What caused the outbreak: A brief outbreak caused by Zombie Man’s loss.
Obligatory disembowelment scene? No
Zombie rules: Traditional head shot rules apply
Fast or Slow Zombies?: Slow
Running Time: 90 minutes
Sigh. When it comes to horror films we are usually willing, even happy, to put up with sub par material and/or performances. Therein lies the key issue with Monster Brawl. That and there’s quite a good idea lurking somewhere behind this disappointing feature.
So, the premise:
A couple of well known monsters and a bunch of unknown ones fight one on one matches to the death in an abandoned graveyard. I’m almost certain that the unknown characters are there for copyright reasons. So Frankenstein and The Mummy are in (even if it should be Frankenstein’s Monster…), plus Cyclops, Swamp Gut (er…), Lady Vampire, the generic Werewolf, Zombie Man and the Witch Bitch.
All of these are played, as far as I can tell, by professional wrestlers. It’s therefore a shame that the in-ring action is as woeful as it is. I don’t think it comes down to the performers as such, more the direction of the film. Each of the first round matches is preceded by a character introduction establishing how the creatures came to be at this fight. Some work, some don’t, so that’s a better position than the matches. It could have gone much further with the wrestling side of things, making the characters motivations… well, better written.
Matters aren’t helped by some lacklustre commentary. Non-wrestling fans won’t necessarily appreciate how a successful commentary team can make all the difference to a match. It’s especially helpful if they sound invested in the product. Here that is most definitely not the case. Dave Foley is joined on commentary by Art Hindle as Buzz Chambers and Sasquatch Sid respectively. Hindle’s not bad as the grizzled cowboy, but Foley is clearly reading a teleprompter. He doesn’t make much of an effort to turn the material into something entertaining, so more often than not you’re just waiting for him to shut up for a bit. Which never happens.
Don’t get me wrong. There are some half amusing gags throughout, and the presentation is quite solid. The gore, the practical effects – all impressive in isolation. They’re simply let down by poorly presented wrestling action and obviously polystyrene tombstones.
I’m only including this in my zombie reviews because there’s a brief moment where the dead rise in the graveyard, and one of the commentators gets bitten by a zombie. The zombies stick around and cause a bit of mayhem until the end, but otherwise they are most definitely presented as the main attraction. Their appearance is a welcome distraction regardless.
And then it ends on a cliffhanger. Because everybody wants to see a zombified Kevin Nash battle Frankenstein’s Monster. There’s more fun to be had in buying the DVD and watching The Mouth Of The South Jimmy Hart talking about his wrestling career. I think that tells you all you need to know.