Movie Review: Monster Brawl (2011)

Monster Brawl (2011) Review - Movie Poster

If you take your pro wrestling seriously, you may hate Monster Brawl. If you take your horror seriously, you may hate it even more. 

If, on the other hand, you've got a good sense of humour and can laugh at some of the more ridiculous things that pass for entertainment, then you may just find this 2011 horror comedy starring Kevin Nash and Jimmy Hart to be a great deal of fun.

Like Celebrity Deathmatch combined with the goofiest parts of the Evil Dead franchise and the most over-the-top elements of pro wrestling, Monster Brawl is ridiculous, far-fetched and at times, quite terrible.

However, it's terrible in a kind of so-bad-it's-good way, which already makes it way better than last week's movie, Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies, which was just terrible in a so-bad-it's-awful way.

The most interesting thing about this movie is that it's hardly a movie at all.

There's no real plot to speak of and certainly no character development, but that isn't really the criticism it would be if it were applied to a different film.

You see, rather than being a traditional movie, Monster Brawl is basically a fictionalized pro wrestling show with monsters, ghouls, and The Mouth of South as a hyperactive ring announcer.
As such, it's probably best if we review it just like any other pro wrestling event...

*This review contains spoilers*

Monsters Shall Shape the Fortune of All Mankind

Monster Brawl (2011) Review - Buzz Chambers (Dave Foley) and Sasquatch Sid (Art Hindle)

All good pro wrestling shows begin with an opening video package, and Monster Brawl is certainly no different.

With eerie music playing, our event gets underway by giving us a quick glimpse at the various competitors as an ominous voice tells us that these ghosts, goblins, and ghouls have been summoned to fight and that somehow, this means that monsters shall shape our future.

Yeah, I don't get that either, nor is it explained by our announce team Buzz Chambers (Dave Foley) and 'former champion' Sasquatch Sid (Art Hindle).

Introducing Your Competitors 

What the duo does tell us is that tonight, we'll see eight fiendish foes battle it out in two distinct 'conferences.'

Monster Brawl (2011) Review - Witch Bitch played by Holly Letkeman (Rosemary)

With such imaginatively creative names as Zombie Man, Lady Vampire, Mummy, and Frankenstein, it's probably fair to say that the writers of this low-rent monster mash probably weren't at their peak when they came up with characters for the Undead Conference.

The addition of Werewolf, Cyclops, and Swamp Gut in the Creatures Conference isn't much better, though to be fair, this group does give us the wonderfully named Witch Bitch. 

Honestly, that maybe my favorite wrestling name since Razor Ramon Hard Gay.

I love it because it leaves absolutely no doubt as to what her character is supposed to be. She's a witch, right? But not just any witch. She's also -get this- a bitch!

I'm already rooting for her to win the whole thing, and we haven't even gotten to the ring yet.

Nor will we for some time.

Introducing The Mouth of the South 

Monster Brawl (2011) Review - Jimmy Hart arrives on the scene

Of course, you can't have a pro wrestling show without a ring announcer, which is apparently why Jimmy Hart was hired.

In fairness to Hart, he's hilarious here, arriving at the graveyard arena on a cart being pulled by some kind of hunchback troll.

"Come on, baby, step on it. I'm gonna be late for the Monster Brawl!" he cries in a way that manages to effortlessly blend The Mouth of the South character you know from TV into a cornball horror setting.

Finally arriving on the scene, Hart can barely contain his excitement about what we're about to witness.

"Tonight, we're gonna have a blistering, bickering brawl, a devastating, disgusting donnybrook, and a freakish, full-on FRACKAS!" he shrieks with such unabashed enthusiasm that you can't help but smile.

God bless Jimmy Hart. This is great.

The Genesis of Monster Brawl

What's not so great is Jimmy's first assignment of the evening, a sitdown interview with 'unemployed, small-town wrestling promoter' Jacob Blackburn (Jason Deline), who tells us that he put together tonight's event because he loves wrestling and monsters.

I get it. This is supposed to give you some backstory to the event, but there are two problems with it:

1: It's so boring that even Jimmy Hart visibly yawns on camera.

2: It kind of takes away from the idea that this is some kind of mystical, supernatural gathering of creatures summoned by a higher power.

Still, this is a movie featuring an obese swamp creature and a werewolf, so maybe I shouldn't read too much into things.

We also get a minute of Sasquatch Sid interviewing our referee for the evening, legit UFC official Herb Dean.

Dean tells us that there are basically no rules tonight. His job is to 'cut down on groin shots' and stop managers from interfering.

Finally, we get down to our opening contest.

Cyclops vs. Witch Bitch 

Monster Brawl (2011) Review - Cyclops vs. Witch Bitch

Well, I mean, we kind of do.

Before the bell, Monster Brawl sets up the format that will run throughout the show:

Backstories for each combatant, a promo from each combatant, and finally, some in-ring action.

In this universe, Cyclops is apparently a Scottish blacksmith who traded his eyes to Hades for the ability to see the future and has regretted it ever since. Meanwhile, Witch Bitch comes from a small town in Massachusetts yet for some reason speaks with a cockney accent.

She agrees to join the tournament after being called -and I quote- "The worst witch ever!" by the local townsfolk. 

I mean as if it wasn't bad enough being a witch, now you're the worst witch ever? No wonder she was pissed off and looking to fight something.
Monster Brawl (2011) Review - Cyclops cuts a promo on Witch Bitch

Admittedly, the promos are pretty great.

"Normally, I would not fight woman," admits Cyclops, who apparently did a Kofi Kingston and dropped his accent for no reason..."But this witch...IS A BITCH!"

Yeah! Right on!

Eventually, we get to the ring for our opening match 17 minutes into the show.

Honestly, it's like watching a mid-90sWCW show all over again. 

Both fiends come out swinging before Witch Bitch hits her foe with what Sasquatch Sid brilliantly calls 'a dirty kick to the dick.'

True to his word, Herb Dean tells her off. So, after getting her face pummelled in by a hammer-wielding Cyclops, she pulls out a rusty meat cleaver and slits the official's throat.

Alas, even a murder weapon can't save the Bitch. A few moments later, Cyclops blasts her in the face with a frickin laser beam from his eye, setting a record for Most Bullshit Match Finish that wouldn't be broken until Hell in a Cell 2019.
Your Winner: Cyclops

It's at this point that I should probably point out that Witch Bitch is played by Holly Letkeman, better known to you and me as former Impact Knockouts Champion Rosemary.

The Mummy vs. Lady Vampire

Monster Brawl (2011) Review - MILF Alert (Mummy I'd Like to Find)

Lady Vampire's backstory is that, well, she's a lady vampire who sounds a bit like the late, great Luna Vachon. Meanwhile, the Mummy (rumored to be that of King Khafre) manages to escape from a museum, prompting the local news to issue a MILF alert.

No, you misunderstand. That stands for Mummy I'd Like to Find.


Monster Brawl (2011) Review - Lady Vampire (Kelly Couture)

Speaking of genius, if this were an actual pro wrestling show, Lady Vampire vs. The Mummy would probably pick up match of the night honours, not because it was a five-star classic or anything, but just because it contains some honest-to-goodness wrestling moves.

You ever wanted to see a mummy bodyslam a vampire, or a vampire hit a mummy with a running bulldog, man, this is the show for you!

Ultimately, however, it wasn't pro wrestling that wins the match for the femme fatale. Instead, she reaches into the Mummy's body and pulled out his black heart.
Your Winner: Lady Vampire

"Your Winner, black heart removal, Lady Vampire,"  says an ominous voice, the same ominous voice that would occasionally chime in throughout the matches with words like 'Majestic' or 'Brutal' like something out of Mortal Kombat.

The Action Continues...

Moving into the heavyweight division, Werewolf defeats the comically named Swamp Gut.

Imagine if the comic book character Swamp Thing stopped caring and gained 200 lbs. That's pretty much what Swamp Gut is.

Here, he gets his ass kicked by a charismatic wolf-man character who ultimately goes on to the final to face the winner of our last first-round contest:

Zombie Man vs. Frankenstein.

Monster Brawl (2011) Review - Kevin Nash as Captain Crookshank with Zombie Man (Rico Montana)

It's here where things get interesting...

...Or at least as interesting as Monster Brawl ever gets.

Zombie Man, you see, is the result of a government experiment overseen by a seven-foot-tall army major who once answered to the name of Big Daddy Cool Diesel.

Tonight, Zombie Man locks up with Frankenstein, played by Robert Mallet. If that name doesn't sound familiar to you, you probably know him better as Kurrgan, a member of The Oddities who last appeared here on Retro Pro Wrestling in our Summerslam 1998 review.

Anyway, despite the best efforts of Nash's Colonel Crookshank, his Zombie Man is overthrown by FrankenKurgan, who heads into a final showdown with Werewolf.

To his credit, Nash really gets into the character and delivers one of the best performances of the whole non-movie, but even the man who once played Super Shredder is outperformed in this movie by Jimmy Hart.

I'm serious.

Monster Brawl (2011) Review - Jimmy Hart with his ring girls

With two scantily-clad ring girls by his side the whole time, Hart's unbridled enthusiasm and energy are a joy to behold, yet it's the announcers who really steal the show.

As Buzz and Sasquatch, Foley and Hindle are frequently hysterical, with their commentary more than making up for most of Monster Brawl's glaring flaws.

And trust me, this movie has more than its fair share of those.

Despite only clocking in at an hour and twenty minutes, the terribly slow pace of this film makes it seem as though it just drags on forever.

Add in some questionable writing, a distinct lack of narrative, and the fact you can clearly tell Swamp Gut is just some guy in an ill-fitting mask, and it's easy to write off Monster Brawl as a really bad movie.

Yet to do so would be to miss the point.

No, Monster Brawl is never going to be regarded as a classic movie. Hell, it's barely even a movie, but it is ridiculously entertaining, often hilarious, and probably the most fun you'll ever have watching a Kurrgan match.

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