Read the full feature on NOFS Podcast here.
In 1987 The Monster Squad introduced a generation of young horror fans to the Universal Monsters. For those kids (yourself included I would assume, The Monster Squad was the greatest movie of all time, but it disappeared one day, never to return…
That is of course until it was (finally) released on DVD after strong demand from a vocal fanbase, and this monster-ific masterpiece was allowed to live again! The tragic, and touching saga of The Monster Squad is captured in the documentary Wolfman’s Got Nards which recently won the Audience Award for Best Feature at the 2018 Overlook Film Festival.
Wolfman’s Got Nards is directed by The Monster Squad star Andre Gower and features interviews with cast, crew, fans, and fellow filmmakers. Included among them are Joe Lynch (Mayhem), Adam F. Goldberg (The Goldbergs), Adam Green (Hatchet), Seth Green (Robot Chicken), and many more. Large portions of the doc were filmed at anniversary screenings of The Monster Squad with fans on camera to share their own experiences with the film, and how it has touched them personally. It also has a pretty hilarious montage of people reacting to Andre Gower’s original ‘Stephen King Rules’ t-shirt as though it were the shroud of Turin. And for some of us, it might as well be.
There are no shortage of “fan-docs” celebrating a sliver of pop culture and it’s impact on a generation of fans. They highlight short lived tv shows, movies, or bands that enjoyed a brief moment of success before fading into relative obscurity. Years later, they relive that magic after appreciation quietly grew into a cult-uralphenomenon once again. But that’s exactly what sets Wolfman’s Got Nards apart from every other pop culture documentary. The cast and crew of Monster Squad were never able to taste that brief moment of success, assuming for decades that the movie flopped and was quickly forgotten.
Fred Dekker himself considers The Monster Squad to be the best film he ever made, and goes so far as to say that “Director of The Monster Squad” will be written on his tomb. But until 2016, he shares, he had only been able to see the film as a failure, responsible for turning his career into an uphill battle. There’s no denying that the film was slowly given the recognition it deserves, but for some that recognition came just a little too late.
Tragically, actor Brent Chalem was never able to see The Monster Squad,and his performance of Horace, celebrated in the community. Chalem passed in 1997 of pneumonia, almost a decade before anyone involved in the movie would begin to understand just how much the film meant to its fans. Wolfman’s Got Nards isn’t just a great title that calls back a memorable moment, it’s a tribute to the one person unable to feel that love and appreciation. It’s a eulogy and a salute to someone who will forever be memorialized in the one of the greatest movies of all time.