If you're going to make a movie about monsters wrestling, it's a good idea to have some professional monsters to help out. Barring any access to professional monsters, professional wrestlers will always do in a pinch. Enter director Jesse Thomas Cook and Monster Brawl, where you've got a graveside seat on cursed ground. Ladies and gentlemen, the contestants are entering the ring. Welcome to Hillside Necropolis. Welcome to Monster Brawl.
The movie stars Jimmy "The Hitman" Hart playing himself and doing a great job as host and emcee. Dave Foley (Kids in the Hall) and Art Hindle are announcers Buzz Chambers and Sasquatch Sid. Also along for the ride are Kevin Nash, Herb Dean and as the voice of God, Lance Henriksen. When the movie begins, we are introduced to the two fighting monster factions, The Undead and the Creature conferences. The Creatures include Cyclops, Witch Bitch, Werewolf and Swamp Gut, an obvious nod to Swamp Thing but of course, due to copyright issues, the names have been changed to protect the innocent. The Undead are the Mummy, Lady Vampire, Frankenstein and Zombie Man, who is managed by Kevin Nash doing a bit as a control freak named Colonel Crookshank. The Monsters are recruited to fight on this one special night to the death, which is quite interesting since some of them are already dead.
The first round is Cyclops vs Witch Bitch. During the introductions, we are magically transported back in time to ancient Greece for the Cyclops and to the Salem witch trials for Witch Bitch. Both are eager to fight for the title. The introductions use a video game-like side-by-side comparison to show off their skills. When they eventually enter the ring, it's a little odd. Anyone who regularly watches wrestling will miss the bright lights, pyro, and even the audience members. Surely the filmmakers could have allowed the illustrious citizens of Hillside Necropolis to join in the fun, shout for their favorites, scream for brains, or even toss in an extra limb or four. But I guess their invitations got lost in the mail. The fight commences with Witch Bitch getting reprimanded for a groin kick but Cyclops is allowed to use a sledgehammer in the ring. This reviewer will not divulge who wins; you'll just have to watch Monster Brawl for yourself.
The Brawl continues with matches being interspersed with origin stories, The Mummy vs Lady Vampire, Werewolf vs Swamp Gut, and Frankenstein vs Zombie Man. Meanwhile Dave Foley as announcer Buzz Chambers keeps swigging from a flask and I was sincerely hoping that he'd be slurring his words during the last match. Lance Henriksen's voice makes a cameo now and then to encourage the brawlers or chastise them for a lame move. The intros of Werewolf and Swamp Gut are worth mentioning: from New Jersey comes Werewolf, where the loss of his family during a rather tragic camping trip begins his transformation, and a visit to the "Quagmire Empire" of Louisiana by Grisly Planet is where we meet Swamp Gut. His environmental message is clear in his boasting of a take-down before the Heavyweight match. Then we move on to Pittsburgh where, appropriately enough, we get introduced to Zombie Man and then to Germany which, of course, is the home of Frankenstein, or Frankenstein's monster, if you want to get technical. Kevin Nash as Zombie Man's manager is supportive and the tension between him and Dr. Igora, Frankenstein's bestie, is put to the test in the ring.
But wait!! Here comes the audience! Yes, folks the living dead awaken to wreak havoc on these monster wrestlers who dare to disturb their final rest. The monsters run, the wrestlers flee in a panic and the announcers are attacked. By this point Dave Foley is twenty-one sheets to the wind and he and Sasquatch Sid have to fend off the disgruntled citizens of Hillside Necropolis. When all is set to rights again, the Final Heavyweight Championship match can begin and an all-out uncaged tombstone fight breaks out between the two remaining monsters. Again, you'll just have to watch Monster Brawl to find out who is involved.
Not being a die-hard wrestling fan I do admit to liking Monster Brawl. I do miss the lights, pyro, music, etc that one finds in a big, professional wrestling match, but the novelty of having monsters fight each other is a horror movie fan's dream come true. The costumes and makeup effects are fun and certainly a relief in a summer full of CGI clones. It's clear the filmmakers have a love for both horror and wrestling and their hard work to bring them together is commendable. Monster Brawl is fun for those who have ever had a conversation about their favorite monsters and wondered who would win in a fight. Thanks to Jesse Thomas Cook, now we know.
3 Remotes out of 5
Not Rated 89 minutes
2011 DVD extras include Jimmy Hart outtakes, behind the scenes making-of, and director and producer commentary