Saturday, June 28, 2014

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Monster Squad (1976): "The Weatherman"

In “The Weatherman,” Walt and the Monsters are concerned when a freak snow storm hits the city….in July. 

Before long, the culprit has made his demands. A villain called “The Weatherman” (Avery Schreiber) wants to be unanimously elected President of the United States, or else he will force the country to endure severe weather for months.  He plans to bury Wisconsin in ice, for example.

The Monster Squad learns that the Weatherman is headquartered in an old U.S. Government weather research center, and confronts him there.  The group learns that he has armed himself with a weapon called a “thunder-buss” that can freeze living tissue.

Unfortunately, the Wolf Man falls prey to the device, meaning that Dracula and Frankenstein must not only defeat the villain of the week, but thaw out their frozen friend as well.

As Monster Squad (1976) winds down (we’re in the home stretch, folks…I promise…), some hidden writer agendas are clearly coming to the series forefront, and those who like to complain about the liberal media indoctrinating kids should be happy at the counter-weight, I suppose. 

Specifically, two weeks ago “The Wizard” complained about the government making bad real estate deals and screwing citizens, while “The Weatherman” depicts the government as incompetent, leaving vacant (for criminal use…) a deadly weather research lab.

And when Werewolf, Frankenstein and Dracula go to the facility, they are asked to sign-in on the guest list…in triplicate.  “Well, it’s only to be expected in a government installation,” The Werewolf quips. 

Perhaps the increasingly apparent dislike of the American Government in the 1970s is not unexpected here, given what the nation had gone through in the two years prior to 1976, specifically the Watergate Scandal and an ignominious withdrawal in the Vietnam War. 

Still, it’s a little shocking to see the anti-government jokes starting to come hot and heavy in a Saturday morning kid’s show.  But hey, Fred Grandy -- Walt in this series -- eventually became a Republican congressman, right?   Perhaps he developed his political philosophy here, in the wax museum…

Seriously, the next time someone complains about liberals indoctrinating children, remind them that conservatives do it too, in fare like 1976’s Monster Squad.

Two other points for consideration here: As I noted recently, Dracula is almost entirely flesh-toned now, his white pancake make-up barely coating his skin. 

And secondly, both this episode and “The Skull” have featured references -- visual or textual -- to the Invisible Man.  In this episode we see him in the Wax Museum behind the Crime Computer, and in “The Skull” the King Toot mummy is unwrapped to reveal no one…or perhaps, the Invisible Man.

If Monster Squad had survived, I wonder if the Invisible Man would have joined the team.

Next week: “Lawrence of Moravia.”

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