Little Monsters (1989)

1h 43m / PG / Fantasy

The enormous animated hit Monsters, Inc. spawned a sequel, at least one amusement-park themed area, and a bevy of warmly held childhood memories. That movie, of course, is about the arcane rules and sprawling infrastructure behind the monsters that live in the darkened closets of children around the world. Little Monsters is about kind of the same thing, except 12 years earlier, with “under the bed” replacing “inside the closet”, and a lot more gross slimy things. It was the ‘80s, after all.

Written by the screenwriting team responsible for both Shrek and Disney’s Aladdin, Little Monsters stars that decade’s child-prince Fred Savage as Brian, a cool little dude who unfortunately has a pretty rough home life. Having just moved to a new city, his parents (Margaret Whitton and Daniel Stern) argue a lot and might be headed towards divorce. Luckily (at first?) he has a best friend with whom he can hang out, eat junk food and get into trouble: Maurice (played joyfully by Howie Mandel), who is a monster and Brian’s personal Virgil in their night-time exploration of the under-bed netherworld of the monsters. Everybody’s having a creepy good time until Brian starts transforming into a monster too. In the end it’s a fun, if disturbing, little fantasy romp that’s equal parts Monsters, Inc., Beetlejuice, and the Pleasure Island scene from Pinocchio. And if you saw it yourself as a kid, it’s a nostalgic (and darker than you remember) blast from the past.

Tickets for this special “Mummy & Me” screening are $10 for adults ($7 for Tampa Theatre Members) and FREE for kids ages 12 and younger.

A Nightmare on Franklin Street 2019 is presented by Voodoo Ranger and J.J. Taylor Distributing Florida, Inc. Promotional consideration is provided by Spooky Empire and WEDU PBS