Monster Brawl (2011)
(18) Running time: 89 minutes
Director: Jesse T. Cook
Writer: Jesse T. Cook
Starring: Dave Foley, Art Hindle, Jimmy Hart, Kevin Nash, Robert Maillet, Lance Henriksen
Reviewed by: Matt Wavish, official HCF critic
We use the term ‘Beer Movie’ here at HCF quite often, and when we say a film is a ‘beer movie’ it basically means it is crap, but can easily be enhanced by a selection of alcohol. Monster Brawl is exactly that, the film is not really all that good, it doesn’t actually want to be very good, and makes no excuses for being crap. In fact, it makes no attempt to be good either, and so what we have here is a “film” which is happy to let rip on bad acting, dodgy effects and cheesy one-liners and hilarious fights. Monster Brawl is an honest film though, there is no denying that: it is called Monster Brawl and that is exactly what you get, monsters fighting each other in a wrestling ring. If that is your thing, then jump in!
Here is a film for trash horror fans at its very best, and also fans of wrestling will lap this up. Make no mistake though, this is silly, ridiculous fun and if you can see past that and not want things to constantly be serious or perfect, then Monster Brawl provides perfect Friday night entertainment. There is barely a story here: we simply join the film as an underground wrestling tournament is organised, and the fighters are made up of famous monsters from all walks of horror. We have a Cyclops, Werewolf, Frankenstein’s monster, Swamp Gut, Witch Bitch, The Mummy, Zombie Man and Lady Vampire. The characters are each given their own brief introduction into their fighting styles and stats, and each one gets a quick back story to link each fight and give a reason for them competing.
Apart from the linking stories which last no more than five minutes each, Monster Brawl is played out like a wrestling main event. We get two commentators: Buzz Chambers (Foley) and Sasquatch Sid Tucker (Hindle) and the pair banter and talk us through fights and any bits in-between. Their banter is loud, and often hilarious as they joke, poke fun at each other and the wrestlers, and deal with the odd guest. We are also given a real wrestling hero in the shape of Jimmy ‘The Mouth of the South’ Hart. Now, I haven’t watched wrestling for years, but back in the 80’s and 90’s I remember Jimmy Hart as the annoying, headache inducing ‘manager’ of a great number of wrestling villains, and even though he continues to irritate here, it is quite pleasant to see him. He takes charge of bellowing the names of the fighters as they come to the ring, however what makes his brief moments on screen even more pleasant is the two seriously sexy ladies stood next to him. Played by the gorgeous Ashley Byford and Rachelle Corbeil, the scantily clad ladies appear to be rooting for different fighters, and they simply pout and pose while Hart screams and shouts. It is a serious case of enduring pain to enjoy pleasure! Moving on…
Basically what we have here is a collection of fights as the monsters battle it out to be the overall king of monsters, and it is quite good fun guessing who will win. The fights themselves are terrific, and often the director will speed things up ever so slightly to give the what I call ‘Monty Python’ effect as people move slightly off, and it looks hilarious. The director cleverly speeds up punches and kicks so that you can’t see the actors clearly missing, and so with the added sound effects, makes the whole thing almost cartoonish. I mean this in the nicest possible way, because the fights somehow manage to keep you interested. I was worried that after the third of fourth fight the idea would get stale, but thankfully Cook (who also wrote the film) has some neat tricks up his sleeve. Bitter feuds are settled as opponents hilariously spit venom during pre-match interviews, and a sort of good vs evil story begins to brew between certain fighters. The fights themselves take a nasty turn once the referee is killed off , and all sorts of weapons are used. There is tons of inventive ideas here, and the film reminded me a bit of Celebrity Death Match, only with monsters. It is gory, violent and funny as Hell as we watch these cheesy, badly acted monsters go head to head. Who will be your favourite?
The comedy on offer here is fantastic, with commentary providing highlights like: “Witch Bitch with a dirty kick to the dick!”. Not only do the commentators lap it up, but even the introductions to the monsters provide some laughs, with the mysterious Swamp Gut being the highlight. The swamp creature is introduced as if narrated by David Attenborough on one of his nature programmes! Then there is the almost Mortal Kombat type feel to the fights when big moves are used: Lance Henriksen provides these voice-overs, and hearing such an iconic, gritty voice announce “great!!” or “superb” highlights the films tongue-in-cheek style. There are flaws though, major major flaws but in all honesty I don’t think anyone involved cares. The Cyclops never blinks in a clearly fake mask, the matches apparently have no rules yet the referee (when he has his chance) has to tell the fighters to listen to his instructions, but I won’t go on because this can be looked upon at nit-picking. No one here care’s if things don’t appear real, no one cares about authenticity and no one bloody cares if the film is all over the place.
This is a silly movie for fans of wrestling, monsters and those just looking to escape their everyday lives for 90 minutes. There is nothing special here, nothing that will amaze or dazzle, this is a very grounded, very simple horror comedy that will please those who want a laugh and are happy to watch something which is a bit rubbish, full of nonsense yet full of heart. Monster Brawl is fun, simple as that, and if what I have described sounds like your kind of movie, then you should really enjoy this madness!