Rey Misterio Sr.
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30th Apr 07
When amateur film maker and Johnny Knoxville look-alike Alfonse (Adam Huss) comes across legendary Mexican ghost town ‘La Sangre de Dios’ with his crew, he decides that he has found the ideal location to start shooting.
However, ‘La Sangre de Dios’ is known as the final resting place of the loony, murdering Luchador wrestler El Mascarado (a.k.a. The Masked Man). Created for the 1984 Olympics, the masked nutcase has been lurking around the ghost town with no one to compete against until Alfonse’s crew turn up!
And boy is he keen to compete! Very soon young bodies are beaten and chucked around with the aim being to remove the faces from those he defeats to place as trophies on his wall.
Made under the working title of The Mexican Porn Massacre, writer/director Jesse Baget, who also edited and probably made everyone cups of tea too, has crafted a unique entry into the serial killer/slasher genre.
Whilst generic in terms of the template it plots, WrestleManiac pleasantly surprises by crafting some genuine suspense, a few surprises and some terrific splatter into its short running time. It also scores points for having characters that feel believable and identifiable, thanks to a cast that can act, so you do actually know and recognise who they are before they get killed off.
Creepy shots like the shadow outside the bar caught on camera work a treat establishing and building an element of dread, as does keeping El Mascarado out of sight for awhile. When we do see him in all his stocky, grubby, face tearing glory he does not disappoint. Indeed is there anything scarier than being pursued by a man who not only cannot be reasoned with but also thinks life is all one big wrestling match, with you as his latest unwilling contender. There probably is but for now this does the trick very nicely and by casting an actual lucha wrestler in the squat intimidating form of Rey Misterio Snr it works wonderfully.
There are a couple of nods to the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - note the opening shot of a woman covered in blood fleeing for her life screaming and the masks/trophies that El Mascarado collects on his wall - and even a sly wink towards Friday the 13th with the name Voorhees adorned across one of the buildings in the ghost town.
Whilst present horror franchise champion Jigsaw ties up the audience with puzzles that make no sense except to the moneymen behind the Saw movies, it’s nice to see another potential horror franchise doing something we all know and love in a refreshing way. So roll over Michael Myers and Mr. Voorhees there’s a new boy in town and on the strength of this first outing would be welcomed for a repeat visit if the same breadth of fun and writing is in supply.
1st Nov 04 Above all though, it is the relationship between John and Laura Baxter which is the film’s central focus throughout, and the gradual disintegration of their relationship amidst a haze of grief.