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Friday, September 14, 2012

WRESTLEMANIAC -- movie review by porfle

(NOTE: This review originally appeared online in 2006 at

Movies in which a cast of young people gets whittled down "Ten-Little-Indians" style by an unstoppable killer are a dime a dozen these days, and the only things which distinguish any of them from the pack are a good story, competent (at least) execution, and a unique antagonist.  WRESTLEMANIAC (2006) gives us a passably good story which is very well executed by writer-director Jesse Baget and a talented cast. 

As for the antagonist--he's a psychotic Mexican wrestler named El Mascarado who was created by evil scientists (using the bodies of three other Mexican wrestlers) and then abandoned in an isolated ghost town after he went uncontrollably, kill-crazy nuts.  Okay, that's pretty unique.

Adam Huss plays Alphonse, a brash, cocky dude with a pimp goatee and a cowboy hat who's hauling three girls and a couple of other guys down to Mexico in a van to shoot a porn video.  Jeremy Radin is Steve, his pudgy cameraman, and Zack Bennett plays Jimbo, a typical stoner-type who's there mainly because it's his van.  The girls include a couple of blondes--the vivacious Debbie (Margaret Scarborough) and the wasted Daisy (Catherine Wreford)--and a sultry brunette babe named Dallas, played by WWE Raw Diva Leyla Milani (recently seen in THE BOYS AND GIRLS GUIDE TO GETTING DOWN), who should be receiving my marriage proposal in the mail any day now.

On the way to wherever it is they're going, they stop at a gas station that looks like it hasn't seen a drop of gas since 1957 and meet a weird old geezer (familiar character actor Irwin Keyes) who warns them not to stop in the haunted ghost town called La Sangre De Dios.  Whatever you do, he stresses repeatedly, do not stop in the haunted ghost town of La Sangre De Dios.  So what do they do?  They make a beeline for La Sangre De Dios.  Why?  Because, as Alphonse confidently informs everyone, a haunted ghost town would make the perfect location for a porn video.

No sooner do they get there, however, than strange things start happening and members of their group begin to disappear.  They do, of course, find time to start work on their video, which gives us a chance to see a scantily-clad Dallas and Debbie making out on the bar of the saloon.  For those of you who are keeping score at home, Debbie gets topless.  Unfortunately, so does Alphonse.  Daisy, meanwhile, wanders off somewhere to throw up and is never seen again.  Jimbo goes looking for her, and is never seen again.  As darkness begins to fall on the spooky old town, it gradually dawns on the others that something may be amiss.

When the hulking, terrifying Mexican wrestler El Mascarado appears and starts coming after them, they realize that something is definitely amiss.  This is when the fun really starts.  Director Jesse Baget does a good job of keeping the old stalk-and-kill formula interesting, with lots of action and some genuinely suspenseful sequences.  There's also a generous amount of gore, mainly because El Mascarado studiously observes the number one rule of Mexican wrestling: when you defeat an opponent, you rip his mask off.  Our protagonists, of course, don't wear masks, so El Mascarado simply rips their faces off instead.   Yowch!  That's gotta hurt!

I'm not into wrestling myself, but I like to see this sort of horror flick done well, and in this case it's done very well.  If you're into both wrestling and horror, you should really get a kick out of this, especially since El Mascarado is played by none other than Mexican wrestling superstar Rey Misterioso.  He makes a pretty intimidating monster, and when the overweight, out-of-shape Steve squares off with him to try and rip his mask off (which, theoretically, will force him to "retire" and leave them alone), you just know it ain't gonna turn out good.  Forget about the ol' Lone Ranger--Jim Croce should've been a lot more worried about this guy.

Did I mention that every time Dallas or Debbie run away from the killer, the camera zooms in for a closeup of their rear ends?  I didn't notice this myself, of course (ahem) but I believe it's mentioned in the commentary track by Baget, Huss, and director of photography Tabbert Fiiller.  This is just one of the spoofy elements that let you know WRESTLEMANIAC isn't meant to be taken seriously--but, with that in mind, it's still a full-blooded, action-packed horror movie that throws most of the current stalker flicks right out of the ring.

Buy it at


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