Monster Brawl (2012)

Directed By: Jesse T. Cook
Written By: Jesse T. Cook
Starring: Dave Foley
  Art Hindle
  Jimmy Hart
  Lance Henriksen
Monster Brawl

Monster Brawl is Marmite; you’re either going to love it or absolutely hate it. Unfortunately I hate Marmite (sorry). Monster Brawl is really really bad. It’s so bad, it’s barely a film. Feeling more like a rubbish dream dreamt by a child who’s seen too much wrestling and classic horror movies, Monster Brawl is a bumbling, ramshackle mess that is crushingly dull. A terrible idea, terribly executed.

Ever imagined what would happen if you had a wrestling match between a non-magical witch and a human-sized Cyclops? No? Neither had I. Unfortunately writer / director Jesse T. Cook must have envisaged this and decided to dedicate a film to mythical creatures having a professional wrestling tournament…

Witch Bitch, Mummy, Werewolf, Frankenstein, Zombie Man (don’t ask), Cyclops, Swamp Gut and Lady Vampire are announced to appear in the fabled Monster Brawl, an event so dangerous they’ve set it in a studio ancient cursed graveyard.

After 15 minutes of constant exposition (that feels like 45), including inexplicable flashbacks for two of the monsters, we’re finally launched into a fight. Despite the excitable build-up and promises of amazing fights-to-the-death we’re basically shown a wrestling match, albeit one with more lumbering about in costumes and a violent, sub-Mortal Kombat style finishing move.

Then we’re given flashbacks for the next two monsters, who then fight slowly and replicate some reasonable wrestling moves, then we’re given flashbacks for the next two monsters… etc… etc… until there’s a final fight between two monsters.

In-between these soulless fights, we’re given some yawn-worthy commentary by Dave Foley and Art Hindle and the occasional flash of voiceover by Lance Henriksen, who is apparently ‘God’ according to IMDB. What God is doing being the Big Brother voice in a monster beat ‘em up gameshow is beyond me… but then none of Monster Brawl makes much sense.

There is quite literally nothing right with Monster Brawl, from start-to-finish it’s almost unwatchably terrible. Everything is wrong. The score is utterly atrocious and patters along in the background like a bored afterthought, giving no indication of pace and leaving us with the near-constant voiceovers and commentating. The lack of studio audience makes the matches awkward viewings, especially when the ‘winners’ gesticulate their successes to an empty graveyard. It’s a little sad.

The dialogue feels improvised and bumbles out awkwardly from every single actor involved. The normally hilarious Dave Foley seems especially uncertain and when Cyclops announces “Honour is like an island. Rugged and without shores. Once you leave, you can never return” you know writer Jesse T. Cook had absolutely no idea what he was doing.

There is literally only one good line of dialogue in the entire film, and that’s this; “technically it’s Frankenstein’s monster, if you want to be a dick about it”. And that’s not even very funny. Now you’ve heard it, you don’t have to watch the film. You can thank me later.

Lance Henriksen sounds like he’s had his vocal chords programmed into Stephen Hawkins wheelchair and someone just presses buttons when they need him to say ‘spectacular’ or ‘exceptional’ or ‘discombobulating’ (seriously) in the most pissed-off tone imaginable. It’s awful.

Absurdly the commentary sometimes pre-empts the action instead of reacts to it, it’s that badly edited.  In fact, by the end you have a feeling Dave Foley is literally the only person watching this multi-monster punch-up. It’s all a little bit sad.

Wrestling legend Jimmy Hart also wins the worst-actor-of-the-year award in a pointless role where he stands around with two ring-girls, sounding like a broken chipmunk. It’s dismal stuff. At least Herb Dean is killed off early… lucky bastard.

Monster Brawl is not a feature film. It is a series of fights you might’ve re-enacted in your head when you were fifteen. Somehow this has made its way onto a screen and it’s every bit as ridiculous as you’d imagine. Unfortunately there is also no storyline, no character and literally zero horror. Give this film the people’s elbow and knock it out of the ring – it’s not worth even thinking about.

Rating: ★½☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

3 Comments on “Monster Brawl”

  1. Rawrsetta says:

    Having not watched the film (quelle surprise) i don’t really have any contextual basis to agree or disagree with your analysis – but do you think the premise of the film in itself is a good one? could it have been executed in such a way with perhaps a different director that would have made it a worthwhile watch, even if it was still in it’s very nature totally ridiculous? Sarah, Phil and I were discussing the merits of potential re-makes of awful films in our latest Gorementary, just wondered what your thoughts were?

    • Scullion says:

      Interesting question (and by ‘interesting’ I mean ‘difficult’!)! Monster Brawl could’ve been a fantastic and hilarious mockumentary / wrestling tournament if someone had taken time to create even ONE character you gave a shit about! Essentially if they had focussed on the Werewolf character and made him a really decent bloke (with an unfortunate affliction) needing to raise money (for whatever reason) then you’d actually care about him… but unfortunately each monster’s backstory is generic and pointless and then they have a brief fight (and live or die. Doesn’t really matter). Unfortunately Monster Brawl does exactly what it says on the tin and nothing else; monsters fight for a bit. There’s room for hilarious mock-adverts (they constantly talk about cutting away to the commercial break) but they never appear and the commentary is seriously uninspired when it should’ve been bonkers and hilarious. I guess my answer is ‘Yes!’ – this could’ve been done better and turned out ace, but it all boils down to a total script rewrite.

  2. Matt Blythe says:

    Sounds like all you need to do is watch the ‘Fight Club’ episode of Angel, then play Speedball 2 (whilst drunk enough that the two blur into one) to achieve a similar; and yet much more rewarding experience.

    Phew, that was a long sentence.

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