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THE MONSTER SQUAD
Fun horror score is enjoyable stuff; holy grail of many sees CD release at last
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 1987 Taft Entertainment Pictures; review copyright (c) 2007 James Southall
An attempt to rekindle the spirit of the old Universal horror movies, in a kids' film, The Monster Squad never really found an audience. This is usually put down to the fact that it was too scary for children, but since it was presented as a children's film, adults weren't interested. An alternative explanation would be that it was rubbish. In any case, the hoped-for Gremlins-scale audience didn't materialise, and this use of Dracula, Frankenstein and the rest has been consigned to "cult status".
Composer Bruce Broughton was arguably at the height of his popular appeal at the time - this came shortly after Silverado, Young Sherlock Holmes and Harry and the Hendersons. Like those, it is a fully-orchestral score in (crudely speaking) the John Williams vein, and its absence from the CD market over the years has been a source of frustration for fans of both Broughton and the film; this has now been rectified since it has become the fiftieth entry in Intrada's Special Collection, available no doubt for a very short time before disappearing again.
In truth, it isn't nearly up to the standard of Broughton's masterpieces - I suspect it was much more a work of perspiration rather than inspiration - but as with almost all of this magnificently talented composer's music, there is plenty here to keep the listener entertained. While it certainly pays tribute to Skinner, Salter et al, Broughton is a highly-distinctive composer and so it is very much his style throughout; but there is a madcap air about it, which perhaps has more in common with the composer's music for animation.
There are a couple of decent themes (one of which is particularly effective when a gentle female choir is added); the "scarier" music with a big emphasis on brass is great fun; and indeed "fun" is about the best adjective to use. This is Broughton just letting the shackles off and enjoying himself - it is hard as a result to take it as seriously as much of his music, but correspondingly difficult not to have a blast while listening.