Written by Edward & Valerie Abraham
from the Book by R Chetwynd-Hayes
Directed by Roy Ward Baker
It's interesting to me that The Monster Club was released only a year before Creepshow, because they're a generation apart in terms of presentation -- which isn't necessarily a bad thing for one or the other.
At the club, Erasmus delivers what initially appears to be a "chalice from the palace" schtick, explaining the hierarchy of the monster family tree, which turns out to actually be important to the three tales that are about to be told. And therein lies the movie's main structure. Price gets two outstanding monologues bookending three tales, each followed by a stage show at The Monster Club.
Comparisons to Creepshow seem unavoidable, given their relative history and their contrasting approaches to story and humor (and that I watched Creepshow the night before). The make-up and effects are a world apart, but where I found those to be the most redeeming factor of Creepshow, I wasn't really bothered by the antiquated stage make-up techniques and (really) old-fashioned effects in The Monster Club because the storytelling was so much better. SO much better.
While the stories tend to end as they must, they're not as blatantly predictable as Creepshow's obligatory "shock" endings. The three tales show more variety as well, each playing on its own scale, relative to the characters involved rather than their ultimate fate. The whole thing is just more human, more personal.
I certainly wouldn't make The Monster Club the staple of your Halloween night horror-fest, unless you're entertaining third-graders that you don't want to get overly jaded just yet. But if you're hanging around in sweats some lazy gray Saturday afternoon, you could do a heck of a lot worse than to pass a hundred minutes with The Monster Club.