Last week I was very lucky to get to see on the big screen one of my all time favorite movies and a huge influence on my writing--The Monster Squad. As part of Beyond Fest there was a special screening with some of the cast and crew. It was also a double feature. After the main picture we were treated to the west-coast premiere of the documentary about The Monster Squad--Wolfman's Got Nards.
But saying it's ABOUT the movie isn't true...it's about more than the movie, it's about the movie's influence. And not just on the people who made the movie happen both in front of or behind the scenes, but about the people who watched it. People who found this movie that hardly anyone saw in the theater (I saw it!) and made it such a part of themselves and their lives that it's something truly unique. I don't think there's any other fandom quite like it.
Loving the Squad was like a club that you might be the only member of or you might have a chapter that was 10 of your closest friends. Somehow you found yourself there along with Phoebe and Sean and Scary German Guy and Fatkid... HIS NAME IS HORACE! You could see yourself in them. Goonies is special but those kids never felt lived-in. The Monster Squad...they were us, flaws and all.
Back when the movie came out on DVD, I was living in a room in a house in East Hollywood (coincidentally the same room St. Elmos Fire was written in) but wanted to celebrate this momentous occasion. I talked my friend Paul, who had an actual apartment, into letting me host a DVD watch party at his place. I bought tons of food and sodas and....no one came.
Not exactly true, one of my roommates came and brought her boyfriend which was very nice but essentially NO ONE CAME! I thought everybody knew and loved this movie... They didn't.
I was a club of one here in LA and that was weird! I had never NOT had a gaggle of friends who knew and loved the movie. Kids and then teens and then awful twenty yearolds who couldn't just bust out a line like "I'm in the goddamn club aren't I?" or randomly use the ultimate of ultimates "Wolfman's got nards!" and get a knowing laugh or chuckle.
Now, a very long time later (12 years? Geeezus) I'm there at the Egyptian with literally a sold out crowd of members of this club, this squad, and it was amazing.
You can actually see me in this photo here from thesquaddoc instagram (I'm in the middle toward the bottom)
I think the most important part of this night and the documentary itself was that the director and co-writer Fred Dekker was there to watch it and watch us watch it. In the documentary he talks about how his relationship with the movie is difficult. It flopped and hurt his career and hearing that it is now beloved and had such an impact on people is kind of bittersweet. To paraphrase what he says in the doc "It's like trying to shoot a basket and then 30 years later it goes in."
I know I wouldn't have done a lot of the things I've done if it weren't for The Monster Squad...Greg Smith and I write a comic about kids fighting monsters... I mean, come on, it's a part of us.
All I can say is...Thanks.
Thanks to Andre Gower and Henry Darrow McComas for making this documentary and thanks to Fred Dekker and Shane Black for writing and making something so special so long ago.
Now, we're all in the goddanm club aren't we?