Monster Brawl

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Monsters the world over are preparing for a wrestling brawl that hasn’t been seen since the late 80’s, a brawl that will leave only one monster standing.

I’ll say this about the entertainment industry known as “Professional Wrestling” that was built upon the back of the WWF, it is what it is. Thought I was going to go off about it being fake or about how hard the athletes work didn’t you? That’s usually what most people tend to do, either rant and rave about how fake it is if they hate it, or go on and on about how awesome the wrestlers are and how much abuse they take if they like it. To be perfectly honest, I don’t really have an opinion on wrestling one way or the other (and from here on out, when I say wrestling, I mean the Soap Opera version shown on TV, not the real thing that’s been around for centuries). I know, saying things like “Soap Opera Version” makes it sound like I have something against wrestling but I don’t, not one bit. It’s not my thing, that’s true, but I understand that some people get a kick out of it and that’s cool. I look at the WWF, sorry, the WWE (it was the WWF when I was a kid so that’s what I think of it as, the World Wildlife Foundation can go fuck themselves) the same way many look at Law & Order: SVU, it’s a show, nothing more, nothing less. True enough, I’ll get combative if someone tries to tell me the things wrestlers do in the ring are real and not a staged act but if you’re just watching it cause you enjoy watching it then I don’t really care. I watch Hardcore Pawn, really no different.

Our brawl to end all brawls begins with a wrestling ring in the middle of a graveyard, a ring that is set to host the greatest monsters of all time in a series of toe to toe matches that will determine the single greatest among them. Ring announcers Buzz Chambers (Dave Foley) and Sasquatch Sid Tucker (Art Hindle) introduce us to the event of a lifetime while showman Jimmy Hart (anyone who has ever been a fan of wrestling should know the name) hypes up the coming fight. The voice of God (narrator Lance Henriksen, never seen but only heard) explains in an ominous way what the viewers can expect and introduces us to the fighters. Our line-up of wrestlers are split into two different divisions, The Undead Division and The Creature Division. The Undead Divisions includes The Mummy, Lady Vampire, Zombie Man (and his military handler played by Kevin Nash), and Frankenstein’s Monster (accompanied by the brilliant Doctor Frankenstein) while The Creature Division includes Cyclops, Witch Bitch (accompanied by her personal trainer The Grub), Swamp Gut (a disgusting swamp creature) and Werewolf. There will be five matches total, two for the Middle Weight Class and three for the Heavy Weight Class. The two Middle Weight matches will feature The Mummy vs. Lady Vampire and Cyclops vs. Witch Bitch. The first two Heavy Weight matches will feature Zombie Man vs. Frankenstein and Swamp Gut vs. Werewolf with the winners of those two matches facing off against each other. The winner of this very last match will be crowned the Heavy Weight Monster Champion of the world.

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{Jimmy Hart, proving even at his age he probably still gets more tail than the rest of us}

I was really iffy on if I was going to like this movie or not. I had high hopes because, come on, it’s some of the most well-known monsters in the world fighting one another in a wrestling style arena. Then again, I don’t really care much for wrestling and this did seem like it could come off as supper cheesy. Then again, I sometimes like cheesy; it can be fun. Then again, this whole thing could be so bad I’d start to dislike some of my favorite monsters (with the exception of Zombie Man, I could never hate another zombie). You think it’s annoying to read all these “then again’s”, imagine how annoying it was thinking it before I’d even started the movie. I literally went back and forth with myself before finally saying “fuck it” and starting the film. I’m happy to report that it’s a good thing I did because Monster Brawl was an amazing flick and I am so glad I watched it.

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{I’m not sure how I was ever worried about a movie were a werewolf climbs the top rope of a wrestling ring}

First thing you should understand is that this isn’t a straight forward film; it’s more akin to a mockumentary. Monster Brawl is presented as an actual Pay per View wrestling event, like you’d just ordered the latest WrestleMania, just with monsters. It was an interesting way to present a film. They have interviews (including one with the event’s creator, a normal human who just happens to like wrestling and monsters), commentary from the sidelines, and even wrestler introductions just like you’re used to seeing. I grew up watching wrestling in the days of Roddy Roddy Piper, Ultimate Warrior, Junkyard Dog, and of course Hulk Hogan before he became a bad joke. This was nearly twenty years ago mind you but if you were a fan of wrestling in the late 80’s, early 90’s then you remember how it was. Today it’s a whole lot different and newer fans might be more used to the over the top way it is now, where more focus is put on the story than the matches themselves. Back in the day (did I really just say that), the focus was more on the matches themselves. Sure, there were storylines involving rivalries but they were hyped up by interviews with the wrestlers who would threaten each other in overly manly voices instead of convoluted stories. That’s how Monster Brawl is, the monsters threaten each other in interviews before battling out while the ringside commentators…well…comment. In a word, perfect.

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{The stat cards were an interesting addition as well}

One thing that really both surprised and impressed me was how well done the makeup was, don’t expect any spectacular effects but the monsters all look amazing. Each and every one is done with the finesse of a true artist. I was amazed at how well some of them looked and I can’t say I found any glaring flaws in their design. They looked like real monsters getting in the ring to rip each other to shreds.

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{I was especially impressed with their Frankenstein’s Monster design}

I also love the how much thought they put into the characters. You may have your staples such as a werewolf, Frankenstein, the mummy, and a zombie but they added others like Lady Vampire (instead of just Dracula), Swamp Gut (instead of The Creature from the Black Lagoon), Cyclops (didn’t expect that), and Witch Bitch with her little side kick and even the zombie is made special with his crazy military handler (not a big Kevin Nash fan but he does do a great job). What made all eight of these monsters even better are the individual personalities they gave them. They aren’t your typical monsters but a different take on some of the classics. I especially liked the back stories they worked on. Before each character is introduced into the ring, the film goes to that monster’s place of origin and explains how they ended up in the competition. I really enjoyed those moments.

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{Not sure who came up with a Witch Bitch Vs. Cyclops match but I’m glad they did}

Last thing I’ll touch on is the acting, it’s terrific. The actors playing the monsters (some play multiples) do a terrific job with their monster, truly bringing whatever character (or characters) to life. Even the humans in the film do a great job at whatever chosen part they have to play. Whether it’s “The Mouth from the South” managing to rile you up for a fight that you know is completely fake (at least wrestling has the advantage of portraying only humans), our ringside announcers truly giving the fight a realistic tone, adding witty commentary and extra heart to the fight, or narrator Lance Henriksen giving just enough menacing narration to remind us that while the movie seems to be in good fun, we are still watching monsters duke it out to the death. One actor I want to touch on in particular is announcer Buzz Chambers played by Dave Foley. Now everyone here does a great job and I was thoroughly impressed by the actors who played the monsters but Foley in particular just seemed perfectly suited to his job and was easily my favorite character. Then again, this being Dave Foley, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

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{The banter between our two announcers was easily my favorite thing about this movie}

All in all, Monster Brawl is a different kind of movie and one I truly fell in love with (I bought it the same day I watched it). I would recommend this to any horror fan in a heartbeat.

 

The Undead Review

 

Directed By: Jesse T. Cook (Scarce)

Starring: Dave Foley (Monkeybone, Sky High, and of course the hilarious Kids in the Hall), Art Hindle (The Brood, Porky’s), Robert Maillet as Frankenstein (mostly of WWE fame but also the big ass monsters in 300 and The Immortals), Jimmy Hart (The Mouth from the South of wrestling fame), RJ Skinner as The Werewolf, Kevin Nash (yep, another wrestling icon but also known for The Longest Yard {Remake}, one of the movers in Grandma’s Boy {a five minute part but very significant}, and best of all The Super Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze), and finally Lance Henriksen as the voice of God (the film’s narrator)

-I know there are a lot of “Starring” actors listed here but they shared so much screen time I couldn’t decide who to list so I just put them all down.

Released By: Foresight Features, Anchor Bay Entertainment, and Image Entertainment

Release Type: Straight to Video

Release Year: 2011

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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