Let’s face facts – we love it when iconic badasses gang up for a cinematic experience. Jason vs. Freddy, Godzilla vs. King Kong, The Monster Squad…. Teaming up our favorite villains (theoretically) gives us the most bang for the buck and it has been used in everything from superhero films (X-Men: United) to comedies (Bud Abbot and Lou Costello meet Frankenstein).
This idea is not lost on writer/director Jesse T. Cook who has gathered together 8 favorite personalities in the new film, Monster Brawl. In this sure to be an instant cult classic, Frankenstein, The Wolfman, Witch Bitch, Swamp Gut, Cyclops, The Mummy, Lady Vampire and a Zombie square off against each other in a fight to the death wrestling tournament inside a cursed graveyard.
The brawl plays out like an HBO boxing special with the monsters being split into Dead and Undead categories then further classified based on their weight class. The bracket format tournament’s play-by-play announcers Dave Foley (News Radio) and Art Hindle (Black Christmas) introduce each fighter after a background highlight reel narrated by Lance Henricksen gives us insight into each competitor. Then both fighters have their tale-of-the-tape stats revealed before entering the ring as announced by WWF icon Jimmy Hart.
It’s a fight to the death and first round matches begin with Cyclops going against Witch Bitch in a match that split audience support down the middle and had the theatre shaking with crowd pleasing approval cheers.
Mixed Martial Arts referee Herb Dean has a cameo and got the second biggest ovation after Robert Maillet’s (300) Frankenstein who was clearly the fan favorite going into his match against Zombie Man.
Putting a horror hungry audience ringside to experience their favorite dead and undead creatures fighting for the ultimate title belt was an experience we won’t soon forget. Applause from an accepting audience had arms extended over their heads in pure genre basking glee and side bets were heard wagered by audience appreciators on both sides of the aisles.
Programmers could not have found a better opening film for the festival which brings the best of horror, science fiction, action and cult films to a group of accepting spectators. Jesse T. Cook took the drunken conversation of ‘who would win against who in a death match’ and choreographed it with exciting professional wrestling scenes that were as good or better than anything you will see in the WWE.
Make-up effects were top rate and the mix of comedy provided by Foley and Hindle was a welcome addition to an already winning formula.
It’s rare that we get to screen a film and instantly believe what we are watching is a future cult classic, but that is exactly our sentiments after Monster Brawl’s Toronto premiere.