What is a Cult Movie? It seems that everyone, from your average moviegoer to a film scholar have their own interpretation, but the general concusses would be a widely popular movie that was not a financial success.
Cult films are known for their dedicated, passionate fanbase which forms an elaborate subculture, members of which engage in repeated viewings, dialogue-quoting, and audience participation. Inclusive definitions allow for major studio productions, especially box office bombs, while exclusive definitions focus more on obscure, transgressive films shunned by the mainstream. The difficulty in defining the term and subjectivity of what qualifies as a cult film mirror classificatory disputes about art.'
A CULT movie is a film that is appreciated in a way that people don't necessarily predict - FRED DEKKER
THE MONSTER SQUAD, which plays out like The Goonies Meets Universal Monsters is one of my (many) favourite movies from childhood. I can't remember precisely how old I was when I first watched it, but considering I started with Michael Jackson's Thriller at 3 years old and I was onto the Freddy films by 5, I'd say it was somewhere around that area.
Everyone has seen Freddy, but not everyone is a member of The Monster Squad!
The Monster Squad is a group of misfits, led by Sean (Andre Gower), with Patrick (Robby Kiger), Horace (Brent Chalem), Eugene (Michael Faustino), the cool kid Rudy (Ryan Lambert) and little Phoebe (Ashley Bank). The horror fanatics have their own secret club up inside a cool treehouse where they discuss and know all there is to know about MONSTERS. Which, incidentally, comes in handy as a group of ancient villains descend on to the kids' hometown. The Squad have to fight Classic Universal Monsters such as Count Dracula (Duncan Regehr), Frankenstein's Monster (Tom Noonan), The Mummy (Michael Reid MacKay), Gillman (Tom Woodruff Jr) and Wolfman (Carl Thibault).
The film was released on VHS in 1987, written by Fred Dekker (Night Of The Creeps, House, The Predator) and Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, The Long Kiss Goodnight), and directed by Dekker.
Unfortunately the movie bombed, big time. With a budget of $12 Million, the Box Office figures only reached about $3.8 Million. It was deemed a failure.
But due to the current Cult Status of the film, it is very clear that The Monster Squad was not, and is not a bad movie. A number of factors contributed to such poor Box Office Sales, all of which are discussed in the beautifully heartfelt documentary, Wolfman's Got Nards.
Directed by Andre Gower the documentary explores the power of cult film told through the lens of The Monster Squad and the impact it has on fans, cast and crew, and the industry.
It's been more than 30 years since the film was released, and oddly enough, after the Vestron Video release in 1988 and a run on TV Network HBO, the movie disappeared for about 19 years!!
It was almost 16 years before I even had a clue that people liked the movie! - Fred Dekker.
In 2006, all that was about to change.
A 20th Anniversary Reunion of The Monster Squad was held with cast members Andre Gower, Ryan Lamert and Jon Gries, along with writer Shane Black and director Fred Dekker in attendance in April 2006 in Austin, Texas at the Alamo Drafthouse. This reunion was put together by the staff at Ain't It Cool News, who were longtime fans of the film and on a whim decided to contact and try to connect the cast for a special screening. Two shows were held at the theatre; both sold out with lines formed around the block.
The screenings were celebrated with a limited edition poster by artist Tyler Stout.
It was at this screening that Dekker had urged any interested fans to write to the copyright holders. Following this, a two-disc 20th anniversary special edition DVD was released by Lionsgate on July 24, 2007 and a region-free BluRay version of the film released on November 24, 2009.
This was all made possible from the power of the FANBASE. Could there even be a better definition of a CULT MOVIE? (Ok, I hear ya, Troll 2 is also a great definition! lol)
Andre Gower knew this story, along with the whole production of the film, needed to be documented. And once again, from the power of the fanbase we are given this fun love-letter to a truly fantastic movie.
In 2018 Wolfman's Got Nards screened at a bunch of great Film Festivals such as The Overlook Film Festival, Sitges Film Festival and London FrightFest. Then in 2019 the documentary hit American streaming platforms and a region 1 BluRay.
Keeping fingers crossed for a UK streaming site to pick the awesome documentary.
The documentary covers all aspects of the production from an in-depth look into the film’s conception, response, cult status, to its unprecedented revival. With great insights and interviews with the cast, crew, film scholars and die-hard fans as well as some never-before-seen footage.
Director Andre Gower turns the lens on an audience of self-proclaimed misfits who have kept the film alive for more than thirty years.
The Monster Squad is about a group of outcasts, and if you were able to identify with those kids, you were also an outcast. A member of the Squad.
There are also many interviews from horror alumni such as Seth Green, Chuck Russel, Heather Langenkamp, Adam Green, Joe Lynch and Zach Galligan.
Much more than a 'Making Of', Wolfman's Got Nards mainly focuses on the lasting impact of The Monster Squad as well as an exploration into what makes a Cult Movie, which will fascinate any genre fan.
The documentary exudes the warm, cushy and safe feelings of nostalgia, but we also ride an unexpected wave of emotion, especially when the cast fondly remembers Brent Chalem, who passed away in 1997.
Wolfman's Got Nards is a joyous celebration of movie magic. A recent comparison would be how I felt whilst watching 80's horror doc In Search Of Darkness. We aren't just a part of the audience, we're a part of the history and culture, and Gower ensues we truly feel like a member of the Squad.
Whilst writing this up, I got a reply from the documentary twitter account, and they are currently in talks about international deals! How very exciting!
A review by Craig Fisher (FisherFilms82)