Monday, July 7, 2008
There’s something about the mystique of Mexican wrestlers that always gets to me. With their faces covered by colorful masks and their identities hidden, Mexican wrestlers remind me a lot of superheroes…or supervillains. Wrestlemaniac is a new film that prominently features a fictional legendary wrestler, El Mascarado, in its plot with entertaining results.
A group of amateur pornographers is driving down to Old Mexico to shoot a little film, but somehow lose their way and wind up lost. At a run-down gas station, the attendant (a great cameo by Irvin Keyes) tells them they are but a few miles from the town of La Sangre de Dio, where the Mexican wrestler El Mascarado was banished when he snapped and started killing his opponents. The story goes that El Mascarado was assembled from body parts of Mexico’s four top wrestlers so that Mexico would have the greatest wrestler in the world. Things went awry when El Mascarado started killing his opponents in the ring and the government was forced to lock him away in the isolated town of La Sangre de Dio, where legend says he remains to this day.
Most of the group incredulously brushes the story away, but Steve (Jeremy Radin), a big fan of Mexican wrestling, believes the gas station attendant and knows the story. Still, they all head on and soon enough come across the seemingly abandoned town of La Sangre de Dio. The director, Alphonse (Adam Huss), decides it is the perfect location and the girls, Dallas (Leyla Razzari), Debbie (Margaret Scarborough) and Daisy (Catherine Wreford) start getting down to business while geeky Steve films and stoner Jimbo (Zack Bennett) stumbles around the deserted town.
Pretty soon, though, the numbers of the group dwindle and the remaining survivors realize they are not alone…El Mascarado is present and he is ready to hit the mat…to the death!
Though Wrestlemaniac follows the familiar formula of a slasher film (leave a group of 20-somethings in an isolated location and watch ‘em get butchered by a masked psycho), its character of El Mascarado is intriguing and fun! The story, written by Jesse Baget (who also directed), moves at a quick clip and is entertaining throughout. I really think it was genius how he used a mythical Mexican wrestler as the killer and the back story behind the character was well thought out and explained thoroughly.
The only thing that seemed too much of a stretch was the whole “let’s drive ALLLLL the way down to Mexico to film a porno!” It just didn’t seem believable. Also, the characters were pretty one-dimensional and most of them were annoying, from the chauvinistic director to the useless stoner…good thing they all died pretty quick. I did like seeing that Dallas could handle herself, though, and Steve was a very endearing character. Both Leyla Razzari (as Dallas) and Jeremy Radin (as Steve) were both standouts in the film. And let’s not forget about the masked wrestler himself, played by Rey Misterio, Sr.! He was certainly an imposing figure and made for a kick ass villain!
The gore was another great thing about the film. El Mascarado likes to unmask his victims just like a wrestler would unmask an opponent to finish him completely. Only, most of his victims don’t wear masks so he must make due with taking off their faces! That’s right, he cuts and peels the skin on their faces off! There are a few wicked scenes that brutally feature this, El Mascarado’s signature move! By the end of the film, the remaining survivors are literally drenched in blood!
Besides the blood-red gore, the film also looks fantastic. Director Jess Baget really has a great eye and all the shots have something interesting in them, whether it’s the stifling heat of the Mexican desert or interiors of an old abandoned town, Baget captures the feel of the moment. Though there are quite a few sleazy scenes towards the beginning with the three girls, these gratuitous scenes quickly fade as the real action kicks in. I also forgive Baget for all the shots trained on the actresses’ asses as well (or towards the end when a survivor’s short shorts get ripped off, leaving her in only her panties and thin tank top with no real point except to titillate) because of the overall entertainment Wrestlemaniac offers.
Though not without its flaws, Wrestlemaniac is an entertaining good time. It has an imaginative killer, great kills and a story that moves at a fast pace and is actually cohesive. Wrestlemaniac is the perfect party movie, one that you don’t have to pay much attention to and yet you’ll still be entertained.
Available from Amazon!