Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery

Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery (2014)

Doo not miss this Scooby/WWE mashup

Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery

Vince McMahon and the employees of his World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) enterprise have faced a great many challenges over the years. There have been steroid trials, a high death toll amongst performers and competition from other sports entertainment companies. One thing Mr. McMahon has not had to deal with was a blood thirsty ghost bear. Thanks to the newly released direct-to-home video flick Scooby- Doo! WrestleMania Mystery however, McMahon can now say that he has faced and overcome all possible challenges.

Scooby and his owner/best pal Shaggy are enjoying a night of hijinx, playing the latest video game offering from the WWE. After vanquishing a foe, they move onto the bonus level, where the game format inexplicably changes from wrestling, to a Dance Dance Revolution-style rhythm challenge. When Scooby achieves a perfect score, he is greeted with a video message from WWE head honcho Mr. McMahon, informing him that he has won a trip to WrestleMania, which is taking place in WWE City.

WWE City? Yes, in the world of Scooby Doo, WWE is not a traveling show, but its own city, complete with not only an arena, but training facilities, and all you can eat buffet restaurants. If Vatican City can exist, then why not a WWE City. The residents of both cities have their own J.C. which is central to their existence. The WWE’s version is their top star, and one of the heroes of this story, John Cena.

Scooby and Shaggy are eager to travel to WWE City, but their friends need a little arm-twisting, and not the kind that the WWE superstars like to do. Fred agrees so he can snap some photos with his fancy new camera. Velma decides to go so she can compare the WWE to ancient gladiatorial society. Daphne is adamant that she will not go, but changes her tune after taking a gander at the aforementioned John Cena.

So Scooby and pals go to WWE City, enjoy WrestleMania, and everything goes off without a hitch, right? Wrong! You see, WWE City is being terrorized by a ghost bear. Long ago, it was not uncommon for wrestlers to have matches with bears. No, this is not a wacky idea dreamed up for the purposes of this animated film. This actually used to happen. The site that would eventually become WWE City was once host to a match between a masked Mexican wrestler name Sin Cara Grande, who overcame the odds, and defeated the bear. Now after all these years, the bear is back – this time in ghost form, to seek vengeance.

Mr. McMahon is very worried about the bear. Not because he is concerned about the welfare of his fellow WWE City residents, but because he is afraid that something will happen to the extremely valuable WWE championship belt. So, after hearing of the legendary exploits of Scooby and pals, he hires them to be protectors of the belt. But Scooby and Shaggy find themselves in deep Doo Doo when the belt goes missing, and all signs point to Scooby being the culprit.

Justice is not dealt out in a courtroom in WWE City, but rather in the wrestling ring. Scooby and Shaggy must earn their freedom by competing against the WWE’s scariest performer, the nearly seven-foot-tall Kane. In the immortal words of Scooby, “Ruh-roh!”

Along with the voice work of Scooby regulars such as the Matthew Lillard, Mindy Cohn and the legendary Frank Welker, a host of WWE superstars are along for the ride, including John Cena, Kane, Triple H, AJ Lee, Sin Cara and The Miz.

Scooby Doo has had some incredible encounters over the years with stars such as Sonny & Cher, Don Knotts and KISS. Nothing has come close however to the magic created when Scooby first set his four feet onto WWE soil. Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery is a delight from start to finish. I Scooby-Dooby-Doo recommend that you download your digital copy from Amazon or iTunes, and then also purchase a physical DVD as well. It is important to have a backup, as watching Scooby over the years has taught me that people are always stealing things, and there might not be some meddling kids to prevent them from nabbing your copy of this excellent film.

The Haunted World of El Superbeasto

The Haunted World of El Superbeasto (2009)

Superbeasto is super good

El Superbeasto

The Cinema Connoisseur’s Halloween Spooktacular Fright Film Festival is in full swing, and this week, I’ll be taking a look at a film that features three trademarks of Halloween: demons, men wearing masks, and scantily clad women. More accurately, no-clad women. Let me welcome you to The Haunted World of El Superbeasto.

The Haunted World of El Superbeasto is an animated horror/ comedy written and directed by Rob Zombie… although it is entirely possible he sub-contracted the writing duties out to a group of hyperactive children who forgot to take their Ritalin doses for a few days. Don’t get me wrong – I think the children did an excellent job. The film moves at a breakneck pace, and features everything from the disembodied head of Hitler to Satan himself to an appearance by Canada’s greatest rock band, Loverboy. This has to be the most over-the-top film I have ever seen – even more so than the Sylvester Stallone arm wrestling film Over The Top.

El Superbeasto is an extremely arrogant masked former professional wrestler (or luchador) who now concentrates on producing adult films, starring in commercials, and occasionally saving the world. During the course of this film, he must prevent Dr. Satan (voiced by Paul Giammatti) from marrying exotic dancer Velvet Von Black, a nasty woman, even by stripper standards. If you are a stripper and are reading this review, I apologize for the last comment, but really, that has to be at best the fifth most offensive comment directed at you today. Von Black has a 666 mark on her backside, and the joining of herself and Dr. Satan in unholy matrimony will cause Satan’s powers to increase dramatically and enable him to take over the world.

El Superbeasto is joined in this all important quest by his eyepatch-wearing sister, secret agent Susie-X. Susie brings along her personal servant Murray The Robot, who is more interested in inserting his input device into Susie than in saving the world.

The movie features plenty of laughs and chills along the way, but it also contains a bare assload of nudity. Donald Duck has ruffled some feathers by waddling around pantless for decades, but this film takes it to a whole new level. I haven’t seen so many cartoonish exposed nipples since Tara Reid quit partying.

I cannot recommend this film enough. It has everything a truly great film should have. A main character who is a pro wrestler? Check? A supporting robot character? Check. Gratuitous nudity? Check. With this outing, Rob Zombie has proven himself to be the greatest horror director of all time. Sorry, Alfred Hitchcock, maybe if you had thought to include an animated topless catfight as a key scene in one of your movies, I’d be singing your praises right now. The highest compliment that I can pay this film is that it features a prominent character who is a gorilla who speaks with a British accent, and I didn’t even mention that until now. Normally that would be the selling point of a film, but in this case, it’s just gravy.

Lastly, I’ll also add that this film can actually be quite the educational tool for parents. If you have been struggling with talking to your children about the birds and the bees, just discreetly slip a copy of this film into your child’s Halloween bag while you are pretending to examine it for suspicious- looking candies at the end of the night. They’ll spot the film, watch it, and all the cartoon coitus will teach them everything they need to know about the male, female and robot sex organs.

Monster Brawl

Monster Brawl (2011)

Monster Brawl a must see for all

Monster Brawl

Monster Brawl

October is finally here, and I am so excited! Contrary to popular belief, I have always felt that October is the most spook-tacular month of the year. Most people feel that June holds this title, while some feel it is February. But I think I speak for the small but vocal minority when I ask, how can any month be more spook-tacular than October? I mean it is the month Halloween takes place in, for Pete’s sake!!!! Sorry, spook-tacularity rates of different months is a bit of a hot button issue for me.

What I love most about this part of the year isn’t the candy or costumes. It’s another c-word, cinema. For the next several weeks, I’ll be taking a look at some of the greatest horror films ever produced, and boy do I have doozy for you this week.

If WWE head honcho Vince McMahon and legendary author Stephen King ever procreated, their love child would be the 2011 Canadian horror/comedy movie Monster Brawl. Now I’m not sure if it is scientifically possible for two men to have sex, and for one of them to be impregnated, and for that man to give birth to a film. If any members of the medical community are reading this article, please leave feedback to clarify.

In Monster Brawl, eight of the most legendary creatures that copyright laws will allow assemble for a one night pro wrestling/mixed martial arts event. The creatures are Frankenstein, Cyclops, the Mummy, Werewolf, Zombie Man, Lady Vampire, Swamp Gut and Witch Bitch. Oh, how I remember staying up late in my youth, watching the old black-and-white Witch Bitch films.

Before each fight, we get a video illustrating the backstory of each monster, and then the monster cuts a pro-wrestling style promo telling us why they are going to emerge victorious. We are then treated to five thrilling confrontations, which see the creatures battle to the death, conveniently enough, in a graveyard.

While the monsters are certainly the feature attraction, the producers felt like the picture needed even more star power. Enter Kids in the Hall and Newsradio star Dave Foley into the equation as a drunken play-by-play announcer. But that’s not all! UFC referee Herb Dean makes the jump into the world of acting by playing a referee. This particular official has no problems with decapitations and knife attacks, but draws the line at groin blows. Dean was a revelation, and I hope that he continues to land acting gigs. Perhaps someday, he could portray a referee in a production of Macbeth.

Pro wrestling personalities Kevin Nash and “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart are also along for the ride. Nash stars as Colonel Crookshank, manager of Zombie Man, while Hart serves as hype man for the event, introducing all of the combatants with tremendous flair.

Of all the treats you may receive this Halloween season, none will be as satisfying as the treat you will bestow upon yourself when you track down a copy of Monster Brawl. Not only is it a great horror film, but it is also a Canadian production. With all due respect to maple syrup, the Wonderbra, insulin and basketball, Monster Brawl is beyond a shadow of a doubt Canada’s greatest export. This monster mash is a graveyard smash.

Body Slam

Body Slam (1987)

Wham, bam, thank you, Body Slam

The Tonga Kid and Roddy Piper

It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I most certainly do not feel fine.

Every four years, the world gathers to witness the majesty of the summer Olympic Games. But the world’s biggest stage will never be the same after it was announced that starting in 2020, in all likelihood, wrestling will no longer be an Olympic event.

That’s right, wrestling, one of the oldest sports known to man will not be a part of future Olympic games. However, they will still award equestrian medals – presumably to horses, since they are doing all the work. No fretting, Popeye, as sailing will still be included. As will synchronized swimming. Not to mention the other 30 or so variations of swimming which are included in the event. Who cares how you are getting from one end to the other, as long as you do it? How much hardware does Michael Phelps need?

Olympic wrestling had provided some incredible moments, like the time in 1976 when France’s Andre The Giant tossed Japan’s Mr. Fuji completely off the wrestling mats and into the third row of spectators en route to capturing the gold medal, while his mother Stella The Giant looked on in tears. I’ll never forget the 1984 Olympics when U.S.A. representative Hulk Hogan (accompanied by Ronald Reagan and Sylvester Stallone) single-handedly ended the Cold War with his victory over the Russian Bear. No, that was not a nickname. Russia’s wrestling team that year was captained by a grizzly bear.

Sadly, many have forgotten these moments. If you do a quick Google search, you’ll be hard pressed to find any recollections of these events – hell, you might even find contradictory information.

Thankfully, wrestling will always live on through film. Legendary films such as Nacho Libre and No Holds Barred should be viewed by the International Olympic Committee before any rash decisions are made. As should the film I’ll be taking a look at this week – Body Slam.

Dirk Benedict (The A-Team, Battlestar Galactica) portrays M. Harry Smilac, a music promoter who has seen better days. He has one floundering act, and is up to his ears in debt. However, in a case of art imitating life, the worlds of rock ’n’ roll and wrestling unite to raise Smilac’s career out of the doldrums.

In a case of mistaken identity, Smilac signs Quick Rick Roberts (“Rowdy” Roddy Piper) and Tonga Tom (Sam Fatu, a.k.a. The Tonga Kid), thinking they are musicians. The only beautiful music these two are making is inside the wrestling ring, where they are top contenders to the prestigious tag team championship.

Once he realizes his mistake, Smilac decides to stick to his guns, because music simply wasn’t paying the bills. But Smilac is not exactly welcomed into the wrestling business with open arms. Legendary professional wrestling manager Captain Lou Albano takes on the challenging role of legendary professional wrestling manager Captain Lou Murano. Captain Lou is a despicable character whose Cannibals team puts Smilac and his tandem on the shelf.

Now injured and basically blackballed from the major leagues by Murano, Smilac decides to take his wrestling duo on the road with his only musical act. The Rock ’n’ Wrestling connection is a huge success, leading to a winners-take-all battle between the forces of good and evil.

Body Slam is a beautifully acted and tremendously written look at what the stars of sports entertainment really go through. It is everything the 2008 film The Wrestler should have been. Wrestling icons Bruno Sammartino and Ric Flair make cameos. As does renowned comedian Charles Nelson Reilly, and Billy Barty, the greatest under 4-foot tall actor who ever lived (sorry, Tom Cruise). For the second time in his career, Dirk Benedict was a member of an A-Team as part of this stellar cast. Body Slam will have you pinned down on your sofa for its entire 89 minute duration.

Bounty Hunters

Bounty Hunters (2011)

This bounty hunter is no Dog

Bounty Hunters

Former WWE diva Trish Stratus makes her feature film debut in Bounty Hunters, a film that gives the Toronto beauty another opportunity to kick some booty.

Following in the glorious lineage of bounty hunters such as Dog and Boba Fett comes the trio of Jules (Stratus), Ridley (Frank J. Zupancic) and Chase (Boomer Phillips of Video On Trial). The bail enforcers are having a typical day… well, as typical as your day can be when your job is to track down criminals who have jumped bail and are none too eager to turn themselves in.

The bail enforcers are thrown for a loop when they are offered $1 million to turn over their latest pickup, a mob informant, back to the mob. That’s 10 times what they will receive if they turn him over to the cops. They must decide if they can live with themselves if they go the easy route for the big money, basically turning a man over to meet his demise.

Stratus does a great job in her first starring role. The looks, athleticism and personality that Stratus exhibited in the squared circle are on full display. There have been many wrestlers who have tried to transition to film – for every Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who has succeeded, there are dozens who have failed. If Stratus decides that she wants to focus on a career in the film industry, her work in Bounty Hunters leads me to believe she could do quite well for herself.

My biggest complaint with the film would be the fact that Stratus disappears from the film entirely for at least a 20-minute chunk in the middle. Much in the vein of Stratus’ former profession pro wrestling, an injury angle is used to take her out of the story for this period. The fact is most people will be watching this film to see Stratus. She is the one gracing the cover, she is the most well-known star; put simply, she is the draw. For her to be missing for almost a third of the film’s 75-minute running time was a bit perplexing.

That being said, Bounty Hunters is an enjoyable action film that fans of Stratus will get a kick out of. The combat scenes are very well done, and it’s clear Stratus had a hand in the choreography, even executing her old Stratusfaction finishing manoeuvre. Bounty Hunters is now available on home video. The DVD also features an interview with Stratus, plus a cool behind-the-scenes look at Stratus’ big fight scene with Andrea James Lui, where Stratus is wearing a schoolgirl costume. It’s like Bruce Lee versus Chuck Norris in Way of the Dragon, only more arousing.