From The Butler
Tonight's Sufferance- Monster Brawl
T'would only be fitting that after being promised by the good peoples of this manor a night off that one would sit back and relax with a good movie, preferably one in the mood of a good fight in the ring movie. You know, Queensberry Rules, that sort of thing! Settle down with a good pint and perhaps cheer on a decent underdog.
Of course the lovelies that I take care of here decided they would supply me a good fight movie for my enjoyment. They did assure me it would be like no other fight film I had ever seen.
What I was provided turns out to be not quite the mano-a-mano sort of thing but a combination of Wrestling, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and just plain whatever one could get away with.
The premise is this. Take a group of Monster both infamous and improvised and throw them into a ring to fight to the death. Starting off as a ladder match and set in a Necropolis hosted and presented to the viewers as a “Showdown for the Ages”. Set up into conferences of Undead and Creatures. Cleverly I must admit they try to use several Public Domain and famous creatures and then as close as one can get. And then as one of the great hosts they bring in a Mouth from the South Jimmy Hart. Yes I can already feel and taste the quality coming up.
Treated as a Pay per View special event, we're given short biographies of each competitor and then presented with our first events and our special referee Herb Dean from the UFC . Of course the dark comedy of this film quickly makes short work of the referee in a collateral damage strike by the first two contenders. Well they did say it was a Standard Death Match.
A touch of class is granted that our voice overs are provided by the great Lance Henriksen, lending a sense of gravity and seriousness to what is quickly a no holds barred wrestling and ultimate fighting challenge by the monsters. And so we begin. Time for another pint I think.
First we meet the Cyclops, striving to train and win the final battles. And then the more generic Witch Bitch, an unusual creature with a mix of classic Salem harlot and ugly hag. Trained by opportunistic wee troll trainer into a fighter, so in short its almost a foregone conclusion this is going to be a “jobber match” if I understand the term. With great fanfare from our Mouth of the South we get our two opponents called into the ring and get treated to a dirty tricks fight and beat down. This of course leads to the early demise of our referee Herb Dean, meaning we're to be treated to even more nasty beat-downs. Both our TV commentators note it can only get worse from here. Ding dong the witch is dead indeed. Another pint I fear at this point.
Now its time to look at the Undead conference, with now background on the Mummy who escapes from a museum to take part in the tournament. Soon followed with a look at our Lady Vampire, giving us a different and darker take on a Vampire legend. (One imagines they wanted a mean lady in leather literally Hell bent.) Entering the ring one is treated to a true battle of titans immortal using every trick in their books to try and triumph over the other. Final triumph goes to the monster that just wants it more in the end.
And now we get our next introduction to our next contenders, who we find is starting off with the latest in a long line of werewolves. And in our other corner we get introduced to the Swamp Gut, and disturbing creature that is a protector of nature in the bayou. A battle of the Creatures conference, this quickly delivers its promise to be a rather low and disgusting affair. Splattered across the ring the battle is soon decided, with the winner promised to be faced off against a winner from the heavy-weight conference of the Undead.
Now we are told the tales of the Undead conference heavy-weight challenges. A Zombie experiment from the government, and the classic Frankenstein monster needs little lead in, just a minor update to a creature we all know for this battle royale. And so brought to the ring are these two Undead horrors, with the addition that we know its hard to have just one Zombie. The trainers for the two monsters engage in their own personal battle, leading the raising of the Dead from the graveyard and unleashed on everything in the battle ring. The Mouth of the South and his beauties wisely make a quick retreat while the commentators find themselves defending themselves.
And thus finally our last battle of the ring. Werewolf against the Frankenstein. Both monsters holding grudges against the other for what they each represent. And in typical wrestling bravado they hype and taunt each other into the main event. Though this proves to be a sideshow to the ongoing background saga of our commentators dealing with the side effects of their zombie attack. Fortunately the final battle continues on outside the ring, leading a far more satisfying victorious conclusion. And in true horror fashion this is then followed by the horror tradition of a cliff-hanger of the monsters.
You know, this really isn't a half bad fight flick. Clearly there is a lot of love for the entire genre of not just the creatures and horrors themselves, but a strong love for the craziness that is the World Wrestling Federation and fighting games like Mortal Kombat in all their heyday and havoc. Not only is the the commentary witty and to be expected the battles themselves also pay good homage from the fighting genre that modern audiences have since taken for granted. I find myself smiling at this choice and enjoying it for what it is, a tribute film to everything that a kid growing up on this loved and dreamed of, taken to a very black comedy conclusion. My complements to a clever writer and the cast bringing their own love of the genres to the screen.
Well, I must say this has been a pleasant surprise. Now maybe I should take these tickets to this new theatre that the Mistress here has left here unused? What could possibly go wrong at a film premiere?