Leave the lights on! The fan-favorite syndicated horror anthology series from executive producer Richard P. Rubinstein (Tales from the Darkside, Dawn of the Dead, Creepshow, Frank Herbert’s Dune, Children of Dune) that ran for three heart-stopping seasons on the Sci-Fi Channel (now Syfy) in the 1990s.
Across 72 episodes of this 9-disc collectors’ set, Emmy® and Academy Award®-winning make-up effects artist Dick Smith (The Exorcist, The Godfather, Amadeus) brings to life the monsters that nightmares are made of – from the gruesome and grotesque to mutations beyond your wildest dreams, MONSTERS’ horrifying creatures haunt each of the modern-day fables of fear and stories of unearthly terror that comprise the suspenseful cult-classic series. MONSTERS features adaptations by horror masters Stephen King and Robert Bloch and includes an enviable cast of guest stars, including Steve Buscemi (“Boardwalk Empire”), Lily Taylor (The Conjuring), Chris Noth (“Sex and the City”), Deborah Harry (Blondie) and many more!
Welcome back to the late 80’s. A time of Michael Jackson, Joshua Tree, Rain Man, and Monsters.
Monsters was a half-hour show that ran for three seasons from 1988 to 1991. Similar to Tales from the Darkside, Monsters was a weekly romp into a creature laden story of horror and fun.
The complete 72 episode series is now available from Entertainment One, and the minute that I popped the first DVD into the player I was transported back in time. Each episode sets up a story which will eventually culminate in the appearance of some horrific creature. You can count on a twist in each episode, where the characters are either surprised by the creatures appearance, or take a mad glee as they inflict the horror upon others.
You can expect a certain amount of cheesiness. After all, this is back in the day of Gremlins, Puppet Master, and Trolls. Many times they make a tongue-in-cheek effort to gross you out with various types of goo, but never anything horrifying. You don’t see blood squirt from the neck of the vampire’s victim, or much blood at all really. By today’s standards it is fairly tame, like Goosebumps. Most kids over the age of 10 these days would be more amused than terrified by the show.
Which makes it a perfect show for us middle-aged folk who grew up during the eighties. Do you remember The Love Boat, or Fantasy Island? Each week there was a new set of guest stars, some popular, and some unknown. I cant see myself going back and watching these shows that I watched every week twenty-five years ago, These shows seem just way too sappy now.
Monsters though, this is a show that relies on good old horror. As relevant today as it was back then. The same guest stars show up on Monsters as on these other shows and you’ll end up grinning with delight watching stars like Adrienne Barbeau, Steve Buscemi, Frank Gorshin, Darren McGavin, and lots of other guests pop up on the show. Yes, they are performing in a style that can only be described as campy, enhanced by the musical score, but it works.
Some of the best writers in the horror business contributed to the show, including Stephen King and Robert Bloch, so there are some really good stories to be found in this collection. For example, The Vampire Hunter episode is completely serious, with a quick glimpse into an age old battle of good vs. evil.
Following that episode is a completely campy episode called My Zombie Lover, starring Tempest Bledsoe. It’s a spoof of a Dr. Huxtable family who has to go out hunting zombies on the night of the dead each year, when the dead return to life. Tempest decides to stay home, and an old zombie boyfriend shows up at her door with a bunch of flowers. Love blooms, but what will her zombie hunting family say about it?
Portrait of the Artist stars Darrin McGavin, who most people remember from A Christmas Story, but I remember as Kolchak, The Night Stalker. In the episode, two people attend an art gallery which depicts people as art exhibits in various horrifying poses. Darren is the watchman of the gallery, and when the man discovers his daughter is one of the exhibits, they set off to find the artist. The woman stays behind to keep an eye on the gallery, and discovers that the art is the actual people (shocking I know). The episode climaxes with a surprising twist that makes it one of the most enjoyable episodes of the series.
A Shave and a Haircut, Two Bites stars none other than Wil Wheaton and a pre-Friends Matt LeBlanc. Still youngsters in those days, Wil is convinced (ala Fright Night) that the neighborhood barber shop is run by vampires. Matt is his skeptical friend, and they set off to discover the truth. They break into the barber shop to search for evidence, and find more than they ever bargained for. It turns out that they aren’t vampires at all, but the truth is even more horrifying than they thought.
These are just a few of the gems to be found among the 72 episodes of Monsters. Your twenty-somethings won’t get the nostalgic feel from the show, and will probably just think it is stupid. If you are over thirty you’ll have a blast taking this trip down memory lane. It’s a great spooky way to spend the evening with the kids, or snuggled up with your significant other. Turn the lights out, cuddle up under a blanket, and enjoy some creepy fun with Monsters.
- David Spade (Grown Ups)
- Tony Shalhoub (“Monk”)
- Steve Buscemi (“Boardwalk Empire”)
- Gina Gershon (P.S. I Love You)
- Linda Blair (The Exorcist)
- Chris Noth (“Sex and the City”)
- Jerry Stiller (“Seinfeld”)
- Deborah Harry (Blondie)
- And many more!
Running Time: 26 hours
Rated: Not rated
Aspect Ratio: 4 x 3 (1.33:1)
Audio: 2.0 Dolby Digital
Language: English w/SDH Subtitles