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We chat with André Gower and Henry McComas about celebrating the fan community that’s kept The Monster Squad thriving 30 years after its release.
When you’re a kid and you fall in love with a movie, you assume the rest of the world falls in love along with you. It’s only as you get older that you realize the universe doesn’t center around you, and others dare to have opinions different than your own. Yes, that’s a cold bummer of a realization. Bogus.
After I squeezed about every ounce of joy from Star Wars, my eight-year-old turned his attention towards The Monster Squad. These kids who waged war against the classic Universal Monsters (despite the film being a Paramount production), using their own deep-rooted geek knowledge, were the neighborhood pals I was desperately seeking. Filling my bedroom with comic book posters, Hammer Horror model kits, and a never-ending parade of action figures found validation in one weirdo kids flick.
While the film initially tanked at the box office, The Monster Squad found a second life on VHS and cable television. For years, the creators were unaware of the phenomenon growing on the fringes of the film community. The audience might not have shown up on opening weekend, but decades later they refuse to let go, and I’m right there with them. The Monster Squad vindicates time well spent in the pages of Fangoria Magazine or glued to the boob tube for late night creature features. This knowledge is important.
Inspired by the 17 city, 30th Anniversary tour that took the stars of The Monster Squad all over the country and across the pond to England, André Gower (who once led the squad as Sean in the totally rad “Stephen King Rules” t-shirt) was compelled to turn the camera on the hordes of fans that lined the blocks for the film so many years later. What was so special about this eighties answer to Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein? Why do fans tattoo their bodies with the Gil-Man? Why do they paste their walls in fan art?
Partnering with Henry McComas, Gower crafted what could have been nothing more than a glorified DVD special feature into a triumphant recognition of the fire that feeds both the art and the audience. Their documentary, Wolfman’s Got Nards, is not simply preaching to the choir. In detailing the struggles and strife that went into producing the original Monster Squad, and the shock of its cult status in the wake of its commercial failure, Gower and McComas have delivered a universal saga of creative passion.
Fellow FSR writer William Dass and I traveled to the Chattanooga Film Festivalwhere Wolfman’s Got Nards had its world premiere. There we sat down with both André Gower and Henry McComas to discuss the inspiration for turning the camera on the fanbase, and their desire to concoct a legitimate narrative rather than a series of trivial vignettes. We chatted for a long time, and I’m sure you can sense my own ridiculous enthusiasm for finally making it into a room with Sean from The Monster Squad.