Picks and Pans Review: The Monster Squad

updated 09/07/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/07/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Writer Shane (Lethal Weapon) Black and first-time director Fred Dekker threw in everything from the eye of a newt to the tongue of a dog in this genre send-up, but they doubled, bubbled, toiled and troubled for naught. The horror scenes suffer because there's no believability to the movie: The monsters-Count Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolfman, the Mummy and the Creature from the Black Lagoon—even seem more natural than the plastic human characters and the setting. And the comic relief isn't funny if there's no tension to relieve. The title refers to a bunch of 12-year-olds, headed by Andre (Summer Heat) Gower, who are fascinated by monsters. Coincidentally there is an amulet in their small town that if destroyed will allow the forces of evil to rule. It can only be destroyed on a certain night, under a full moon, every 100 years. And guess what? Tonight's the night. There are some nice touches, such as Dracula's scepter, which has a built-in lightning rod that he uses to jump start Frankenstein. And children may enjoy the visual effects and the convincing monster makeup. But any kid over the age of reason—7 or 8, these days—will watch the nifty opening sequence at their local cineplex, then pop next door to see the similar but much better scary comedy, The Lost Boys. (PG-13)

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