Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Monsters on Main Street - Review - @BradLeoLyon / #Zombies



Monsters on Main Street (2014) **
D: Brad Leo Lyon
C: Brad Leo Lyon, Robert Z'Dar, Martin Klebba, Mason Heidger, Carly Ellwanger, Daniel Brown, William C. Fox, Todd Bridges
Plot Synopsis: A basketball coach who has never coached, let alone played basketball, has to use his wits to protect both his team & friends from not only zombies, but a mad slasher who have interrupted the first game of the season.

REVIEW: Monsters on Main Street isn't so much a film, but a series of vignettes connected by the tiniest of plot threads. The film is in its wheelhouse when the characters dissect various horror films. One of my favorite moments is when Brad Leo Lyon's character talks about how he would charge after the killer in a horror film, instead of running away. Yet, when his character is face to face with a mad slasher, Brad's character goes running in the opposite direction. So much for all that hyped up bravery.

The film also spoofs the gratuitousness of horror films that feature nudity or that sexualize there characters. Just one problem, it's not nearly gratuitous enough. For example, in one scene, a victim to be runs through a bar, topless, in an effort to get away from the mad killer. I've seen plenty of scenes like this in other horror films. Either the film should have gone with full frontal nudity or something reminiscent of the scene in Austin Powers in which they walk around naked, yet the goodies are concealed by randomly placed objects. When it comes to sending up something, you have to over exaggerate the situation in order to get the point across. Otherwise, the very thing that you're sending up, becomes a carbon copy of what you're trying to spoof.

We're also given a straight up comedy sub-plot reminiscent of The Bad News Bears involving a girl's high school basketball team. The coach has never played before. The girls are mainly there, because they've been forced to. They would rather be sleeping around, texting on their phones or beating people up. While this part of this film is certainly watchable, it's never as scathing as it could have been, because Monsters on Main Street fails to realize that The Bad News Bears was an indictment into adults imparting a win at all cost mentality onto kids. The way that the kids misbehaved in The Bad News Bears was to drive home the idea that this win at all cost attitude is robbing kids of their youth. 

And in between all of that, there's some horror set pieces such as zombies taking over a gym or a mad slasher, who in part, takes over Main Street due to zombies lurching about. These scenes feel poorly staged and choreographed. We also have some set pieces involving the film's headliners. Robert Z'Dar, of Maniac Cop fame, is wasted in a frivolous role. Scenes with Todd Bridges feel randomly injected. Out of the trio, Martin Klebba comes off best. His scenes feel prolonged, but he does have some truly funny moments.

Now, with a running time of 110 minutes, Monsters on Main Street manages to throw in everything you could possibly think of into one movie, except maybe the kitchen sink. This is a super sized horror comedy. I was amused more often, then not. However, much like a super sized meal, after all was said and done, a part of me felt full due to the sheer length of the film's running time. Yet, a part of me felt empty. While the film tries to give you everything you could possibly want entertainment wise, none of it is nourishing. There's is so much of everything that I never quite connected to any one thing. 

Next time around, I would like to see writer, director Brad Leo Lyon scale things down and give us something that's more focused and that has more structure. Monsters on Main Street has an ear for dialogue and awareness of the horror genre, but with so many other elements in play, that part of the film isn't allowed to truly shine. There's a lot more wrong, then there is right, but what's right was at least enough to keep my attention. [Not Rated] 110 mins.

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