Little Monsters (Vestron Video Collector’s Series) – Blu-ray Review

Little Monsters

Like most 80s movies, Little Monsters relies heavily on nostalgia than being an actual good movie. Of course, I’m one of those people with fond memories of watching Little Monsters as a kid. As an adult, you realize that the movie got away with a lot of things. Then again, the 80s were a time where movies didn’t water anything down for the sake of the children. There are some elements of Little Monsters that are scary, but it nothing that will traumatize them. After all, for 80s children like myself, Little Monsters became a gateway movie for the horror genre. 

The movie highlights the monster world as this fun-loving place where anything goes. As a result, you don’t consider Maurice to be a scary monster but a friend instead. You can attribute a lot of that to the chemistry between Howie Mandel and Fred Savage. Their mischief and antics help add to the kind of kiddy mayhem that was popular in kids’ movies during that time. It also helps that Little Monsters eventually becomes a Goonies-style kid adventure towards the end. So Little Monsters might have the label of a horror movie, but it’s not.

Unfortunately, the movie fails in trying to elicit any emotion during the more dramatic moments. A lot of these interconnecting storylines help explain Brian’s behavior, but none of them feel earned. The lack of focus on the overall narrative also leaves the film feeling stale. Yet all of these things are issues for adults. Kids won’t look at this film and think that there’s no emotion in this movie. However, whether or not kids will eat this movie up nowadays is something completely different question altogether.

Overall, Little Monsters is an entertaining buddy comedy for little aspiring horror fans. If anything, this movie may teach kids that there’s nothing to fear with the monsters underneath their bed. 

Movie Rating: 3/5 atoms

Little Monsters - Howie Mandel and Fred Savage

Video

Little Monsters hits Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-AVC with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Unlike some other Vestron Video releases, Little Monsters suffers from some age-related issues. Scratches, speckling, and flickering occasionally do show up in the movie. Despite all that, the picture looks incredibly crisp throughout. The picture also has a strong contrast, which leads to some three-dimensional depth. Unfortunately, this leads to a lot of crush — especially towards the end of the film in the monster world. There are several times where Fred Savage, William Murray Weiss, and Amber Barretto gets swallowed up by the solid black around them. On the other hand, the brightness is high and vibrant, but it doesn’t lead to much bloom in these areas. There’s a slight bloom, but you can attribute that to the source material than the video transfer. The movie also has a surprisingly wide range of colors that look bold onscreen. Overall, this is a good-looking transfer despite the blemishes.

Video Rating: 4/5 atoms

Little Monsters - Rick Ducommun and Howie Mandel

Audio

Little Monsters hits Blu-ray with a 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track. Of course, there is no sense of immersion in this mix, but this mix still has a wide spatial range. The sound effects are definite and dynamic, so it’s playful in the way it moves across the left and right channels. David Newman’s score and dialogue are crisp and audible. Neither the sound effects, dialogue, or score overpower each other either. The mix perfectly complements each other so every nuance of the audio mix can be heard. Little Monsters’ audio mix may not be an immersive cinematic experience, but this presentation does its job.

Audio Rating: 4/5 atoms

Little Monsters - William Murray Weiss, Fred Savage, and Amber Barretto

Special Features

Little Monsters‘ Blu-ray disc has the following special features on Blu-ray disc:

  • Audio Commentary with Jarret Gahan, Editor-In-Chief of cultofmonster.com
  • Isolated Score Selections and Audio Interview with Composer David Newman
  • Call Him Maurice – An Interview with Actor Howie Mandel
  • Beneath the Bed – An Interview with Producer Andrew Licht
  • Monsters Big & Small – An Interview with Special Make-Up Effects Creator Robert Short
  • Vintage Interviews with Actors Fred Savage, Ben Savage, Special Make-Up Effects Creator Robert Short, and Direct Richard Alan Greenberg
  • Behind-the-Scenes Footage
  • Making Maurice – Vintage Footage of Howie Mandel’s Make-Up Transformation
  • Vintage EPK & VHS Promo
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Still Gallery

The audio commentary for Little Monsters features more cinematic history than behind-the-scenes information about the film. Jarrett Gahan knows a lot about the film and cinematic history. However, he does go off on tangents — such as talking about his personal history — which does derail the commentary. The “Isolated Score Selections” is an audio track between Michael Felsher from Red Shirt Pictures (the interviewer) and composer David Newman. It’s a long interview that adds even more insight into a deep analysis of the film. It’s has a lot of pathos in the film that you might not recognize at first — things like Brian going down into the Monster world is similar in a way to Dante’s Inferno. It’s not a thing you would think of, but it makes a ton of sense. When the interview is over, it transitions to the score playing throughout the film. Thankfully, it’s not similar to the isolated score track from Paramount’s Pretty in Pink Blu-ray release. There’s no long silence in-between the musical score. Eventually, the score selections will end, and the audio track will revert to its normal theatrical mix.

“Call Him Maurice” is an honest and funny interview with Howie Mandel. The featurette also features some intimate behind-the-scenes footage of him in the make-up chair and during filming. “Beneath the Bed” is an honest retrospective “Monsters Big & Small” has Robert Short talking about his personal history in the industry and the various creatures he made for the film. The vintage interviews add insightful information about the film, but the interviews are incredibly mundane. The behind-the-scenes footage is a lengthy 11-minute supercut of the footage edited back-to-back to each other — some which you may have seen in the previous featurettes. Although it’s fun to see all of the behind-the-scenes footage, it will get old after a while.“Making Maurice” is the full behind-the-scenes feature of Howie Mandel in the make-up chair. You will see bits and pieces of it in “Call Him Maurice” and “Monsters Big & Small,” but this is the full feature. “Vintage EPK & VHS Promo” is just that: Promotional footage. Yet the 80s were a weird and fun time, such as selling the Little Monsters VHS tape for $89.95. Yes, $90. 

Special Features Rating: 4.5/5 atoms


Overall, Little Monsters is an entertaining nostalgic movie that has the ability to pique the interests of any little budding horror fan. The video and audio are good for this kind of nostalgic release. However, the best part of any Vestron release is the special features. The new and archival bonus features are a real treat for fans of the film.

Overall Rating: 4/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1611 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.