Cinema/TV, Dracula, Film Notes

Your Daily Dracula – Monster Squad (1976)

Henry Polic III, Monster Squad (1976)

As recounted in the opening narration/montage, criminology student Walter (the love boat’s Fred Grandy), night-watchman in a wax museum, once turned on his crime computer and somehow brought to life statues of the Frankenstein Monster (Mike Lane, who’d essayed an equivalent role in FRANKENSTEIN 1970), Count Dracula (Henry Polic III, reprising his turn from a TV commercial for a Universal monsters exhibit) and Bruce W. Wolf (PLEASE DON’T EAT MY MOTHER’s Buck Kartalian). The mild-mannered Squad atone for their previous monstrousness by fighting crime, which pits them against villains who come across as bad-tempered kiddie show hosts but are obviously intended to recall the (much more sophisticated) batman series (also devised by Stanley Ralph Ross).

Special guest villains are Queen Bee (BEWITCHED’s Alice Ghostley), Mr Mephisto (THE SHINING’s Barry Dennen), the Tickler (THE NIGHT STRANGLER’s Ivor Francis), the Ringmaster (HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER’s Billy Curtis), Lorenzo Musica (ALLEN AND ROSSI MEET DRACULA AND FRANKENSTEIN’s Marty Allen), No Face (echoing batman’s False Face), the Astrologer (LOST IN SPACE’s Jonathan Harris), Ultra Witch (Bat-villain Julie Newmar), the Wizard (HALLOWEEN’s Arthur Malet), the Skull (MOON OF THE WOLF’s Geoffrey Lewis), the Weatherman (DRACULA: DEAD AND LOVING IT’s Avery Schreiber), Lawrence of Moravia (JAWS 2’s Joseph Mascolo) and hermaphrodite Albert/Alberta (THE NUDE BOMB’s Vito Scotti); Edward Andrews shows up twice as the Mayor (and No Face impersonating the Mayor), and goons and girlfriends include Dick Bakalyan, Sid Haig, David Proval, Joe E. Tata, Stanley Ralph Ross (who gets frequent name-checks), Cheryl Miller and Grandy’s DEATH RACE 2000 co-star Simone Griffeth. With minimal sets, infantile characterisations, scrappy fight scenes and sub-munsters jokes, monster squad is at best a footnote to the screen careers of the famous fiends.

This two-disc set collects all thirteen episodes—understandably, many stations pulled the show before the run was complete. ‘Ultra Witch’, the only show to attempt continuity (UW is avenging her boyfriend, the Wizard) is placed immediately before the episode it’s a sequel to.

First published as a DVD review in Video Watchdog.


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