I’ve written in great length about director Fred Dekker’s “The Monster Squad” over and over. I love it. I’ve loved it since I was a kid, and I love it now. I wore out the VHS when I was a wee lad, I had a bootleg DVD in my collection when it was out of print for many years, and ever since I love to re-visit it whenever I can. “The Monster Squad” is a drastic departure from director Fred Dekker’s other cult classic “Night of the Creeps,” but like it, “The Monster Squad” is an unabashed love letter to horror movies, and the horror genre in general.
It’s interesting that Jimmy Huston’s horror comedy has managed to rise above the rest of the teen horror comedies over the years. Even something like “Once Bitten” which had a young Jim Carrey, isn’t nearly as popular as “My Best Friend is a Vampire.” Despite being insanely silly, and features one of the most lackluster romantic interests of the eighties, “My Best Friend is a Vampire” (aka “I Was a Teenage Vampire”) has survived mainly for its very vocal LGBTQ overtones, and a soundtrack that’s better than it has any right to be.
“Teen Witch” came in to existence from a studio’s desires to create a “Teen” monster franchise. “Teen Wolf” would give way to “Teen Witch,” and there was supposed to be “Teen Vampire.” Director Samuel Bradford’s super low budget “Teen Vamp” seems to aim to unofficially complete the trinity amounting to a bizarre eighties teen horror series. Although, you could ague “Love at First Bite,” “The Vampire’s Kiss,” and or “Vamp” completed the trilogy; I’d be more hard pressed to argue that “My Best Friend is a Vampire” feels so much more like a natural end to the desired gimmick. “Teen Vamp” is best left in the heap of obscure eighties video store shelf warmers.
It’s surprising that “The Halloween that Almost Wasn’t” has managed to become something of a mini-cult classic over the years. It was a TV movie that was almost lost to time, and once reclaimed, has survived thanks to nostalgia. The TV movie was much before my time, so I don’t have any real sentimentality directed toward it. In either case, ”The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t” isn’t the best Halloween special, but it has its heart in the right place, even through the cheesy final scene.
“The Legend of the Vampire” is a bittersweet occasion. As it is one of the many, many “Scooby Doo” animated movies, it is also apparently the first Scooby-Doo movie to feature Casey Kasem, Heather North, Nicole Jaffe and Frank Welker together since 1973. The gang are back together to bring what is a pretty strong and fun mixing of the usual Mystery Inc. exploits and some great rock and roll music. Once again, we see the appearance of The Hex Girls who should, by all rights, have their own animated spin off by now. Ah well, a man can dream.
It’s pretty good to see at least one studio investing in transforming vampires in to relentless monsters once again after so many years where vampires have been watered down and overly fetishized. The vampires in André Øvredal’s interpretation of “The Last Voyage of The Demeter” as well as—well—Dracula in general, are not empathetic, alluring figures. They’re blank, cold and vicious monsters controlled by Dracula who is reduced to his most primal state for this re-visiting of one of the most haunting chapters in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
It’s a damn shame that Universal just didn’t have enough confidence in Gary Shore’s treatment of Dracula to warrant it a follow up. “Dracula Untold” is a good enough movie all on its own, but it was also teeming with so much potential for a larger scale sequel that reversed all roles. Where as Dracula is the hero of “Untold” and Dominic Cooper the villain as Mehmed, the Turkish Sultan, it would have been fun to see the descendant of Mehmed, played by Cooper also, as now a law abiding police officer who engages in a new war with the modern version of Dracula. That’s just the writer in me building on head canon, but “Dracula Untold” is a very good interpretation of Bram Stoker’s novel.
Also known as “Dracula,” and “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” Dan Curtis, the creator of “Dark Shadows” adapts (I use the term loosely) the bare essentials of Bram Stoker’s iconic novel. I say “the bare essentials” because for a movie written by Richard Matheson, there isn’t much that the movie strives for beside delivering a Dracula movie and nothing else. There’s no re-interpretation, or any kind of drastic changes to the narrative, save for Jonathan Harker’s fate, which is quite gruesome.