‘Monster Brawl’ is a strange genre gimmick

Courtesy of Image Entertainment

If you’ve ever wanted to see a horror movie and professional wrestling match come together into an indescribable mashup, then Monster Brawl will delight  you to no end. For everyone else, this strange 88-minute flick, featuring David Foley, Kevin Nash and the voice of Lance Henriksen, is far too odd an adventure to enjoy.

The premise is painfully simple. There’s really no plot or propulsion for the story. The entire movie is set around a wrestling tournament that pits several horror monsters against one another. There’s Frankenstein, Zombie Man, The Mummy, Werewolf, Lady Vampire, Witch Bitch, Swamp Gut and Cyclops (carefully selected, I’m sure, for copyright reasons). The contestants are split between heavyweights and lightweights (there’s not much of a distinction between the two). The action is set up like a Pay-Per-View event, with Foley’s Buzz Chambers and Art Hindle’s Sasquatch Sid Tucker providing annoying commentary to all the kicks and punches.

The professional wrestling matches, hosted by the legendary Jimmy Hart, feel just like a WWE main title bout. There’s the snazzy music, smoke machines, elaborate entrances and signature moves.

The one thing that Monster Brawl has going for it is the eerie graveyard where the wrestling ring is located. The creature effects for many of the characters are also quite impressive. But the horror visuals are completely wasted on the ridiculous storyline.

Although we receive backstories on each character, the focus remains on the wrestling and less on the horror. There’s a strange Mortal Kombat feel to many of the match-ups, with Henriksen offering his one-liners like this were a video game. (I could just imagine him saying “Combo” when a great move succeeds.)

For all its stupidity, there’s something marginally fun about Monster Brawl. Writer-director Jesse T. Cook is obviously passionate about his subject matter, and he tries his hardest to lace in some comedy bits. Even though the movie tries too hard and can never overcome its limitations, Monster Brawl can alternately be viewed as perfectly smooth Kool-Aid for those willing to take a drink.

By John Soltes / Publisher / John@HollywoodSoapbox.com

  • Monster Brawl

  • 2012

  • Written and directed by Jesse T. Cook

  • Starring David Foley, Kevin Nash, Jimmy Hart and Lance Henriksen (voice)

  • Running time: 88 minutes

  • Not Rated

  • Rating: ★★☆☆

John Soltes

John Soltes is an award-winning journalist. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Earth Island Journal, The Hollywood Reporter, New Jersey Monthly and at Time.com, among other publications.

E-mail him at john@hollywoodsoapbox.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *