Director: Fred Dekker
Stars: Andre Gower, Stephen Macht, Leonardo Cimino, Robby Kiger, Brent Chalem, Ryan Lambert, Duncan Regehr, Tom Noonan, Jonathan Gries, Michael Faustino

If you were born after, say, 1975, Richard Donner’s 1985 youth classic The Goonies is basically a rite of passage; tell someone that you’ve never seen Chunk and his friends’ treasure-guided misadventures and you’re likely to see a screw-face. The downside to The Goonies, however, at least to those of us who live and breathe horror, is that its longstanding ubiquity has always overshadowed its greatest imitator: Fred Dekker’s 1987 Universal-monster-inspired blast The Monster Squad.

Many people know The Monster Squad as the flick that gave the world the witty piece of dialogue, “Wolfman’s got nards!” And that’s a great reputation to have, no doubt, but Dekker’s film is so much more than that. Aside from the kids themselves, who never veer into obnoxious or unbearable terrain, The Monster Squad’s best attribute is its stone-faced horror; whenever Dracula, the Wolfman, the Mummy, or Gil-Man (an obvious ripoff of The Creature from the Black Lagoon) enter the frame, the film plays its scariness totally straight, and it’s often legitimately disturbing for it.

Again, though, you’ve also got kids calling a mummy “bandy breath,” and a good-guy Frankenstein saying, “Bogus!” You don’t need to be in junior high school to get the jokes here.