This review for the first Toronto After Dark Movie, Monster Brawl will likely be a fairly short review as I was not a fan of the movie and I feel that it really plays less like a movie and more like a pay per view event – the entire film is told in the language of character profiles, sports statistics and eventual the actual tournament matches with play by play commentary. I know this was what director Jesse T. Cook was going for, the film is an experiment as much as anything else, but I really felt the result was a tad hollow as a movie. We have announcers, Dave Foley and Art Hindle who are the high point for the film introducing and commentating each match. Prior to each match we get a short clip that details a bit of history about each of the monsters and that is it.
Lets first look at some of the good points of the movie. The costume design is extremely well done. Each of the monsters look perfect. The costumes are all done with practical effects and everyone from The Mummy to Frankenstein act, move and look like they should. Secondly, there are a few good jokes and puns throughout the movie. Most of these come from Hindle and Foley but there are a few jokes from the introduction clips and also the smack-down hyperbolic speeches that the monsters give that are quite funny, particularly if you grew up on the cartoonish rhetoric of the WWF. Third, there are a few good kills and having Lance Henrikson doing the Mortal Kombat FATAL-VICTORY voice was more amusing than it ought to be and puts Monster Brawl in as much territory as a Arcade up-right fighting game as it is mired in sports language. Somehow without being actually present on-screen Henrikson (in all his gravelly glory) is one of the films chief assets. Finally, while I have my complaints about the lack of an audience at the pay per view the wrestling set the graveyard is quite well done.