The Grab Bag: Monster High (1989)

It was the dead of night and Fran, Miss. Directed and myself were huddled in the corner of the room. The Grab Bag drew ever nearer as it brandished it's hook hand and fully functional construction paper chainsaw. We'd been avoiding The Bag all night, but it had finally given us no where to go and we were at it's mercy. 

"No stop, we'll do anything. Just don't hurt us. " I yelped and pretended that one of the girls said it. 

The Grab Bag drew even closer. I could see the glint in it's crazy eye. OK, maybe it was the less crazy eye they're really hard to tell apart. It reached inside itself and pulled out a DVD and tossed it to me. The cover looked terribly cheesy, and not in a good way. I wasn't sure if I was more scared of the film of the dastardly Bag.

"So you want us to watch this?"

The Grab Bag made a rustling noise that I can only assume meant yes. 

"And then you won't kill us?"

The rustling continued as I read the back of the box and scanned the credits. Ugh, a crappy synopsis, and a list of people I've never heard of before.

"I just don't know. I suppose just kill us. " I said and then as one Miss Directed and Fran punched me in my solar plexus.

 "OK, OK, " I gasped. "I guess that means we'll watch it. You win this time Bag."

The Grab Bag glared evilly as I put the disk into the machine and pressed play. The Sadistic Sack faded into the ether and the screen lit up proclaiming....
Monster High (1989) starring Dean Iandoli, Diana Frank, David Mariott, and Doug Kerzner. Directed by Rudy Poe. 

Montgomery Sterling High was the typical high school of the '80's. Populated by the computer geeks, stoners, hot chicks, and the cooler than cool basketball team, all was well within it's halls. That is until two interstellar alien thieves, Dume and Glume, accidently end up there with a stolen Doomsday device. They open the crate it's in and find a glowing basketball which bursts and unleashes Armageddon on the world, Mr. Armageddon (Marriott) that is. 

Mr. A, who dresses as if he took cues from Sigfeid and/or Roy, is here to bring the end of days, but not before he has a bit of fun. Fun to a man like that includes killing off the girls on the Pep Squad one by one, animating Mummies that have been brought in for class projects, and creating killer pot plants, but one man can't spread word of the impending end all by himself. So he drafts Norm Median (Iandoli) to be his Doomsday  prophet. Norm is the most average guy in the school no naturally no one from hipsters, to dorks, to cool cats will listen to him. He finally finds a friendly ear in Candice Cane (Frank), the girl that both Norm and Mr. A have their sights set on. When push comes to shove, Norm finally mans up to save his girl...and I suppose the world as well by challenging Mr. A to a basketball game to determine the Earth's fate. 

Film Facts 

--This is the only film directed by Rudy Poe who continued his career by producing videos for Playboy.

--One of the writers, John Platt, is the producer of the series Big Brother.

The Bug Speaks
After narrowly escaping my doom at the hands of The Grab Bag, I was pleasantly surprised to find this movie quite enjoyable. However, I found it very hard to synopsize. It kind of has features akin to Airplane or Scary Movie, but the comedy is never painted with such broad a brush. Needless to say I feel like my summation of this movie simply does not do it justice. 

Almost every bit about it had me laughing. The Alien robbers are quite silly right off the bat, and who in the world actually labels a Doomsday device in a box marked Doomsday Device. Or better yet, where in space do they use wooden crates. Seriously what kind of Alien culture can imprison Mr. A (in a basketball no less) but don't have any better sense or materials handy. Also on another Dume and Glume note it seems they are a song and dace act on their home world and not professional robbers. The song, more of a rap, they do reminds me a ton of MC Chris a.k.a MC Pee Pants for you Aqua Teen fans out there. 

The problem is that the movie knows exactly what it is and what it's doing. It doesn't require further examination. Plus I could run though many more of the gags here, but without the visuals and the general feel of the flick, it's going to loose something in the translation. 

The acting on the whole is terrible. Iandoli and Frank try their best, but really this movie is not based around the need for great performances. In fact, they may have ruined the flick if they had been better. I did really love O.D. the class stoner played by Doug Kerzner. Anytime he was on screen it was comedy gold. When the stoner finally faces off against the 10 foot tall killer pot plant, all I could think was at least there's no Evil Bong (another movie that I'll have to get around to someday). David Mariott clearly is relishing his role as the villainous Mr. A. Looking like a cross between Johnny Cash and Liam Neeson after an all night bender, Mariott chews up the screen any time he gets a chance. 

I'll be honest. I'm kind of struggling about what to say about this flick. I really liked it (although my rating will be a sensible number as I also know exactly what this movie is.), but from looking at some info on the flick I can see that opinion has it split right down the middle. It's not a movie for everyone, but if you like horror, stupid jokes, and spoofs that will make you forget all about the Scary Movie franchise (and who wouldn't want that) then this is for you. If not then maybe take a pass on this one..... perhaps a hall pass (sorry, couldn't resist.)

Bug Rating

I couldn't find a trailer so instead check out this second opinion from The VHS Show. He liked it way way less than I did, but I liked his tortured review almost as much as the actual film so take that for what it's worth. 


  1. I also enjoyed this movie. I've gotta say that the the Bag scared the hell out of me (not something I'd normally say).

  2. This was a childhood favorite that I haven't seen in over a decade. Thanx for the reminder!


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