Monster Brawl [Blu-Ray] Jesse T. Cook

Monster Brawl [Blu-Ray] Jesse T. Cook
To call Monster Brawl a feature film would be both generous and somewhat misleading. By intent, this low budget Canadian ode to schlocky '80s sports entertainment (popularly referred to as professional wrestling) and D-grade monster movies is presented as just what its title implies: a televised monster wrestling event. After inexplicably disembodied introductory narration by Lance Henriksen, ringside announcers Buzz Chambers (underused comedic treasure Dave Foley, Kids in the Hall) and Sasquatch Sid Tucker (Art Hindle) take over, explaining the background and rules of the secret, graveyard-set monster mash-up showdowns about to commence. Writer/director Jesse Thomas Cook pads the sequence of matches that comprise the majority of the film's runtime with background segments for each of the combatants and traditional WWE-style trash talking. Despite a few nascent and short-lived feuds between beasts, there's little narrative trajectory beyond concern for how much booze Buzz Chambers downs as generic iterations of famous monsters pound each other to death with a mix of mythical powers and classic wrestling manoeuvres. The creatures themselves, lazily named Lady Vampire, Werewolf, Zombie Man, Mummy, Swamp Gut, Witch Bitch, Cyclops and Frankenstein (disappointingly not the doctor, but the designation typically given to his creation by the undiscerning), are played by amateur wrestlers, with the exception of Robert Maillet (Sherlock Holmes, 300), whose imposing physical presence made him an obvious candidate for everybody's favourite misunderstood fleshy patchwork lightning rod. Among the shoddy rubber suits and mediocre make up are a smattering of chuckles for viewers with a nostalgic affection for the especially cheesy delivery of old-school wrestling and a few decently executed moments of gore, though not nearly enough to make Monster Brawl feel like a wise investment of time. The special features add little of substance or interest, unless you're fond of poorly spoken people dolling out generic pleasantries over typical behind-the-scenes footage, or happen to have a connection to the shooting location of Collingwood, Ontario. "Tales From the Hart" is a series of rambling, repetitive outtakes from old school wrestling loudmouth Jimmy Hart (playing himself) and a random anecdote about working with Andy Kaufman. A bland feature commentary with Jesse Thomas Cook and producers Matt Wiele and John Geddes does nothing to give the impression that this team had much of a plan beyond coming up with a way to satisfy fan boy urges and work with a few of their heroes. (Anchor Bay)