The film has a heck of a lot of heart in it, too. Rooms suddenly got very dusty whenever I’d watch the scene of Brian and Maurice saying goodbye for the final time before the portal between their worlds is closed forever. There’s also probably a psychology paper in this film, what with a young boy discovering a monster under his bed soon after learning of his parents’ divorce. But I’m no brain doctor so I’ll leave that little tidbit for the next great psychiatrist.
Mandel and the Savage boys are fantastic here, with Mandel being completely unhinged and clearly having an absolute ball in every scene he’s in. It’s a far cry from the bald, germophobic reality television show host most know Howie from these days.
Little Monsters was directed by Richard Greenberg, who has an incredible resume as a visual effects artist to his name (Last Action Hero, Predator, The Devil’s Advocate) as well as a director’s credit for an episode of Tales from the Crypt in 1990. Greenberg’s work on Predator with Stan Winston certainly gave him plenty of experience working with monsters.
The film was written by the team of Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott (Pirates of the Caribbean series, Shrek, Small Soldiers and Aladdin), so the family-friendly script for this film is top notch.
As a kid, I remember watching the movie and relating to it in just about every way. I had a younger sibling who annoyed the heck out of me but I would defend fiercely. I had parents who weren’t exactly sailing the smoothest seas in their marriage. I had a wild imagination and was a voracious reader, always wondering who or what was lurking in my closet at night. I also got my first taste of “scary scenes” in a movie, namely when Maurice appears for the first time and when Boy’s face resembles a slice of hot cheese pizza being held sideways. I learned that I was attracted to this weird imagery, something that wasn’t meant for everyone to see or enjoy, but a visual stimulation that drew me in and has never let me go. Sadly, I never met my monster under the bed but I’ll always have this film.
A perfect mix of practical effects, genius make-up, fantastic costumes and good old fashioned puppet engineering, Little Monsters is plain and simply a comfort food for the young kid’s imagination within me.
I will leave you with this, wonderful readers. You didn’t think you were going to make it through this entire article without seeing Boy’s horrifying post-fire face, did you?!