Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies

Dir: Cody Knotts
Star: Roddy Piper, Shane Douglas, Adrienne Fischer, Ashton Amherst

Ah, pro wrestling and horror. Safe to say, we're the target audience for this one? What could possibly go wrong? Well, if you've seen Monster Brawl, you'll know the answer there is, quite a lot actually, and much the same pitfalls becalm this effort to cross the streams. After killing an opponent in the ring, Shane 'The Franchise' Douglas (Douglas) finds himself hired as part of a private show, being put on at an abandoned prison. However, this is no ordinary show, and once they arrive and are locked inside, they discover the unpleasant truth. The entire show has been commissioned by the victim's brother, Angus (Amherst, though apparently dubbed by another actor, with a dreadful faux-Celtic accent), as a means of extracting revenge on Douglas. Using dark arts and human sacrifice, followed by infectious nibbling, Angus has raised an army of the undead, who will be unleashed on the unsuspecting wrestlers, to tear them limb from limb.

There are some fascinating meta-aspects here, more interesting than the movie itself. There are a lot of "real" wrestlers here, also including Matt Hardy and Kurt Angle, all playing themselves, like Piper and Douglas. But the difference between Piper and the others is palpable: he is actually acting, and this film is a brilliant demonstration of the difference between that and simply playing a role. It probably also helps that Douglas is an asshole, which is kinda interesting given the "playing himself" conceit. Truth is, of course, he's not playing himself, any more than, say, Kane is an unhinged psychopath rather than someone with a degree in English Literature and interest in libertarian politics. Shane Douglas is playing the wrestler Shane Douglas. Yet the film still chooses to acknowledge the scripted nature of pro wrestling in other aspects, instead of playing it as "real".

Unfortunately, the film itself is generally bland, though does perk up a little bit once it gets down to the meat of proceedings and delivers on the title. Knotts - who shows up in a vanity cameo as a wrestling promoter - would have done better to skip all the tiresome footage of indie wrestling which bogs down proceedings terribly during the early stages, and started things off with the wrestlers' bus pulling up to the gates of the asylum. It would also have been fun to have seen more use of wrestling moves to "finish" the zombies; Angle does put his trademark ankle lock on one, snapping its leg clean off. Disappointingly, it's the usual selection of blunt force trauma that's responsible, which gets repetitive after a while. Indeed, much the same could be said of the whole thing, which manages to combine two of our favourite things, into a result much less than the sum of its parts.

[November 2014]

Count me out...
See also... [Index] [Next] [Previous] [TC Home Page]