Monday, December 05, 2011

Monster Mash (2000) – review

Director: Guido Manuli

Release date: 2000

Contains spoilers

This was one that I perhaps should have reviewed around Halloween, but never mind… no time like the present.

Monster Mash is, of course, based on the Bobby Pickett number of the same name and, indeed, the song is featured along with other musical numbers. The film, itself, is animated and, on first glance it seems a little throw-away.

meet Frank...
Narrated by the skeletal dog Yorick it tells the tale of his three masters Frank (David Sobolov), Wolf (Scott McNeil) and Drac… yes the famous three monsters of Universal fame. At their height they were the scariest monsters around but folk began to connect them with having fun and this, of course, led to them being seen less as scary and more as entertaining. As such they became entertainers, playing malls etc.

...and Drac
When three modern monsters see them goofing around on National TV they are summoned to the monster’s tribunal and – as the jury is deadlocked – they are given one night to scare a typical family, the Tinklemeisters. When their attempts to scare them at home fail, the kids laughing at the black and white films they hack into their TV, they send the Tinklemeisters to their castle in Transylvania to scare them. This might have been going well if not for son, Spike, being a hard nut to crack and the new monsters being sent by the prosecutor (the grim reaper) to spoil their attempts.

the new monsters
On the surface, so throw-away. However there was almost a neat exploration of the old classic monster movies versus the new breed (at the time) of horror. The three new monsters are parodies of more up to date horror, there is Freddie Spaghetti a Jason/Freddie spoof, Chicky who is a Chucky spoof and the alien eater, a spoof of the Alien. As things move on we have, of course, the old monsters winning. The underlying theme is laid on with a shovel when Wolf complains that new monsters are created by toy companies and not spontaneous representations of subconscious fear and folklore – or words to that effect.

Let's not forget wolf
There are also various pop culture references. Towards the end, an electrocuted Frank says, “I needed that” – a reference to the Groovy Goolies - and we get a line about, “why did it have to be snakes”! But the film itself is paper thin for an adult audience, despite the underlying theme I’m afraid, and the animation was okay but nothing special.

That said, it is one you could safely leave the kids with, which is something. Overall 4 out of 10.

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