Theaterical release poster
|Directed by||Richard Alan Greenberg|
|Music by||David Newman|
|Edited by||Patrick McMahon|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
Little Monsters is a 1989 comedy film starring Fred Savage and Howie Mandel and directed by Richard Alan Greenberg. It tells the story of a boy who befriends a real-life "monster under the bed" and discovers a secret world of monsters who sneak into children's bedrooms at night to pull pranks on them.
Brian Stevenson's family has just moved to suburban Boston, and he feels isolated in his new neighborhood. One morning, Brian finds himself blamed for several things he did not do and is punished for them. Brian insists he is innocent and blames his younger brother, Eric, who claims to have seen a monster the night before. At school, Brian gets into a fight with bully Ronnie Coleman. That night, while sleeping in Eric's room for a bet, Brian hears a loud noise, and is unable to make it through the night. The next morning, Eric and his friend Todd find Brian on the living room couch and joke about Brian being unable to sleep the entire night in Eric's room. Brian bets Eric "double or nothing" to sleep in Eric's room another night. The next night, a determined Brian sets booby traps, and leaves cheese Doritos as bait to attract the alleged "monster."
Brian succeeds in trapping the monster intruder: a blue-skinned humanoid named Maurice. Though scared at first, Brian soon discovers that he and Maurice share the same interests and befriends him. Brian also learns that sunlight causes the monsters to collapse into piles of clothes. Over the course of several nights, Maurice shows him a fun time in the monster world beneath Eric's bed. It consists of every child's dream: all the junk food and video games they want, and no adults to tell them what to do. It also has innumerable staircases leading to the spaces beneath children's beds, from which the monsters cause trouble. Maurice and Brian have fun making mischief in other people's homes, and Brian also befriends a girl named Kiersten at his school.
One night, Maurice brings Brian along with several other monsters to the bedroom of an infant baby, with intentions to scare the baby. Brian finds this to be cruel. He opens the bedroom door, exposing the hallway light to the baby's bedroom. In doing this, Brian learns that he is turning into a monster, as his body parts shrink when the light hits him. He escapes the house through the front door and walks through Todd's backyard, where Todd is sleeping in a treehouse. Todd shines a flashlight on Brian, shrinking Brian's arm in the process. This causes concern for Brian, who saws off the legs of all the beds in his house.
Due to Maurice's failure to convert Brian (all monsters are former children), Eric is kidnapped by Snik — another, much crueler monster — through the couch bed in the living room. Brian enlists help from Todd, Kiersten and Ronnie. Gathering an assortment of bright lights, they enter the monster universe in search of Eric. "Zapping" various monsters along the way, they march to the master staircase, where Boy, the ruler of the monster world, resides. Boy offers to let Eric and Brian's friends go if Brian agrees to convert, but Brian refuses. The bright lights are destroyed and they are all placed with Maurice in a locked dungeon-type room. They manage to escape by turning Maurice into a pile of clothes via an improvised light and slide him through the door crack. They re-arm themselves with more powerful lights and venture back into the monster world. They return to Boy's domain, and are able to defeat him, while Maurice defeats Snik with a flamethrower.
Unfortunately, Brian and the others find that they cannot return home because the sun has risen. Faced with the prospect of turning into monsters if they do not return to the human world by sunrise, the children travel in the monster world from the Eastern time zone to Malibu where the sun has not risen yet and they manage to escape. Before entering the human world, Brian shares a heartfelt goodbye with Maurice, who gives Brian his leather vest to remember him by, promising to meet again with him someday. The kids run to a payphone and Brian calls home to say that he and Eric are in Malibu and begins to explain their story to their parents.
- Fred Savage as Brian Stevenson, an 11-year-old boy
- Howie Mandel as Maurice, a monster who Brian befriends
- Ben Savage as Eric Stevenson, Brian's younger brother
- Daniel Stern as Glen Stevenson, Brian's hot-tempered father
- Margaret Whitton as Holly Stevenson, Brian's mother
- Frank Whaley as Boy, ruler of the monster world
- Rick Ducommun as Snik, Boy's right-hand man
- Amber Barretto as Kiersten, a girl Brian likes
- Devin Ratray as Ronnie Coleman, a bully who bothers Brian
- William Murray Weiss as Todd, Eric's best friend
Brian's father is played by Daniel Stern, who was working on The Wonder Years as the elder, retrospective (voice-over) version of Savage's character, Kevin Arnold. Fred and Ben Savage, who are real-life siblings, play the role of both Brian and Eric since they are siblings, Fred and Ben Savage's sister Kala plays a little monster.
Plans for the release of the soundtrack album failed upon the pending bankruptcy of Vestron Pictures.
|1.||"How I Love You"||Frankie Paul, A. Ellis||Frankie Paul|
|2.||"Let's Go"||The Paladins|
|3.||"Reason To Change"||Mike Piccirillo||The Michael Logan Band|
|4.||"I Wanna Yell"||Billie Hughes, Roxanne Seeman||Billie Hughes|
|5.||"(I Love The Sound Of) Breaking Glass"||Nick Lowe Andrew Bodnar (as Al Bodner), Steve Goulding (as Anthony Goulding)||Berton Averre|
|6.||"Little Bitty Pretty One"||Bobby Day (as Robert Byrd)||Bobby Day (as Robert Byrd)|
|7.||"Road To Nowhere"||David Byrne, Jerry Harrison Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth||Talking Heads|
|8.||"Magic Of The Night"||Mike Piccirillo||Billie Hughes|
The film was financed by Vestron Pictures. Along with a few other films, the distribution rights were sold to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists after Vestron's bankruptcy (though Vestron retained some foreign rights). It subsequently saw a limited release, with only 179 movie theaters showing the film at its high point, although it grossed just under US$800,000. A DVD release was made available in the United States and Canada on April 6, 2004. Lionsgate released the film on Blu-ray for the first time as part of their "Vestron Video Collector's Series" line on September 15, 2020.
- Landekic, Writer Lola; Albinson, Interviewer Ian; Perkins, Editors Ian Albinson Lola Landekic Will; Published August 13, 2013. "R/Greenberg Associates: A Film Title Retrospective". www.artofthetitle.com.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
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