It’s not often that a budget release has more than one film I’ve been wanting to see and was unable to find on any streaming services, and even less often that a majority of the film’s made it totally worth it for me to have the set in my collection. Here’s a quick rundown of the 4 mostly satisfying films in this pack.
MONSTER BRAWL (2011)
There are names—Lance Henriksen as the narrator, comedian Dave Foley and Art Hindle (Black Christmas, The Brood) as sportscasters.
We are introduced to our awesome monsters—Witch Bitch, The Cyclops, Lady Vampire, The Mummy, Swamp Gut, Werewolf, Zombie Man, and Frankenstein.
And then…it’s 90 minutes of cheesy wrestling/ultimate fighting in a graveyard boxing ring, presented as a television match.
There’s no plot; each monster just fights to the death. Visually it’s awesome, and the battles are fun, but it’s not as funny as it could be, even though it has its moments.
The ultimate moment is when a horde of zombies “chases” Frankenstein. It’s like the blind leading the blind…I mean, the undead chasing the undead.
And to balance out the scantily clad babes hanging off the host of the match, there’s The Colonel.
“Colonel! What are you going to do with that finger? Wait…don’t tell me.
I’m going to close my eyes, turn around, drop my pants,
and bend over so it will be a surprise.”
He’s a man who gets in on the action because he has a beef with Frankenstein. He also has BEEF in general, because he’s wrestler Kevin Nash, who werks the runway in Magic Mike.
WEREWOLF RISING (2014)
This is a fun and simple werewolf indie that strikes me as a sort of low budget version of The Howling.
The openers features indie horror king Bill Oberst Jr. in the woods, werewolf POV, and an attack.
Then we meet our main girl, adorable Melissa Carnell (Humans vs. Zombies, Boggy Creek), a young woman who comes to stay at a house in a rural area. She finds company in an older man she already knows, and a younger dude who says he’s a caretaker…but she is warned to stay away from by the older guy.
But who can she really trust? For both men seem to have other motives…
The minimal number of characters and locations works in creating the sense of isolation here, and a simple plot, werewolf attacks scenes, and the non-CGI werewolf make this a tight little creature feature with an 80s throwback feel.
It’s the final scenes of werewolf attacks and chases—Including a random encounter with a naked woman in the woods—that really amp up the worth of watching this one. And take note that there’s an after credits scene.
THE BLACK WATER VAMPIRE (2014)
On the face of things, this appears to be a total rip-off of The Blair Witch Project. Difference is, after all the documentary moments, interviews with locals, and hanging out in tents, this film brings on the suspense and scares and you actually get to see the monster referenced in the title.
The kids are doing a documentary on murders in the woods over four decades…all the bodies had bites and no blood.
Bill Oberst Jr. gets a short scene as the man in jail for the crimes. Then the kids head into the woods and camp out in tents despite the fact that there’s snow everywhere and it appears to be freezing out.
With 20 minutes remaining, shit gets insane, with a Salem’s Lot looking vampire chasing them through the woods. If you’re going to imitate a vampire with your awesome special effects makeup, you can’t do much better than giving a nod to Salem’s Lot.
Not only do the chase and attack scenes make this a totally satisfying, actual horror experience, but there is a great fucked up, unexpected scene near the end.
HUNTING THE LEGEND (2014)
Oh well. No budget DVD 4-pack is perfect. This one is the thorn in this monster multipack’s side.
If you want to point at a pointless found footage film, this is the one. Which makes it much closer to The Blair Witch Project than The Black Water Vampire.
A guy who saw a Bigfoot kill his father when he was a kid drags some friends back to the location to prove the creature exists. They interview a bunch of people who have encountered the creature, they have a few sensory encounters with the beast, they find some dead animals hanging from trees, and eventually they all die off screen at the hands of a Bigfoot we never see.
And yet…this film is still better paced and more interesting than that witch flick that started this whole craze to begin with…
Seriously filmmakers, stop trying to make found footage Bigfoot movies. The only one that needs to exist IS Exists.