Being a lover of films and, specifically, documentaries about films, I was excited for WOLFMAN’S GOT NARDS but had my reservations as sometimes you get fan made fluff pieces that feel like a pat on the back more than a thoughtful film. Thankfully, this time, that was not the case.
If you can’t tell just by the title, WOLFMAN’S GOT NARDS is a documentary about ’80s cult classic THE MONSTER SQUAD. As I hoped, the film doesn’t overstay its welcome (it runs only ninety minutes) and doesn’t simply provide fan service platitudes but instead brings a real depth that some other documentaries about cult films sorely lack. It showcases all aspects of the film from concept to birth to the loyal fan base the film has amassed over its thirty plus years of existence.
THE MONSTER SQUAD star Gower (who co-wrote and directed this doc) and a host of notables including SQUAD co-writer Shane Black, co-writer/director Fred Dekker, along with other cast and crew members give insightful glimpses into the film yet also give fans and critics equal footing. As you might expect, there is plenty of great behind the scenes footage as well as rare archival material. Everything is packaged in a wonderfully slick visual style, giving the whole film a fun comic book feel. Weaving this all together, one gets a crystal clear picture of how THE MONSTER SQUAD–a movie sadly overshadowed by THE LOST BOYS at the time of its release–went on to become a beloved cult film with a huge following.
At its core WOLFMAN’S GOT NARDS has a brilliant mixture of humor and a whole lot of heart. I actually found myself unexpectedly touched by moments in this documentary that caught me off guard, in a good way. The highlight moment was the tribute to fallen member of the SQUAD Brent Chalem who played lovable outcast Horace. Sadly, Chalem died at age 22.
I was also impressed at how the film does address some elements of THE MONSTER SQUAD that haven’t dated well including fat shaming and some obvert homophobia. This brief self-reflection is pretty rare in these types of films and I give major props for that.
If I had to voice one complaint, I felt like I was left wanting more behind the scenes stories and though I’m sure this was not the fault of the filmmakers, some actors are sorely missed including Tom Noonan and Jason Hervey.
As a film fan that grew up in the late ’80s/early ’90s, THE MONSTER SQUAD was a gateway movie, which can certainly be said about many other fans of the film. I will make the bold claim that WOLFMAN’S GOT NARDS might have even knocked out BEST WORST MOVIE as my favorite cult film documentary. This film gets to the core of why fans love its subject film film so much and does it in a thoughtful way that doesn’t feel cheesy or forced, yet has genuine heart. It’s very much worth seeking out.