This past Friday a super cool Branded in the 80s reader from Spain (Emilio D.) sent me a bunch of pictures of cool Spanish VHS and DVD releases of The Monster Squad in response to my Dead Media Library article showcasing a bunch of the home video releases of the film. Included in the batch of pictures was also an interesting Spanish newspaper advertisement from 1988 (that he found here) for the movie that was a little “mixed up”. I wanted to take a second and examine it for a bit because there’s some really fun aspects going on in this 26 year old piece of amazing ephemera…
So first and foremost, the Spanish title of the film is Una Pandilla Alucinante (also the title used in Latin America), which roughly translates to An Amazing Gang (squad is Escuadrón, which we’ll see in some other posters later in the week by the way.) Right off the bat (pun fully intended) Monster Squad super fans will notice the font in the title is the same for the North American release, but if you scroll down to the bottom you can also see the credits are clearly in English (well, mostly) and are for MS.
Now, the artwork. So, that’s clearly a painting of Vincent Price on the left there, and as any fans of his later work will know this artwork comes from the poster for his 1981 anthology horror comedy The Monster Club (directed by Roy Ward Baker and also starring John Carridine and Donald Pleasence.)
So, weighing this, The Monster Squad/The Monster Club, I can see how this goof up happened, especially when you consider it was in another country where they might not be as versed in our films, etc. In fact, for years before Monster Squad was available to purchase to the public on VHS (or more importantly DVD) my mom would always try and hunt it down for me as a birthday gift. Being on top of the scuttlebutt of the film’s release I would always tell her not to bother, that it wasn’t available, but she was adamant and would call every Suncoast, Best Buy and Media Play in town and try and order me a copy. Of course she wasn’t quite sure what it was she wanted, so aside from being super caring and sweet she would always inadvertently order copies of The Monster Club (or Little Monsters on occasion) as it was all these folks could order from their distributors! So I kind of have a strange affinity for this foreign newspaper editorial mix up!
But wait, look more closely at the ad, because this is just where it starts getting interesting (I say realizing that I’m quite possibly the only one who actually finds this interesting…)
Is that Herman Munster off to the right?!? Why yes, yes it is! He is very obviously missing from the original Monster Club artwork. Now aside from it being a cool little addition (I do so love that TV series), it kind of becomes clear that the reason he was added into the art is so that all five Monster Squad monsters are present and accounted for! So this wasn’t actually a mix up per se, but intentional. Weird.
But wait, there’s more changes. The Mummy and the Creature? Though they look really neat, they were also NOT in the original artwork!
There was a weird four-eyed beast, and, well, I think that might actually be a Frankenstein-esque monster that they changed into a mummy. My head is spinning. At this point I’m wondering what actually happened that lead them down this convoluted path to get to the final advertisement?!? Why didn’t they just use the Craig Nelson artwork like 90% of the other countries in the world? So. Weird.
Then there is the tagline/artwork text which reads…
El Conde Dracula
El Hombre Lobo
Nos visitan juntos por primere vez.
Which roughly translates to: Count Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolfman, The Mummy… Visit us for the first time. The Creature (or Gillman) totally gets the shaft.
Well, there you have it. This is the kind of stuff that both excites me and makes me wonder if I chose the wrong career path in life. How can I make a living out of staring at 30 year-old ephemera to figure out mysteries that absolutely no one on Earth cares about? My name is Robare, Shawn Robare Ephemera Detective…
Well, now for today’s trading card…
Today’s card is #3, My name…IS HORACE!