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Western Animation / Monster Force

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A Monster of the Week cartoon about a scientist and three teenagers, including the (female and psychic) descendant of Doctor Frankenstein, wearing Powered Armor and fighting classical Universal Monsters alongside Frankenstein's Monster and the teenage grandson of the Wolf Man. Produced by Universal Cartoon Studios and Lacewood Productions in The '90s (hence, it was paired with fellow Universal action series Exo Squad in first-run syndication). The show is also noticeable for having comic book writer Marv Wolfman as one of the show's writers which explains the quality behind some of the stories.

Like a lot of syndicated cartoons of the 90s, it got lost in the crowded market of similar toy based shows, leading to a short run at 13 episodes. At the least the first seven episodes have been released on DVD, so if you haven't heard of the show, you can go look for it now.

Not to be confused with the Game Boy Advance game of the same name.


  • Achey Scars: Doc Crawley has four around one of his eyes (like an animal paw) that glow whenever he is near Dracula. It can double as a Spider-Sense since Dracula is never far behind once his scars glow. Dracula himself gave the scars to Doc, so it would make sense they'd react to their creator.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Doctor Rhomer, who appears in two episodes. While his field seems to be archeology and working for universities, he and Doc are familiar with each other. He even hires Monster Force in one episode. However, he generally holds the Idiot Ball when obviously something supernatural is going on or allows greed and fame to cloud his judgment. He tends to be an Agent Scully when dealing with warnings and curses, though he is a scientist, so he could just be looking for a rational explanation to strange events. In episode 4, he enrages the Creature from the Black Lagoon by destroying its resting place so he can get to the gold its guarding. In episode 10 he runs afoul of Im-Ho-Tep and needs to be saved.
  • Ancient Artifact: In episode 2, the introduction to the werewolves and Luke's curse, it is revealed that the reason Luke's grandfather was attacked is because he came into possession of a gypsy cane that supposedly allows the owner to control ALL werewolves. Niles and Luke fight in a river and over a waterfall to gain possession of it. At the end of the episode, Niles is shown alive by raising it out of the water in his hand. However, It's never mentioned or brought up again.
  • Distaff Counter Part: The Bride to her 'mate' Frankenstein
  • Enemy Mine: In one ep, the heroes discover a ritual that Dracula wants to do to become all powerful. He gathers several powerful vampires for the attempt (with the premise that he'll share the power) and the heroes are virtually powerless to stop them. However, Shelley uses her Psychic Powers to show the vampires that the ritual will kill them to transform Dracula. They turn on him, distracting Drac long enough for the heroes to destroy the ritual ground and stop Drac's plan. After he flees, the vampires start to turn on the group, but withdraw as 1) the sun is coming up and 2) they presumably owe Monster Force for saving them. As one of the vampires says, "Just this one time".
  • Eviler than Thou: In one episode, the Im-Ho-Tep and Dracula meet for the first time. They end up fighting and Im-Ho-Tep ends up on the losing end, submitting to Dracula's will.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Dracula and Niles Lupon/Bela the werewolf can come off as charming and friendly, but when someone crosses them, has served their purpose, or just For the Evulz, they show their true nature.
  • Fish People: The original Creature from the Black Lagoon, in fact.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: In this series, he does a Heel–Face Turn and joins the good guys.
    • Remember, this is based on the Universal version of Frankenstein. He was never really evil in those films, just dangerously naive.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Dr. Rhomer and Im-Ho-Tep in episode 10. Thankfully for Rhomer, Shelley easily sees something is wrong. Interestingly, Ho-Tep keeps all his magical powers while in Rhomer's body, but Rhomer is able to use Ho-Tep's Super-Breath in the mummy's body. Rhomer is also able to use the spell Im-Ho-Tep used to switch them back.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Episode 12 which features a mother-daughter duo. Throughout most of the episode, it was just assumed that the mother was being forced to do the antagonist's dirty work for fear of her daughter's life. Then near the climax, as he is about set his plan into motion, he tells the mother to "show her true colors". The woman reluctantly vamps out, showing that she has been undead the whole time while apologizing to her daughter (who isn't a vampire, thankfully; more than likely the mother sacrificed her humanity to prevent this). Apparently this is her daughter's first time seeing it too but she claims she always knew and knows her mother is not evil. When the MF crew come looking for Frankenstein (who was captured by the antagonist), the mother prevents a vampire ambush. She's also a rather curious exception to other vampires in the series who turned evil upon being turned.
  • Genius Loci: The Dark City in the episode of the same name. It appears every 100 years and lures people inside so it can use their life force as a food. It reappears randomly around the world each time and consumes all the people around it within 24 hours. The team inadvertently end up walking into it while looking for it and just barely escape thanks to Frankenstein managing to blow open the entrance.
  • The Glasses Come Off: When Luke transforms into his Wolf Man self.
  • Heel–Face Turn: In this series, Frankenstein and the Wolfman are good guys.
  • Hereditary Curse: One member of the team is Luke Talbot, grandson of Larry Talbot, who has the same curse of lycanthropy, and wants to destroy the werewolf that cursed his family so he can be cured. Fortunately Luke's able to invoke it at will so he can have the strength to fight monsters without relying on Powered Armor like his teammates. Unfortunately, he'll still go wild and need to be confined on the night of the full moon.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: In episode 9, the main villain is a Mad Scientist named Dr. Ducaine who discovers the Bride and hopes to use her as a template to create other beings for an army he can control. Ducaine sees no problem with dismembering her to study her physiology and invokes What Measure Is a Non-Human?, seeing the Bride as an "It" and that she was the creation of one scientist and he, another scientist, has right to do with her as he pleases. He later captures Crawley and his security officer, after they discover his secret, planning to use them as "parts" for his own undead creations. Ducaine ends up arrested at the end of the episode.
  • Hunter of His Own Kind: Frankenstein and the Wolfman help their human teammates fight the truly evil monsters. Though the former does so due to being friends with Shelly while the latter, Luke, does it because if werewolf curse is hereditary and he wishes to destroy the head werewolf that inflicted it on his family. Using the change for good in the meantime.
  • Informed Ability: Trip being the strong one when being able to get past a door would end an episode too early. In "Prisoner of Kaliaga" he's unable to batter down his and Lancer's cell door, requiring them to invoke some Hollywood Science with their last battery to get it open instead note . In "Return of the Creature from the Black Lagoon" he also gets his hand stuck in a broken window and for some reason can't pull free until the last second. Neither seems like something a guy wearing Powered Armor made specifically for close-quarters combat with powerful monsters should've had trouble with.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In the episode with the Creature from the Black Lagoon, a scientist named Dr. Rhomer asks Monster Force to recover a data disk from a boat his assistants were piloting that sank. One of them asks if he wants them to look for his assistants while they're at it, like he's a huge jerk for not thinking of their survival too. But Rhomer points out their boat sank two days ago, and that being the case there isn't much even Monster Force can do for them besides give them a proper burial (the assistants are never found).
  • The Igor: Renfield is Dracula's deformed, hunchbacked servant.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: In "The Rage of Frankenstein's Bride", Dr. Ducaine insistently refers to the Bride of Frankenstein as "it".
  • Leave Me Alone!: The Bride. In episode 9, all she wants by the end of the episode is to be alone, away from everyone, humans and her fellow creation.
  • Legion of Doom: The Creatures of the Night, despite their collective name, rarely work together. In fact, other than the final episode, they never appeared together in the same episode.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Frankenstein was granted life from it, just like the movies. He can also absorb for Shock and Awe powers:
    • fire lightning blasts
    • make himself even stronger physically or 'recharge' himself if he is injured or tired.
  • Monster Mash: The baddies.
  • Monster of the Week: Quite literally, most episodes have the team facing a different monster.
  • Mummy: Im-Ho-Tep is a mummy.
  • One-Winged Angel: Dracula can assume the form of a monstrous bat demon. He usually adopts it when fighting Luke Talbot or Frankenstein. Episode 12 has another powerful vampire do the same, so he can fight evenly with Dracula.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Niles Lupon, alias Bela the Werewolf, the one who cursed Luke's grandfather, seems to be a harmless old man when in human form and becomes a hulking, red-furred humanoid wolf when he shifts forms. The more benevolent Luke, meanwhile, becomes a grayish-toned Wolf Man when he transforms. It's implied that this is because the curse has been in Luke's bloodline for generations.
    • All werewolves seem to have Magic Pants, their clothes will be shredded during the transformation, but will revert back to normal if they change back to human form.
    • In episode 8, there is an order of monks who have designed rooms, doors, and cages that cannot be used by werewolves. Niles is captured by them before the episode.
    • Niles is shown to have a variety of Antagonist Abilities. He can freely shapeshift from human to werewolf form at night, create werewolves than he can summon and command, and in episode 8 he assumes the form of a different human. This last ability is never explained nor seen again.
    • According to Doc, there are 'real' werewolves like Niles and Luke while there are the Mooks Niles creates in episode 2. These humans revert back after Niles is presumed dead. Doc never explains the difference between Luke's family curse and the townspeople who revert back by the end of the episode.
  • Power Floats: Vampires in the series are capable of flight without turning into bats (though they can do that too).
  • Powered Armor: The EMACS (Energized Monster Armed Containment Suit) are suits of armor that enable the Monster Force to combat monsters.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Honor Santiago, the security officer in episode 9. She called in the Monster Force, helps them out, and does not blindly follow the scientist she works for.
    • The team likewise never go Van Helsing Hate Crime, only going after monsters that wish to harm humans. When they come across a vampire mother who stops an ambush on the group and the daughter vouches for her. They're more the cordial with this if just a little surprised since they rarely run into benevolent monsters. Considering they got two monsters on their team, it make sense.
    Luke: Never judge a monster by it's fangs.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Episode 9 has a scientist discover the Bride. After studying her, he determines she is over 200 years old and has not aged at all. This implies Frankenstein's Monster is at that old as well since he was created first.
  • Rejection Affection: Much like in the move, The Bride was horrified when she saw Frankenstein's Monster. Deconstructed as episode 9 has them reunite and she details how she abhors her existence and the thought of being with the Monster. The Monster on the other hand, genuinely has feelings for her and a flashback shows him searching the woods with the Doctor to find her. The Bride will team up with him and will accept his help, but in the end she wants to be alone. The Monster respects her wishes, but it is clear that her rejection hurts him on some level considering how he rushes to her rescue in episode 9.
  • Shout-Out:
    • A surprising one in the Bride of Frankenstein episode, where the Leitmotifs for the Monster and the Bride from the original 1935 film show up in the soundtrack.
    • Im-ho-tep's introductory episode plot is practically a whole plot reference to the original film.
    • Dracula is served by a crazed, straitjacket-wearing Renfield, a reference to Renfield's fate in the original novel and film.
      • Renfield is also shown eagerly eating spiders, which references his madness in the novel.
    • Luke is stated to be the grandson of Lawrence Talbot, the protagonist from The Wolf Man (1941).
    • In one episode, the Monster Force team up with Bram Stoker himself (a vampire hunter in this version) in an effort to destroy Dracula in his castle. Only it turns out Dracula killed the real Stoker years ago and was just wearing his form.
    • When not zooming around the globe hunting monsters, the team works for/attends Lovecraft University.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Shelley is the Monster Force's only female member.
  • The Something Force: The "Monster Force", to which the series owes its title.
  • Super-Breath: Im-Ho-Tep can use this power for Blow You Away and Harmless Freezing as "his breath is as cold as the coldest tomb."
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Creature from the Black Lagoon is not only more muscular here than in his original movie, but is presented as more or less a walking force of nature. He is said to have sunk an entire city and slaughtered its inhabitants single-handed, takes on four power-armored monster fighters and a Wolf Man with nothing but his bare claws — and wins, and shrugs off energy blasts that have killed vampires in one shot as though they were fleabites.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: The aptly titled "Dark City", which is more like Dark Town but whatever.
  • Toyetic: Of course, with a team of Power Armor-clad heroes flying around in flashy vehicles fighting monsters. Unfortunately while there was a toy line it wasn't very well-known and didn't last very long.
  • Vampire's Harem: In the first episode, Dracula is shown with his three brides. Two of which help capture Luke and find and turn a associate of the team who was scouting the area for them
  • Vampire Hunter: Though they do take on all monsters they find, the show still kinda defaults to this with Dracula and his underlings being the primary threat.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Monster Force activate their armor by pressing their belt buckles. In "Prisoner of Kaliaga" it's shown that if an opponent hits it, the armor will indeed fold back up again in the middle of a fight, leaving them helpless.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: "Prisoner of Kaliaga" is pretty much "The Howling Man" from The Twilight Zone (1959). With a werewolf instead of Satan.
  • You're Insane!: In "The Rage of Frankenstein's Bride", Dr. Reed Crawley calls Dr. Ducaine insane after finding out that Ducaine plans to create an army of monsters by reverse-engineering them from the Bride of Frankenstein.


Video Example(s):


Monster Force [Vampire Harem]

Edited clips from the obscure cartoon series, "Monster Force", which showcases Drac's brides from the first episode.

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Main / VampiresHarem

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