There are a lot of top 10 Monster Squad trivia lists online so when I was prepping for the countdown this month I initially scratched that idea from the list of topics to cover. But the more I dug into the film and the more research I did I found some things that don’t seem to be making any of the lists. So today I’m gonna run down 10 fun bits of trivia for the flick.
1). The Gillman and (potentially) the Frankenstein’s Monster creature suits appear as part of Mel’s (Jon Lovtiz) nerdy pop culture collection in the 2006 film The Benchwarmers.
I love that the character has the Gillman propped up next to his entertainment center. I have no clue who made the decision to include this piece, but for those who are unfamiliar with the movie, the plot centers around a bunch of adults who were heavily bullied as kids finally getting some self respect by playing little league baseball against kids. Lovitz plays what equates to an adult version of Horace, so the idea of putting the creature in his collection is kind of genius. Similarly, Lovitz has no friends for the most part, so when I spied this Frankenstein’s Monster for a split second I have to assume it’s again a nod to Monster Squad and the fact that the monster is fully willing to look past all outer aspects to be friends with the Squad and that seems like something Mel would embrace.
Also, as an aside, Lovitz’s Mel also dresses up like Michael Knight and owns K.I.T.T. in the film. I only bring this up because the movie is pretty terrible and the scenes with K.I.T.T. are the best in the film and now that I’ve mentioned it I never have to talk about it on Branded ever again. Here’s the scene on youtube, do yourself a favor and watch it and skip the rest of the movie. You’re welcome.
2). When the Vampire Brides are stalking Sean, Eugene and Horace in the old creepy house their reflection can be seen in a mirror in the hallway.
Chalk this up as a goof, but considering the fact that the movie deals with monsters, and more specifically the rules surrounding their existence (like whether or not vampires can be seen in mirrors), it’s kind of a neat goof.
3). According to the script and a snippet in a Night of the Creeps article in Fangoria (issue 61) the movie takes place in the bayous of Baton Rouge, LA.
4). The film makes a fun reference to Todd Browning the director of the 1931 Dracula film.
It’s either that or a nod to Rico Browning the stuntman/actor inside the original Creature From the Black Lagoon suit during all the underwater segments in the ’54 film. Or both. Yeah, let’s go with both! Actually, in a deleted scene that’s available on the 20th anniversary DVD & Blu-Ray featuring Emily Crenshaw sitting in bed watching the news there are a lot more Universal Monster references. The three girls that are kidnapped and eventually turned into the Vampire brides attended St. Whale Academy (a reference to Frankenstein and Bride of director James Whale). It also mentioned that they were taken in the bayou country south of “Dwight Frye” (a reference to the actor who portrayed Fritz the hunchback in Frankenstein.)
5). Monster Squad was heralded in a scene in writer/director Fred Dekker’s previous film Night of the Creeps.
In a segment in one of the college bathrooms about halfway through the film the phrase “Go Monster Squad” is scrawled on a wall. Dekker already had the go-ahead to make the film while shooting Creeps and added it as a fun way to point to his next project.
Similarly, there’s a reference in Monster Squad to the film that Dekker wanted to make next, though it unfortunately didn’t come to pass. In Eugene’s bedroom Dekker has the production design team source and hang a poster for Jonny Quest, a dream project that he wanted to tackle.
But don’t just take my word for it…
6). There are two homages to E.T. and at least overt reference to the 1931 Frankenstein in the film.
In the segment when the kids are making friends with the Monster there’s a bit where they’re walking in almost silhouette away from the camera with the orange sun setting. This is paying homage to a similar shot in the Trick or Treating scene in E.T.
In both films the young girls dress up the fantastical friends in lady’s clothes.
The Frankenstein reference is more overt as Phoebe is a modern interpretation of Maria from the 1931 James Whale film, though Phoebe spins the original on it’s head in terms of friend-making outcomes…
7). The Gillman has an image of the original ’54 Creature from the Black Lagoon sculpted into the suit by artist Steve Wang.
Though it’s not clearly visible in the film, the homage/artistic flourish that Wang etched into the Gillman’s suit is located on one of the scales on the creature’s neck. Wang is on record saying that the original Creature is his favorite piece of monster special effects art, so it’s not surprising that he would give a tip of the hat to that incarnation in his own work. I pinpointed my guess as to which exact scale in the image above, the one in blue.
8). Dracula’s Hearse has teeth molded onto the grill!
This was a little but fun flourish that I didn’t take notice of until this past year, but I freaking love that detail…
9). In the script and in deleted scenes in the movie it’s evident that Emily Crenshaw is going to leave her husband Del.
Though they are fighting throughout the film and are evidently seeing a marriage counselor, it’s not really addressed just to what extent the mother is unhappy. This script was much more clear though, and in a number of deleted segments you can see the evidence, as well as in the scene where Del is running through the house at the end looking for Sean and Phoebe. You can clearly see Emily has packed her bags and planing the split.
10). In the script there is a small joke where the creature darts his tongue out and eats a fly. A special animatronic head was built by Stan Winston Studio to accommodate this shot.
So, how about a couple more bonus bits of trivia? The first is one that I think most folks already know?
11). When Rudy flashes the picture of Patrick’s Sister as blackmail, the photo he holds up is actually of actress Lisa Fuller, fully dressed and standing by a pool.
I fixed that for everyone…
And finally, with the addition of the original deleted opening sequence Dracula is staked or impaled three times during the film! Once by Van Helsing, once while landing on an iron fence spike after being bitch-slapped by Frankenstein’s Monster, and once by Sean. That might be a record number of times that a vampire was staked in a single film :p
Now it’s trading card time!
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 evening for Trick or Treats and collect them all!
Today’s card is #25, Sculpting the Gillman!