Sometimes, there are characters in genre pictures that are so darned righteous, you can’t stop thinking about them or their amazing feats long after the movie is over. This column is dedicated to those cinematic bad-asses that keep us coming back for more.
I feel this one is long overdue, so can we please give it up for the original monster slayer Rudy (played by Ryan Lambert) from THE MONSTER SQUAD? He is after all “in the goddamned club.”
Sure, he’s a bit older than the rest of the kids in the squad. He’s kind of got the bad-boy thing going. Wears a leather jacket, smokes cigarettes, lights matches with the bottom of his shoe, etc. But his introduction in Fred Dekker’s beloved 1987 cult classic immediately solidifies him as the epitome of genuine cool and as a kid with a heart of gold. When he first skids into frame on his bike, it’s to help Horace aka “Fat Kid” (played by the late Brent Chalem) from getting pummeled by a bully, played by Jason Harvey who apparently had the market cornered on late 80’s bullies in movies and television. That’s right, he’s sticking up for a fellow nerd, and hence is already a radical compadre in our book.
Later on, once the monsters start presenting themselves on their quest for world domination, he ends up being the most valuable member of the team. I mean, had he not been a master in shop class, where else would they have gotten silver bullets and stakes made of wood?! He pretty much ended up supplying the squad with their implements of death to vanquish evil!
And while we’re on the topic of the entire squad, he’s the one that personally takes out the most monsters! Let’s do a quick tally – the Mummy? Done. Not one, not two, but three vampire girls? Staked. The Wolfman? As he argued, there’s only one way to kill a werewolf and that’s with a silver bullet. Jack Brooks? Move over, the original bad-ass monster slayer is Rudy.
Here’s the thing – much in the same way that he shows tremendous sensitivity when sticking up for a picked on kid in the beginning of the movie, “killing” monsters genuinely does affect him because despite his cool, calm, tough-guy appearance, he is after all still just a kid. I love that Dekker held on his facial expression for a few seconds after he slays the vampire women and shows Rudy truly contemplating what he had just done. He does the same after shooting The Wolfman down. Yeah, they were monsters, but killing is killing and the fact that he “feels” each kill makes me love and respect him even more.