Monster Brawl (2011)

Rating:

Canada. 2011.

Crew

Director/Screenplay – Jesse Thomas Cook, Story – Jason David Brown & Jesse Thomas Cook, Producers – Jesse Thomas Cook, John Geddes & Matt Wiele, Photography – Brendan Uegama, Music – Todor Kobakov, Visual Effects Supervisor – Keith LaPlume, Makeup Effects – The Brothers Gore (Supervisors – Jason Derushie & Jeff Derushie), Production Design/Monster Design – Jason David Brown. Production Company – The Age of Shovelry

Cast

Dave Foley (Buzz Chambers), Art Hindle (Sasquatch Sid Tucker), Robert Maillet (Frankenstein), Jimmy Hart (Himself), R.J. Skinner (The Werewolf/The Mummy), Jason David Brown (Swamp Gut/Cyclops/Cyril Haggard), Rico Montana (Zombie Man), Kelly Couture (Lady Vampire), Holly Letkeman (Witch Bitch), Kevin Nash (Colonel Crookshanks), Ari Millen (Dr Igor Igora), Herb Dean (Himself), Jason Deline (Herb Blackburn), Christopher Rutte (The Grub), John Geddes (Lieutenant Briggs), Mark Gibson (Agent Lawrence Dunn)


Plot

The Monster Brawl is being held in the Hillside cemetery in Michigan. Various famous monsters – Frankenstein’s monster, the werewolf, the mummy, a zombie, a female vampire, a cyclops, a swamp creature and a hideous witch – have been brought together. As the televised brawl begins, the creatures are pitted against one another in a series of to-the-death elimination matches in the wrestling ring.


Monster Brawl is the second film for Jesse Thomas Cook who had previously made the backwoods cannibalism horror Scarce (2008) and subsequently went onto the gonzo Septic Man (2013) and The Hexecutioners (2015). Jesse Thomas Cook is a Canadian director and he and co-producers John Geddes and Matt Wiele have worked together producing each other’s films, which so far include the likes of Exit Humanity (2011), Ejecta (2014) and Hellmouth (2014).

Monster Brawl comes with an amusing concept in which various Famous Monsters – the Frankenstein Monster, the wolfman, a zombie, a vampire woman, a witch, a mummy and a couple that are not really Famous Monsters but seem to be added to pad the matches out, a cyclops and a creature that is sort like a horror version of Swamp Thing – are pitted against one another in an elimination wrestling match. This is, you could argue, the logical extension of films such as Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (1943), Dracula vs Frankenstein (1971), Freddy vs. Jason (2003), AVP: Alien vs Predator (2004) et al – of going the step beyond seeing the various monsters brought together on a single bill, not unlike the headline names at a boxing/wrestling match, to literally pitting them against one another in the ring. Indeed, this is an idea that the Mexican Santo films have been doing for decades – placing various classic monsters up against the title masked hero in the ring in wrestling matches.

The film does much to mimic the nature of the televised wrestling match – from the ringside announcers, the monsters conducting pre-match posturing amid much in the way of hyperbolic threatening, the on-screen graphics, the managers and their use of illegal tactics when the referee’s back is turned. The film has even incorporated various people from the real-world WWE such as wrestler Kevin Nash who becomes a left field zombie nemesis at the end, Hulk Hogan’s manager former Jimmy Hart, referee Herb Dean and Canadian wrestler turned actor Robert Maillet who plays Frankenstein (which the film is careful to explain to us is the name of the creator before then going on to apply to the monster anyway).

Monster Brawl has a concept that holds a mild amusement for about five minutes. You have to notice various things – such as that other famous monsters like King Kong or any of the Japanese monsters have been eliminated, no doubt as the size disparity would have made the fight too uneven. Or that several of the elimination heats have been dropped. We see the monsters paired off and a winner declared in each match. Although, after we start with eight monsters and four initial matches, we jump to the end battle between Frankenstein and the wolfman where there should logically have been another heat, which would have paired Frankenstein and the wolfman against either Cyclops or Lady Vampire who vanish from the show after winning their rounds.

All of this would have made for an amusing short film. However, extended to a full-length film where almost the entire plot consists of the monsters getting into the ring and going through wrestling moves with one another makes for something not terribly interesting dramatically. Aside from brief flashbacks to tell the origin stories of each monster, there is almost no story to the film beyond watching the monsters engage in wrestling moves. Towards the end, a zombie outbreak overruns the wrestling arena but that is the only point that the film does anything to vary the format.



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