Retroplex Cinema: The Monster Squad (1987)
Production Notes - Opening Changes & Liam Neeson Was Almost Dracula!The Monster Squad was released by Tri-Star pictures and is an obvious take off or even a homage to Universal's classic monsters. Therefore the special effects team had to make each monster have subtle differences as to keep Universal from saying they infringed on copyrights. Master special effects wizard Stan Winston worked on the film and the differences included things such as moving the bolts on Frankenstein's neck to different places and giving The Wolfman pointy ears. It was these small differences that allowed the movie to work on it's own and not infringe on Universal's library of monster characters. The film's opening was also drastically different in the original script. It would have included Van Helsing and his followers in an epic battle with Dracula and his vampire brides. It would have included Helsing on a zeppelin firing machine guns at Dracula's castle but director Fred Dekker realized it just wasn't possible due to costs and cut it from the script to the opening that is now in the film. Liam Neeson was an unknown in 1986 when the film was being casts. He like many other new actors went out to audition for a horror film and was very close to being cast as Dracula. Duncan Regehr though came in and blew the production team away and was ultimately cast as Dracula. To think that Liam Neeson was almost in this film is quite incredible. We are sure he would have brought a particular set of skills and made his version of Dracula just as memorable as Regehr's is. Speaking of, many critics even today consider Regehr's Dracula to be amongst the best portrayal's of Dracula on screen. His red contacts and make up were even so scary to the young stars that he stayed in character while filming. The young star that played Phoebe was so scared of him that when he picks her up towards the film's end her scream is genuine as she was truly frightened by his look as Dracula! Tom Noonan who played Frankenstein also stayed in character while filming and only answered the children in grunts while on breaks from shooting.
film right here if you wish. The Monster Squad is a good fun film and one that found it's audience over the years as it deserved. It brings back fond memories for many of us that remember seeing it on Saturday television matinees and now it looks like a new generation has a chance to discover it!