For the longest time it seemed like I was the only person who even knew that The Monster Squad existed. After moving away from Florida during the winter of 1990 it seemed like I left behind everything I thought I knew and moved to a snowy wilderness where none of the other kids wore T&C Thrilla Gorilla shirts or obnoxiously colored surf shorts, nobody seemed to have a skateboard, and no one I met had heard of The Monster Squad. New Hampshire felt like a completely different planet as a preteen who had spent the last 11 years growing up in sunny Tampa and Orlando. During this period of change my mother and I developed some strange habits to try and stay connected to the world we left behind. We had these daily ritual movie-watching sessions where we’d watch and rewatch the same handful of movies to a point where we knew every line of dialogue by heart and the tapes started to deteriorate. VHS ownership was still an expensive hobby in 1990 as it was still in the middle of the initial boom and many catalog titles were only being manufactured for sale to video rental stores at exorbitant prices. We had a handful of movies we’d taped off of HBO including a copy of Willow that I know for a fact was played over three hundred times during that year or so where we felt like we were in limbo. And regular trips to the video rental shop were as important as eating or breathing.
I subsisted on a steady diet of about six VHS tapes that I watched to death, copies of Robocop and the first Tim Burton Batman flick that we owned, that beat up, taped copy of Willow, and rental copies of Rad, Red Dawn and The Monster Squad. It was around this time that I developed a desire to own copies of the movies that I loved. As I mentioned, buying copies of a lot of films was cost prohibitive as you had to purchase them through video store distributors and a single movie carried a price tag anywhere between $79.95 to well over $100. For a thirteen year-old kid that seemed like an impossible dream. When I could I’d tape movies off of HBO, which wasn’t perfect, but with recording in EXP mode and cramming three full movies on a single tape, the $5.99 per blank tape cost was much more in the realm of my budget. Even so, I never managed to record The Monster Squad on TV, so it became the first hole in my collection, the movie I was constantly on the lookout for.
I would have battled the vampire in the above VHS trade advertisement for a chance to own the flick. Also, on a side note, I think it’s kind of funny just how much of the Monster Squad marketing riffed off of Ghostbusters, specifically in the ad above. I guess the copy writers were trying their best to align it with the gold standard of horror comedies at the time. “The Monster Squad ain’t afraid of no Ghouls!” indeed.
Getting back to my collecting woes, I wouldn’t own a copy of the film until a couple years after I graduated from high school. In and around 1998 there was a rental store called Home Video in my neck of the woods that was beginning to thin out some of its stock to start making room for DVD rentals. I had a full time job and was buying up VHS tapes left and right. Though I had a pretty sizable collection (around 250 tapes at that point, which was a lot for the time) I still had yet to find a copy of The Monster Squad and by this time Vestron was no longer distributing the flick (if they were even still in business at all) so I was always on the hunt for video stores that were selling off their tapes. So when I walked in and saw their clearance shelves I immediately started scanning the racks. Right there in the middle of the second row was a copy of the movie complete with a faded cover from being in line of the direct sun for years on end, but I had to have it. The store was asking for $30, which was still a pretty hefty price tag for me, but I plunked down a twenty and a ten and walked out with mt prize.
I watched the ever living hell out of this copy of The Monster Squad, well over 200 times between 1998 and 2007 when the flick was finally released on DVD. It’s still the gem in my movie collection even though I haven’t owned a VCR in almost a decade, and I can’t imagine ever parting with it. Since this was released I’ve picked up the DVD, a copy of the laserdisc, and now the Blu-Ray. I’m sure I’ll buy a copy when it’s released on a holocube or whatever the hell the next format is. Some people continuously buy copies of Star Wars over and over, but for me, it’s The Monster Squad.
Alright, now for today’s Monster Squad trading card!
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 day for Trick or Treats and collect them all!
Today’s card is # 1, Sean Crenshaw!