Wolfman’s Got Nards

 

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A gnarly, nostalgic tribute to the 1980s’ cult-classic The Monster Squad.

   

Wolfman’s Got Nards

  

In the summer of 1987, several classic Universal Monsters teamed up to take over the world… and no one noticed. Overlooked on its theatrical run, the fan-favourite The Monster Squad made a distinct impression during the early days of HBO and the explosion of home video. Featuring reimagined takes on classic monsters by Stan Winston Studio, the film invoked nostalgia for the original Universal ventures in a very 1980s setting. The definition of true cult classic, the film eventually found its audience and continues to generate a fervent fanbase today. With a title that references one of the film’s catchphrases, Wolfman’s Got Nards director André Gower looks back at the film’s resurgence and the childhood role to which he is indelibly linked.         

 

Slammed by critics and the victim of a terrible marketing campaign, The Monster Squad was released within weeks of other hit summer films such as The Lost Boys. These are just a few of the potential causes that led to its box-office demise. In the film, a club of five young monster movie loving misfits attempts to save its town from the clutches of Dracula, who seeks a powerful amulet that will plunge the world into darkness. The Count then calls forth Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolfman, the Mummy and the Gill-Man to aid his evil plot. The documentary recounts both the making of the 1987 film and the unexpected journey that began with the discovery of an original 35mm print in 2006.

 

Cleverly adorned with fan-art throughout, Gower’s documentary gives fans the ultimate love letter, complete with fantastic behind-the-scenes footage and anecdotes about the original shoot. Among its most illuminating elements are the young special effects artists who cut their teeth on the film, such as make-up artist Tom Woodruff Jr. and the late Matt Rose. The documentary also pays loving tribute to the fallen Monster Squad member Brent Chalem, who passed away at the age of twenty-two. In addition to hearing from the cast and crew, Gower turns the camera on the fans themselves, who express their undying love. The phenomenon of fandom is explored first-hand with footage of exuberant devotees expressing (sometimes through tears) how the film changed their lives. Fans recount seeing themselves illuminated in the band of misfits and their longing to join the team in the fight against evil. As it lingers on such admirers waxing poetic, Wolfman’s Got Nards wisely illustrates the power of film to make a connection, an impression and a lasting impact.

 

CHAD KENNERK

 

Featuring  Shane Black, Fred Dekker, Seth Green, Adam F. Goldberg, Heather Langenkamp, Chuck Russell, Joe Lynch.

 

Dir André Gower, Pro Nicholas Caprio, Rita Doumar, Aaron Kunkel and Craig Piliglan, Screenplay André Gower, Ph Henry Darrow McComas, Ed Henry Darrow McComas.

 

Pilgrim Media Group/Fitterpiper Entertainment/1620 Media-Gravitas Features.

91 mins. USA. 2018. US VOD release: 27 October 2020. No Cert.