Totally plotless MONSTER BRAWL punches us in the face with a fun but simple concept. The idea is that you turn on your television and watch a wrestling show like WWE but instead of professional wrestlers you are treated to monsters biting each others faces off. SOLD! The makers say it is classic eighties wrestling with classic eighties monsters and they are right. If you like those two things then MONSTER BRAWL will be an enjoyable experience. If you don't then you probably shouldn't be reading this blog.
MONSTER BRAWL excels past its budget limitations because of the talent behind and in front of the camera. Watch the behind the scenes documentary and see what everyone went through to get this movie made. It will give you a deeper appreciation for what you are seeing. For the most part the film achieves the goal of meshing classic monster movies with the excitement of a WWE showdown smashfest. The monsters look great and strategically placing familiar faces from the wrestling world like Kevin Nash and Jimmy Hart into key roles brings success to that goal. At one point Frankenstein and the Wolf Man are going at it in the cemetery busting tombstones over each other and giving us one heckola of a fight. Then it occurred to me that I was really watching Frankenstein and the Wolf Man fighting each other. MONSTER BRAWL suddenly develops a Universal Studios classic monsters movie vibe to it. That is a hard thing to do. Its a thrill to see these two fight to the death. They never really did in the old black and white movies. If they did it was way too short and not much to brag about. MONSTER BRAWL can brag about delivering two classic monsters in an epic fight to the death without it feeling like a cheap generic knock-off.
This is a funny movie. I don't really remember the humor getting too immature which is what I was expecting from this low budget opus. There is more imagination to the comedy. At one point a monster named Swamp Gut is being punched in his large belly and he puts his hands in front of his stomach. I immediately thought of King Hippo from the Nintendo game PUNCH-OUT. Then suddenly one of the announcers, Art Hindle makes the King Hippo reference. It was a good joke and I like jokes I get. There is more video game humor with Lance Henrikson doing narration chiming in like the voice that says "FATALITY" in MORTAL KOMBAT. Its a nice touch and there isn't a person alive that doesn't love Lance Henrikson.
Another nice touch is the back story to each monster. While most of MONSTER BRAWL takes place in a cemetery with a wrestling ring in the middle there are moments given to each monster that break away and add some surprisingly stunning visuals to the film. Director Jesse Thomas Cook shows what a truly great director he is by flexing his cinematic muscles during theses scenes. Every back story is visually different with unique spooky atmospheres representing the different kinds of movies each monster represents. I was really impressed. My two favorites were Swamp Gut's with the swamp marsh and the Lady Dracula's in her mansion behind a beautiful garden and tall hedges. It reminded me of a Hammer film from the sixties. The beautifully filmed back stories and great special effects makes the film look like it had a higher production value. Everyone involved should feel proud of what they accomplished.
I ended up having a fun time with this movie. I am not really even that big of a fan of wrestling. I will say that the ending was a little disappointing. They end it with that "Stay Tuned" ending which made me feel like I just sat down on a corkscrew got up to find a new place to sit only to sit down on another corkscrew. That was my only real gripe. Are they making a sequel? I hope so. Will I have to stay tuned for another ten years? They could have done better with that but otherwise MONSTER BRAWL makes good on what it promises. I will say that I do look forward to a sequel and whatever movie these guys decide to make next. Consider me a member of the Jesse Thomas Cook fan club. Good job everyone. Stay through the end credits.