Monster Sketch Monday – The Gill-man from ‘The Monster Squad’

This one is courtesy of my brother Jeff, who pitched me a few ideas when my brain was not cooperating today!

Directed by Fred Dekker (Night of the Creeps) with a screenplay by Shane Black (Iron Man 3) The Monster Squad follows a group of typical 80’s kids as the try and prevent Dracula, The Wolfman, The Mummy, The Gill-man and Frankenstein’s Monster from plunging the world into eternal darkness. While you get familiar themes of acceptance, friendship, and coming-of-age/loss of innocence there’s not a lot of real depth here. The Monster Squad is mostly about having fun with some horror nostalgia and having the fat kid kick the Wolf Man in the nards.

While I love the entire roster of classic monsters on display in The Monster Squad, I have to admit that Stan Winston’s design for the Gill-man has always trumped the rest (sorry Frank). In fact, it rivals the original Creature from the Black Lagoon in coolness – though nostalgia will always lay a finger on that particular scale. The scaly creation was brought to life by Tom Woodruff Jr wearing the suit. Woodruff himself would go on to win an Oscar as a special effects artist on Death Becomes Her (he also worked on Alien 3, Starship Troopers and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom). I can’t help but think the man’s knowledge of the behind-the-scenes work involved helped make his performance so fun. (Not that the other monsters are slouches – Tom Noonan’s monster is great, and I really enjoy the Mummy design as well.)

The Monster Squad is a funhouse reflection of IT, a foul-mouthed 80’s latchkey kid that happens to share similar themes and settings as it’s bigger, darker brother. It’s not going to leave you with much emotional impact at the end (unless Frankenstein’s Monster hugging a teddy bear brings you to tears), but The Monster Squad is pure 80’s monster-fan fun with some of the best monster effects of the 80’s – hell, of any monster flick. It’ll always be the Gill-man that sticks out for me, though.

What about you? Is this your fave monster from the film, or is Frank the owner of your monster loving heart? (Or did you cringe for the poor Wolfman? Get a cup, dude.)

Author: Bob Cram

Would like to be mysterious but is instead, at best, slightly ambiguous.