Raging Nerdgasm Movie review – Monster Brawl

I’ve already admitted to being a 80s and 90s wrestling nerd, I loved the outlandish characters and entertaining stories. I also admitted to being a huge dork when it comes to the classic monsters so when I heard rumblings of a movie from a few years ago that mixed those two elements together I thought, “Sounds pretty groovy, I’m down for it.” Luckily my curiosity was quenched with my subscription to NetFlix and it was showtime….Monster Brawl.

 (Monsters plus wrestling? What could go wrong?)

Monster Brawl starts off looking like something just this side of a junior college film project. The shots are a little more revealing than they should be and the close ups are not clean, think SyFy channel movies from 2 years ago or more. The concept is a supernatural wrestling promotion that pits legendary monsters against each other for the bragging rights of heavy weight champion of whatever the fuck they made up. Surprisingly the star power isn’t too shabby with Dave Foley, Art Hindle and Lance Hendrickson (well, in voice only but they must have paid him well for his Mortal Kombat-esque commentary). There’s also a handful of wrestlers in the movie like Kevin Nash, Robert Maillet, Jimmy Hart and Herb Dean (OK, he’s MMA famous but still) but I don’t officially commit to calling them star acting power. According to IMDB the budget was a conservative 200K in Canadian dollars so it looks like they really spent every penny on discount Halloween props and Red Bull energy drinks.

(This is what I got the displeasure of seeing.)

The premise is 8 classic monsters face off in a battle to the death to establish who is the number one biggest badass in the supernatural world. And they do so in a wrestling ring, ala’ WWF style. I’m fond of Asylum Entertainment’s movies (like Sharktopus or Ghost Shark or Sharknado) but this sounds like the crap I would come up with as a little kid playing with my action figures when I decided I was bored using Macho Man to fight Hulk Hogan. The explanation isn’t rushed, it’s partially missing. For lack of better terms, Dave Foley trips through the exposition like a one legged man playing hopscotch in a mine field. I don’t think it was his fault though, he probably couldn’t do much with what script there was if it wasn’t fully ad-lib to begin with.

(Once you see the amateur effects, you can’t unsee the zippers and cosmetics.)

Each monster gets a rather rushed backstory and the “fights” are really slow moving. This is a premise that would have done better turned into a webisode series. The only redeeming part of any of the fights is Lance Hendrickson’s commentary during the fights as an unseen entity. Think the voice in Mortal Kombat that would laugh or say “superb” or “excellent”. Many of the monsters have special powers they never really explained, they mention the powers just moments before the character uses it. Did you know the Cyclops has an energy beam he shoots from his eye? Well neither did I until seconds before he blew away some hideous hag cleverly named Witch Bitch.

(I expected so much just based on the concept and these promotional posters.)

And then there’s the monsters. Cyclops, Frankenstein, Zombie Man, Witch Bitch, Swamp Gut, Werewolf, Lady Vampire and the Mummy. All of those monsters I was moderately OK with until they mentioned Swamp Gut. What’s a Swamp Gut? Well, take the Sasquatch and mix in Creature from the Black Lagoon and Swamp Thing. Then crap it out and look at the abomination that’s been born. Needless to say I think it’s a weak character that could have been easily replaced with another pseudo knock off monster. And I’m not sure who’s costume was worse, Swamp Gut or Cyclops. Both characters you can see parts of the guy in the costume under the bad special effects make-up. Like I said, the movie spent the budget at a Spirit Halloween store on November 1st.

(What I was hoping for versus what I got.)

If you have 89 minutes to waste and a few beers to kill, I suggest either watching this movie or maybe doing something to better yourself. Click the link below to see a list of worthwhile movies that also last 89 minutes or less. The top one is Zombieland, which is an enjoyable Halloween-y film if that’s your style.

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Thrashor figure from 8-Bit Zombie

At the end of July, well known 80s nostalgia website 8-Bit Zombie debuted their Summer releases. Those not familiar with 8-Bit Zombie should really go check them out; the site is full of original artwork plastered on all kinds of merchandise from t-shirts to stickers and hats and posters. Think of it and they’ve probably made a joke on it; Nintendo, cartoons like Thundercats, GI Joe and He-Man, kitschy cult movies and TV shows. They even parodied Garbage Pail Kids, which is something like a parody within a parody inception bullshit that makes my head hurt just trying to figure out that equation. Anyways, the guys at 8-Bit Zombie have always been have always been on my watch list since they were mentioned on x-entertainment about a year ago. Since then the artwork done by the guys has had my full attention, this is the kind of thing I can get in deep with because I love all the stupid stuff from the 80s with a strange passion. It’s somewhere between love-hate and snuggle fuck if I had to verbalize my infatuation with that era.

 

 

Since following them on the social media feeds, I found out they were making a limited edition action figure. With everything else I loved about their site I knew I’d have to buy one when the first pictures showed up. Thrashor, based on their t-shirt design from the previous summer had been realised as a legit fully sculpted figure. What’s Thrashor? Thrashor is a He-Man-esque knock off designed in true 8-Bit Zombie fashion. Snapback hat, blue jeans vest, high tops with mid calf socks, Nintendo Power Glove on the right hand complete with He-Man pageboy hairstyle encompassing his zombie facial features and Masters of the Universe loincloth this toy was sure to be a big hit in my mind. I know I got up an hour before it was scheduled to drop and I hadn’t done this in years, I don’t get up early for internet exclusives but I had set my mind on getting this toy come hell or high water.

I refreshed the page till he popped up and in retrospect I feel like I should have bought a second one because it’s so rad. I must have been there at the right time, the first run is limited to 50 pieces and mine is number 4 of 50 (my buddy one county north of me got number 5) and when it arrived I felt like a kid, no joke. I hadn’t anticipated the arrival of a new toy like this in forever, the box was stamped all over with previous designs from 8-Bit Zombie, images like My Pet Monster and Madballs with the Power Glove and Ruppies from Legend of Zelda. Inside Thrashor lay inside of a poly-bag filled with stickers and a sharp looking logo card. Under Thrashor was another little baggie with a handful of more stickers, 80s trading cards, 3 8-Bit Zombie buttons and a red Buffalo Man from M.U.S.C.L.E. Thrashor wasn’t going to last long being mint in package, toys were meant to be opened and opening is exactly what was going to fucking happen.

 

Freed from his baggie, Thrashor stands 5 inches tall and from what I can tell is made in two parts and joined at the waist. He’s a very pleasing color, a sickly putrid slime green that you would see on an early Nickelodeon game show before they started to suck. There’s no articulation but if you’re a crafty motherfucker you can find places to separate the figure and make him move with a little ingenuity. He comes with a scaled skateboard in the same awesome green color with a really bad ass looking 8-bit Skeletor skull and crossbones motif. The sculpt is just this side of totally amazing and the price was 100% right. Thrashor retails for around $50 which is a steal for an art toy like this, most art toys start at $90 and get progressively more expensive. I always been at those crossroads when getting into designer toys, I love some of these great designs from artist I admire but I can’t possibly afford to toy hunt for vintage toys and buy their stuff too. I think it’s just great because we have aspirations of creating our own toy and it proves they can be made affordable enough that everyone has a chance at them.

 

 

 more pictures here from your friends at Raging Nerdgasm   <—-click that!

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Now I’m playing with power

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By the power of Skeletor!


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Thrashor


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My irrational love for the Presidential Monsters figures- another Raging Nerdgasm moment

(Just a friendly reminder of where you are)

It wasn’t too long ago when I showed off the set of Presidential Monster figures I ordered just before I broke my shoulder earlier this year. Since then, they have quickly become one of my more favorite possessions as of late. Which is saying a lot to be honest because I don’t normally dig newer toys. I think  part of the fact they stuck with me so much is because they are a specialty item only available through limited markets. With secondary market prices on the rise and a piece I read on strangekidsclub.com , the desire for a set of these figures became a dire need and superseded just about everything I was actively hunting down at that very moment. Through a course of fortunate events, mostly because eBay prices were creeping out of my price range, I met a man who led me to his website where he sold complete sets for retail prices. He also happened to be the proprietor of Heroes in Action , the main website for the Presidential Monsters line.

(man, just watching this makes my shoulder hurt again)

To be honest, there is plenty of reasons why this line really struck a cord with me. Mainly I was stuck at home for the better part of a month in a brace and unable to reach my collection and these were the only things I could see on a regular basis without bugging my wife. When I feel bad, I like to surround myself with things that make me happy as I’m sure a few readers do too. I bought them at first for the novelty and figured eventually I’d probably flip them for a decent return since the value of a complete set was constantly on the rise. But getting to sit and study them for a lengthy amount of time, I grew to really appreciate the detail behind each figure. From the patterns on the cloth used for each figure to the scales, fur and rotting skin sculpted on the faces and hands; these were something of an unsung masterpiece in the toy world. Why doesn’t anyone sing the praises of these marvelous toys?

(I guess there was no need for this photo but I like it anyways)

The first set, some still available here, was comprised of 7 Mego-style figures on colorful, character specific cards complete with original artwork. I’m a really appreciative fan when it comes to packaging featuring character specific artwork, it’s the small details that can make me love or hate a series of figures. Not because I’m an asshole (because I am, let’s not forget that fact) but I think a figure should be just as eye catching in the package as it is out of it.

Zom-Bush (George W. Bush)

Everyone’s favorite former head of state parodied for the sometimes dead look on his face during press conferences. The torn and tattered clothing along with the really awesome undead paint scheme really drive it home to be one of my favorites from the line. They were even so nice as to pack in a single sheet Zom-Bush poster which was promptly hung up in our room shortly after receiving our set. I wonder if Bush got one of these or was even aware of it? Next time I know he’s coming to my town I’ll get him to autograph mine, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.

The Ronmy (Ronald Regan)

This was one that I wasn’t sold on when I was buying the set. To be honest, I was gauging whether it was worth just buying the ones I want or buying the set outright and parting out the figures I didn’t want. To get the 4 I wanted cost the same amount as it would have to bought the whole set and I’m a sucker for getting more toys for my money. All in all, Ronmy was actually a decent figure. I love the fact they used the classic Mad Monster pajama like bodysuit to pull off the mummy bandaging effect. It makes for a really nice throwback to the classic figure lines that inspired this set.

Wolf Bill (Bill Clinton)

Here’s one I was considering not buying in the first place. I’ve never been much of a Wolf man fan unless it was Lon Chaney. I’m more of a Dracula and Frankenstein fan that and I get the joke they were making but I guess I was hoping for more of a Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde sex fiend. I guess I’d go more high brow or maybe I just make jokes no one gets (I’m fairly sure it’s the latter). But, so far there’s a theme with these lat 3 figures I’ve touched base on, none of them have shoes. I do like the sculpting of the fur and how they captured the mid transformation wolf and man hybrid, making him hairy enough for people to get the reference but human enough to recognize hound dog Bill Clinton.

Phantom of the White House (John F. Kennedy)

Our first figure with shoes! Here’s another one I was really sold on till I got it in hand. That’s the problem with online exclusives, I’ve not bought pieces from sets and then seriously regretted it at a toy show when I get it in hand and really get to admire it. Where this figure impresses is the outfit; cape, vest, shoes and pants are really great quality. Also, the sculpt is a dead ringer for JFK without obscuring it for the Phantom joke they were going with. They did give him a tan / peach colored (I’m bad with describing colors) demon mask. I was kind of hoping they would go for something closer to the Red Death mask from Phantom of the Opera but I’m not too disappointed.

Monster from Watergate Lagoon (Richard Nixon)

The Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Gillman, Swamp Monster, Fish Man; no matter what you call him he’s probably my favorite of all the classic monsters. Richard Nixon, Dick Nix, Tricky Dicky; no matter what you call him he’s probably my 3rd favorite president. Two great tastes that taste great together ( that sounded better in my head than it does in print but I’m going to go with it). I really like the head sculpt on this, the bloated gill man head with the predominant nose sells the toy for me. The added touches of webbed hands (molded into the iconic “I am not a crook” victory signs) and feet make this figure one of my top 4 favorite figures from the line.

Baracula (Barack H. Obama)

There is no denying how cool and funny this figure is. Love the man or hate the man, they captured the current Commander and Chief’s likeness and gave you probably the best costume of the line. I’m not sure is the current president can take a joke or not but I’d love to show him this figure if I had a chance. This figure does go for more as a single figure outside of a complete set and most places won’t sell you a Baracula unless you buy the other 6 figures. Truly one of the crowning achievements of the line and I suggest if you buy one figure from this series to seek him out.

Lincolnstein (Abraham Lincoln)

In this series, Lincolnstein and Baracula are just about neck-and-neck my favorites from the line. What an awesome figure. Great costuming complete with top hat and the sculpting is by far the best of the line. Little details like stitches and neckbolts are not neglected, overall the entire run hasn’t skipped on detail and value. Yet again, this is another figure most sellers won’t let you have outside of a complete set so he is another, at least in my opinion, got to have figure.

My only gripe with the series, and I hope the powers that be at Heroes in Action are listening (well, reading), is that to enjoy the figure outside the package you have to destroy the packaging I admire so much. I love what Gentle Giant Toys did with the Jumbo Vintage Star Wars figures and I think more companies should follow suit. Make the package into a semi-clamshell that can be carefully disassembled to display the figure whenever the consumer wishes while also give the owner the ability to put it back in the package and hang it on a wall with ease. Either way I really like the line overall, more so than I ever thought I would. For anyone who thought these figures are as cool as I think they are, they are available in  limited quantities through Heroes in Action, famous online retailers and eBay. I suggest you act quickly, another round of Presidential Monster mash ups are heading to online retailers sometime this year with more amazing concepts as Van Palin: the vampire hunter, Romney the Robot, Teddy the Yeti, Martian Van Buren and Jacksferatu.

(Martian Van Buren)

 

(I really want to know what’s up with the Yeti variant)

 

(I really like this on many levels)

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