebrating the nostalgia of the 80s and all of the cool stuff that goes along with loving that decade.  But I’m human and just like everyone else there is some stuff that just really grinds my gears.  Typically when there’s something that really gets on my nerves I’ll force my better half to listen to me gripe about it for a few days, then I’ll focus on something positive and just get over it.  But every once in awhile I just want to get all my thoughts out on paper (so to speak) and process the negativity in a slightly more productive manner.  Can I get a decent article or editorial out of it?  Well, let’s see.

This past week one of my favorite movies of all time, the Monster Squad, was suddenly trending in the news due to the announcement that Mondo would be releasing the film’s soundtrack on vinyl this October.  To get people excited for that release the company decided to also release a vinyl single this May featuring the two pop songs from the film, Michael Sembello’s “Rock Until You Drop” and the end credits “Monster Squad Rap”.  Frankly, this is outstanding news as I’ve been dying for the soundtrack and score on vinyl for years.  La-La Land Records had just recently released the Bruce Broughton score on CD (and it sounds amazing), but I was really hoping for a nice piece of artistic vinyl, something that I could put out and display.


So, considering this awesome news, why am I so bummed?  Well, the Mondo single release is going to be made available in four variant editions, each featuring beautiful sleeve artwork by some really swell artists and different colored vinyl pressings.  The releases include artwork by Gary Pullin, Randy Ortiz, Jason Edmiston, and the folks at Phantom City Creative (the latter two I featured during my Month of the Monster Squad a couple years ago.)  Here’s a look at the four release variants…

Dracula cover with art by Phantom City Creative

Dracula cover with art by Phantom City Creative

Wolfman cover with art by Gary Pullin

Wolfman cover with art by Gary Pullin

Frankenstein cover with art by Jason Edmiston

Frankenstein cover with art by Jason Edmiston

Gillman cover with art by Randy Ortiz

Gillman cover with art by Randy Ortiz

Alright, amazing cover at and super cool colored vinyl, so far so good.  While I’m not crazy about variants and the thought of paying for the same two songs four times, that’s totally something I’m willing to do as a huge fan of the Monster Squad.  So what’s my problem?  Well, two of these variants are going to be exclusives.  Actually technically three of these are exclusives, I just happen to live in an area where one of them will be readily available.  The Gary Pullin Wolfman variant will be exclusively available at Texas Frightmare starting this weekend and the Ortiz Gillman edition will only be available in record stores in the UK in May.  The Edmiston Frankenstein edition is going to be exclusively sold in record stores in the US in May, and the PCC Dracula version will be sold online at the Mondo site also starting in May.  So, for Monster Squad fans like me living outside of Texas in the US the Wolfman and Gillman editions are going to be a bit tricky to get our hands on.

Though record stores in the UK will be offering copies of the Gillman pressing for sale online (for instance Transmission Records and Norman Records), I’ve been hearing that they will be refusing or refunding orders coming in from the US to keep the European exclusivity intact.  This is frankly (excuse my french), frustrating as shit.  On the one hand I applaud the convictions of these record store owners for sticking to their guns, but on the other I just want to give them my money in return for a product they are selling that I really want to buy.  Similarly, with the Pullin variant, from what I understand you have to attend Texas Frightmare in order to get a copy.  So, I live roughly 1,400 miles from Dallas, TX and had pretty much zero chance of making it out to the show this weekend.  If I want to snag a copy of that disc I have to crowd-source my shopping list and hope that I’ve made a contact on one of the social media channels I frequent who might be going to the show.  I also have to hope that they don’t mind standing in line for me, hauling the record around all day, and then taking the time to ship it to me after the show.  I’ve met a bunch of super gracious folks who have done similar “muleing” for me in the past, but I hate asking this of people every time there’s some exclusive I want at a show I just can’t get to.

Exclusivity.  I’ll be honest, the whole concept just baffles and enrages me.  It’s not that I feel a sense of entitlement or that I should be able to get everything that I want.  Trust me, I learned at a very early age that not only do we not typically get what we want, but that it’s probably better for our moral character that we don’t.  If these records were simply limited editions (which they are, on top of being regionally exclusive), and they all sold out in a matter of minutes I could deal with that.  But being denied even the chance at getting them based purely on my geographic location is like kicking a wolfman in the nards when he’s down.

Hell, I’ve even been on the lucky end of this stick in the past having easy access to exclusives (like the Halloween Hot Wheels Ghostbusters Ecto-1 variants at my at-the-time local Kroger grocery stores) and I’ll be honest, it didn’t feel that great.  Being a collector I was acutely aware that there were a ton of people in other states that wanted those exclusives that didn’t have access to them.  I had to make the tough choice one year of either leaving these Hot Wheel toys on the store shelves, or buying them all up and sending them out to friends in other states for cost.  Sure, I got to feel good about making sure collectors that wanted the cars got them at an affordable price, but I also was put in the position of a scalper, keeping other local folks from being able to buy them. It just felt crummy all around.

Bottom line.  I’m a super fan of a cult film who already feels a little marginalized because there isn’t a whole of collectible merchandise available for said film.  I’m already scouring the internet for rare items to celebrate my love for the Monster Squad (from Japanese movie pamphlets to rare publicity photos from the film’s premier.)  So now, on top of that I have to basically be denied access to cool new collectibles, or choose to pay ridiculously inflated prices on eBay for those collectibles from the scalpers that will inevitably flood the market days after the release.  That is the environment that exclusivity breeds.  These records that sell for £12 at the UK shops will be bought up by bottom feeding scalpers that will turn around and sell them for upwards of £40 to £50 on eBay or the Amazon Marketplace.  The sad fact is that this is a trend that I do not see ending anytime soon.  The companies that release these exclusives are getting exactly what they want (which is selling through all of their product in a short window of time), so why would they change to a more fan-friendly model?


So, just as I figured two things happened.  First, the Wolfman Texas Frightmare variant was next to impossible to get for all the reasons stated above.  Not only was I unable to source a copy from the show by reaching out on social media, but the leftover copies were put online at Mondo and sold out in a few minutes.  I’m not saying I have a huge reach on social media mind you, but I have a decent number of contacts and I even had both the cover artist, Gary Pullin, and Andre Gower from Monster Squad retweeting my call for help to no avail.  Second, checking eBay only a week after these records started going on sale and we can already see scalpers reselling these Monster Squad releases for two to five times their suggested retail price!


This is after just one week!  When folks start getting these records in hand I can almost guarantee that the Wolfman, Gillman, and Frankenstein variants are going to be selling for upwards of $100.  In fact…

IMG_5740     IMG_5742

For a two-song, 7-inch single.  I’ve heard arguments for both sides of this exclusivity game, and both have their merits, but I just can’t believe that this is the best way to go about marketing niche products aimed at fans, to fans.  Again, I am a huge Monster Squad fan who is willing to drop the $60 plus shipping for the four variants, and yet, with cash in hand I am barred access from the get-go.  I mean, I’m looking at the list of things required to pick up a release like this (money, awareness of the releases, checking availability the moment they go on sale, connections in areas where the exclusive releases are going on sale, etc.) and I check every box.  Well, every box except the one that reads: “Willing to pay upwards of 700% the price to douchebags who want to price gouge because the item is exclusive.”  Screw that check box.  Like I said, these days it really sucks to be a collector.

What about you, where do you stand on exclusivity?  Is there something awesome about this marketing concept that I’m missing?

Promotional Squad: The Monster Squad Press Kit and Promo Photos

10710926_10152738966882328_5146327273773526587_nToday I present the Monster Squad promotional ephemera that I have in my collection which is mainly culled from magazines and the official press kit released in 1987.  Enjoy!

Monster Squad Logo with Kids

FYI, the black and white photos at the bottom were all included in the press kit for the film, along with a pamphlet that details the plot highlights, actors and crew from the film.  The blue folder is the “kit” all of it was packed in.  There are a couple of variations of the images on the top row as well, specifically the image of Dracula, the Mummy and the Wolfman on the right which appeared in two different sets of lobby cards as well as used in magazine articles at the time.  Similarly, the image with the complete roster of monsters and Sean (Andre Gower) in the foreground has a variation that ended up as a tie-in Adidas shoe poster that I shared earlier…

Now on to today’s trading card…

Monster Squad Wrapper

Since there was never any MS merchandise produced, specifically a Topps trading card set, I thought it would be fun to make a mini set of 80s-style digital trading cards for my favorite movie of all time. So come back each evening for Trick or Treats and collect them all!

Today’s card is #12, The Gang’s All Here!

12 Gangs All Here F-B


The stars came out for the Monster Squad Premiere…

10710926_10152738966882328_5146327273773526587_nThere are conflicting dates recorded for when The Monster Squad had it’s official movie premiere party, at least if you go by the dates associated with celebrity sitings at the event (I’ve seen June 3rd and August 11th, 1987 as potential dates.)  But I do know that it was held at the Hard Rock in Hollywood and there was an interesting mix of A-B list celebrities that came out for the flick.  Though normally I wouldn’t find this terribly interesting, it’s kind of neat that the production brought out actors to portray the monsters in costume for the event and I believe they ended up using the Stan Winston suits and appliances for at least the Gillman, Wolfman, and Mummy, and I think Frankenstein’s Monster as well.

So, who showed up for the event?  Michael Douglas for one…

Michael Douglas 8-11-87

Also, Arnold-freaking-Schwarzenegger!

Arnold Schwarzenegger 8-11-87 2

Arnold Schwarzenegger 8-11-87 1

I’m not sure but based on these two photos it looks like there were either a couple of different stand-ins for Duncan Regehr playing the part of Dracula (both of which look like Joe Flaherty’s Count Floyd from SCTV)…

Count-Floyd…it’s either that or maybe there were two premiere parties for the movie.  One of my favorite celebrity sitings at the party is none other than Kiefer Sutherland who was hot off the release of The Lost Boys.  I love the idea of him hitting up other horror flicks at the time, specifically this film…

Premiere of "Monster Squad"

“Look out David, there’s a Wolfman behind you!”

Premiere of "Monster Squad"

Now I kinda want to see a battle between the Lost Boys vampires and the monsters from the Monster Squad, but I am way too old to be writing fanfic.  I’ll just leave that one in my head…

This next set of pictures I have features Michelle Phillips from the band The Mamas & The Papas who had a run in with the Gillman, which make for some really neat photos.  The keen observer will notice Jason Hervey (EJ in the film) in the background too!

Actress and Singer Michelle Phillips Attends Movie Premiere

Next, here’s a picture of Andre Gower attending the premiere in his rad Stephen King shirt and Crew jacket…

Andre Gower In MS Wardrobe and Crew Jacket 1987

I also have this super rad clipping from the August 1987 issue of Teen Set magazine featuring Gower, Drew Barrymore, Kirk Cameron, Jason Lively (from Night of the Creeps), and director Fred Dekker!

Teen Set Clipping August 1987

Lastly, here’s another picture of Fred Dekker (with his family), which is one of the few shots of him I was able to find from the time in and around the making of The Monster Squad

Fred Dekker 8-11-87

So, based on Dekker’s outfits being different in the two photos I think this points to the fact that there were at least two premiere screenings events for the flick.

Other guests that attended that night included Billy Crystal, Meatloaf, and Regis Philbn and family.  Unfortunately there are no photos of them being accosted by monsters (damn!) Star Studded indeed…

So without further to do, here’s today’s trading card!

Monster Squad Wrapper

Today’s card is #8, Dracula!

8 Dracula F-B


Interview with Monster Squad poster artist Craig Nelson!

10710926_10152738966882328_5146327273773526587_nSo I had the opportunity and pleasure to sit down and have a chat with the really cool and gracious artist who painted the original Monster Squad US poster, Mr. Craig Nelson.  Craig has work has been inspiring me for the past three decades and it was a real treat to get a chance to pick his brain about working in the commercial art field as well as listening to him reminisce about his Monster Squad memories.  He has a really wonderful eye for light and shadow and has a very unique perspective on fine art.  Check out his website to see a ton of examples of his work, and hit him up on facebook and tell him Branded sent ya!  You can also see his work at the Ella Richardson Gallery, the Garden Gallery, and my personal favorite exhibition at the Waterhouse Gallery where you can see his works detailing vineyard workers that we discuss in the interview.

Craig Nelson Interview art

You can either click on the picture above, or click here to stream (or right click and select download to listen at your leisure.)

Now for today’s trading card!

Monster Squad Wrapper

Today’s card is #13, The Monster Squad!

13 Monster Squad F-B

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Monster Squad Art by Sara Turner!

10710926_10152738966882328_5146327273773526587_nToday is an extra special MS Fan Art day.  Last month I highlighted the work of Brian and Sara Turner of Cricket Press, and today I wanted to take a moment and share some of Sara’s rad Monster Squad related artwork.  I know Sara is as big a fan of this flick as me and I love the pieces she’s illustrated.  Please check out the Cricket Press blog and store, there is so much great artwork there!

So, a few years ago Sara and a bunch of her artist friends worked on a short-lived site for selling their daily warm up sketches and inks.  I loved this series she did of Monster Squad portraits for that project…

Just recently she revisted that concept and expanded it to feature all of the monsters and the Squad as part of a Portrait-a-Day sketch card project that she collected into a very neat mini art book!



You can find the book at the Cricket Press etsy shop


By far though, my absolute favorite piece of Monster Squad artwork that Sara has produced is this amazing illustration and screenprint of the MS clubhouse…


What’s even cooler than that?  Well that a copy of this got into director Fred Dekker’s hands!

tumblr_lpn1e51H5A1qfnw74o1_500That’s pretty damn bad ass Sara!

And today’s card is…

Monster Squad Wrapper

Since there was never any MS merchandise produced, specifically a Topps trading card set, I thought it would be fun to make a mini set of 80s-style digital trading cards for my favorite movie of all time. So come back each evening for Trick or Treats and collect them all!

Today’s card is #22, BO-GUS!

22 Bogus F-B
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Monster Squad in Print, part 2…

10710926_10152738966882328_5146327273773526587_nEarlier in the month I shared a series of Monster Squad articles and interviews that appeared in the pages of Fangoria and Starlog magazine back in 1987, and as an addendum to that post I wanted to share a couple more vintage magazine articles that debuted after the film had already been released in the US.  As much as I love reading “lead-up” articles and interviews it next to impossible to avoid that pervasive sense of optimism and awe that comes with what basically amounts to PR and publicity (both from the perspective of the interviewer and interviewee. ” Of course <insert current film> is the best work I’ve <insert director> ever done.”  “Of course I loved ever second working with the actors, studio, marketing department, etc, etc, etc…”  It’s the nature of the game.

The best thoughts on a film come later, after it’s been digested by the audience and there is some distance to reflect and see how things fit into the bigger picture.  Unfortunately it’s rare that we get to see articles written from this perspective that aren’t 20 or 30 years or more out from the events; we hardly ever get articles written a year or two later that reflect on the success or failure, and if we do it’s usually only a postscript to the artist’s newest work.  That’s why this Starburst Magazine article from volume 10, issue 12 published in 1988 is fascinating.  Though the article is written to support the ’88 release of the film in the UK and Europe, Dekker has already felt the brunt of the US box office failure and is living in that moment of clarity with some distance and lessons learned.  It doesn’t hurt that the magazine is mainly a UK publication because that probably freed him up a bit to air some grievances…

Starburst Magazine Issue Vol 10 Issue 12 1

I also included a review there at the end that was originally published in Starburst Magazine vol. 10, issue 10 that is way more favorable than the critical reviews in the US.

I thought I’d also take a moment to share the cover article from Scary Monsters Magazine, issue 2 which was still being printed as a zine back in 1992.  There’s not a lot to the article except some straight forward clinical listing of plot and who the cast and crew are, but it’s still a fun bit of Monster Squad ephemera…


The only other 80s era magazine that I am aware of that definitely had a Monster Squad article was issue 10 of Samhian (again, I think this was out of the UK), but I have yet to snag a copy for my collection.  Are there any other articles from the 80s that you folks are aware of?

Samhain Issue 10

Now for today’s trading card…

Monster Squad Wrapper

Since there was never any MS merchandise produced, specifically a Topps trading card set, I thought it would be fun to make a mini set of 80s-style digital trading cards for my favorite movie of all time. So come back each evening for Trick or Treats and collect them all!

Today’s card is #5, Phoebe “The Pheb” Crenshaw!

5 Phoebe Crenshaw F-B

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Monster Squad Art, Part 6!

10710926_10152738966882328_5146327273773526587_nFor part 6 of the Monster Squad art showcase I thought it would be fun to share a couple of different takes on iconic aspects of the film.  First up is this awesome 8-bit inspired painting by Jude Buffum that showcases everyone’s favorite nard kicking moment…


To play off the fun 8-Bit NES style of Jude’s painting above is this fun mock-up of what a Monster Squad NES game would should have looked like by the swell purveyor of Culturally Significant.com, M.E. Strange!  Check him out for the awesome month of Ghostbusters throughout October!


Next up is this really neat reimagining of the original Craig Nelson poster that has since become the official DVD cover art of the current Olive Films release of The Monster Squad on DVD by Corlen Kruger

Corlen Kruger

Monster Squad Wrapper

Today’s card is #29, “Bang.”

29 Bang F-B

countdown button 200 2014 Rozum

The 5 Monster Sickness…

10710926_10152738966882328_5146327273773526587_nNot long after I left the theater when I caught my first screening of The Monster Squad the film began to worm its way into my psyche in some strange ways.  One of the most notable is in how I choose to collect certain things, specifically monster memorabilia.  Since 1987 I’ve become a huge fan of the original Universal Horror films and own practically all of them on DVD and love finding variations of the monsters in any form of be it toys, soda cans, ephemera, or what ever.  But when I collect it’s hard not to try and put together a set of the monster rogues gallery from The Monster Squad.  I partially blame the iconic Mount Rushmore of monsters painting that Craig Nelson did (which you can see in this month’s Branded Halloween banner), but honestly no collection of any one iteration of monsters is “complete” for me unless at least the five main characters are there.  It’s a sickness really, but still I embrace it.  Here’s a sample of some of the toys in my collection that reflect this…


When Lego started issuing their blind bag minifigs a few years ago I was super stoked to see them including some classic monster figures.  Not only was it cool to see my favorite genre represented, but as the sets progressed there were more and more popping up and my secret wish of having a set of Monster Squad Lego was coming to fruition.  Of course, for a while there were only four of the five monsters I wanted available.  Like in most monster toy sets the Gillman was noticeably absent and just to make myself feel a little better I ended up sticking in a weird mutant fish creature Lego from the Atlantis set to fill that hole.  Then three years ago the collection was finally “officially” completed when Lego began releasing their Monster Fighters sets and one of the first to hit toy shelves was a small Gillman play set.


Though I completely missed out on Monster In My Pocket figures the first time back in 1990 (and the M.U.S.C.L.E. figure craze that spawned MiMP), I have since been scouring junk bins and yard sales looking for a handful of figures that would represent The Monster Squad for me.  For years I was short one minifig, the Wolfman/werewolf, but I lucked out recently and the super gracious and badass Stacey Rader happened to have an extra in her collection and she helped my monster team feel complete!

Though the above sets are pretty darn awesome, there are a number of collections that I have that are still short one monster, but I’m always holding out hope that I’ll one day be able to fill in the gap.  Like I mentioned it’s almost always a variation on the Creature From the Black Lagoon Gillman, and sometimes I find a fun way to find a substitute for him like in this set of monster Smurfs that were issued five or six years ago…


Around 7 or 8 years ago there were a series of Universal knock-off toys that were popping up at dollar stores around the country that I fell in love with.  Again though, no Gillman…


Like I mentioned above, my collecting isn’t just limited to toys, for a number of years I was also collecting monster themed soda cans and for the past 6 years or so the 7-Up company has been putting out a set of monster mini-cans for Halloween.  But who was always absent?  Yup, the Gillman…



After years of collecting, dusting old cans and worrying that one day I’d find a pool of soda all over my shelves when one of the cans sprung a leak (as my friend Paxton has said, it’s not if, buy when), I finally decided to take a bunch of pictures and then empty and chuck the cans.  Of course the very next Halloween we finally get a Gillman can…


This also effects some of the ephemera in my collection. I love trading cards and stickers, and “the sickness” has invaded these collections too, like these Universal Monster trading cards that were issued in a six card packs by Impel in 1991. I stumbled upon these in an antique store last year and loved that I had an “instant” Monster Squad Monster collection…


Sure, The Bide is butting in on the Frankenstein’s Monster cards, but it’s close enough. I also have a set of the ’91 Pepsi monster cards…


Man, the monster push in 1991 by Universal was awesome and I wish they’d do that again during another Halloween soon.

Last but not least on the trading card front is this collection of some of my favorite Garbage Pail Kids stickers. Of course there isn’t a Gillman GPK, so I had to improvise…


These collections were also a bit of the inspiration that drove me to making my own set of Monster Squad Topps-style trading cards for this year’s Countdown, and by the end of this month everyone will be able to have a digital set of those monster cards!

Speaking of stickers, I’m also always on the lookout for some neat monster stickers, especially if all five of my favorites are represented. The really swell artist Sabrina Parolin illustrated and printed up these swell Monster Squad stickers a few years ago…


Like I said, this weird collecting is a monster sickness, a Five Monster sickness…

Now, onto today’s trading card…

Monster Squad Wrapper

Since there was never any MS merchandise produced, specifically a Topps trading card set, I thought it would be fun to make a mini set of 80s-style digital trading cards for my favorite movie of all time. So come back each evening for Trick or Treats and collect them all!

Today’s card is #4, Patrick Rhodes!

4 Patrick Rhodes F-B