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Theaterical release poster
|Directed by||Richard Alan Greenberg|
|Edited by||Patrick McMahon|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
Little Monsters is a 1989 American black comedy film starring Fred Savage and Howie Mandel. Little Monsters 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's family has moved to a new town, and he feels isolated in his new neighborhood. One morning, Brian finds himself blamed for several things he apparently has not done. A quart of melted ice cream is left in the cupboard, Brian's bike is left on the driveway (causing his father to crash into it on his way to work). Brian insists he is innocent and blames his younger brother, Eric, who claims to have seen a monster the night before. As revenge, Brian snatches Eric's lunch and tosses it out the window, hitting Ronnie Coleman, the school bully who boards the bus and antagonizes Brian.
That night, while sleeping in Eric's room for a bet, Brian hears a loud noise, the source of which quickly disappears under Eric's bed. Brian subsequently is unable to make it through the night in Eric's room, making his way to the downstairs couch for the remainder of the night. The next morning, Eric and his friend Todd find Brian on the 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, leaving bait in the form of cheese Doritos to attract the alleged "monster" and alters the legs on the bed to collapse once he determines the monster has come out from under the bed. He succeeds with this method, trapping the monster intruder: a blue-skinned monster named Maurice. Though scared and startled at first, Brian soon discovers that he and Maurice share the same interests and befriends him. 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 feels he has found a true friend at last; although Brian seems to be changing.
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, and attempts to turn on the lights to cause the monsters to collapse into clothes (this happens when the monsters experience any form of light). 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 falls from the treehouse and sees Brian. He shines his flashlight on Brian, shrinking Brian's arm in the process. This causes concern for Brian.
This changes Brian's mind about Maurice and he saws off the legs of all the beds in the house. Due to Maurice's failure to convert Brian (all monsters are former children), Eric is kidnapped by Snik (another monster) through the couch bed in the living room. Brian enlists the help of his friends, 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 light and destroy Boy, explode Snik, and rescue Eric.
After Snik puts himself back together and blocks their only exit, the kids appear to have lost until Maurice appears with a flamethrower. He sets Snik ablaze, allowing Brian and the others to escape. Unfortunately, they 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. Brian and Maurice share a heartfelt goodbye, and Maurice gives Brian his leather vest to remember him by, as the kids play in the beach. Maurice tells Brian, "remember, where there's a bed, there's a way," implying that they could possibly meet again someday. Brian inside a telephone booth calls his parents, and tells them that Eric is fine and that they're in Malibu. When his parents ask why they're in Malibu, Brian responds that it's a long story. The film ends in a freeze frame of Brian, still on the phone with his parents.
- Fred Savage as Brian Stevenson, an 11-year-old boy
- Howie Mandel as Maurice, an 11-year-old fun loving 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 and the main antagonist
- 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, but later helps him
- 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.
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. As of 2012, there are no plans for a release outside Region 1.
- Harrison, Nancy (1990-11-04). "It's Special Effects That Make the Actor". NYTimes.com. Retrieved 2016-04-05.