Director: Cody Knotts
Starring: Roddy Piper, Shane Douglas, Jim Duggan, Matt Hardy, Reby Sky
Duration: 88 Minutes
“The ring is the only place you can kill a man and get away with it”
There have always been two constants in my life in terms of entertainment; horror movies and professional wrestling. I can remember the first time I witnessed each genre, A Nightmare on Elm Street being the initial horror movie and Summerslam 1988 the first wrestling event. I’ve always gravitated to both and will always find myself engrossed by one or the other so when I heard about this movie I was quite optimistic that the two would go hand in hand in an over the top splatterfest.
The story goes that Shane Douglas accidentally botches a move in the ring killing his opponent, Angus, the deceased wrestlers brother, seeks revenge on Douglas and performs a ritual, sacrificing a scantily clad nurse, eating her heart and surrendering his soul to a demon in order to unleash a zombie horde on to Douglas. Angus schemes to lure Douglas to a wrestling event in an abandoned prison, the Agent of Douglas (played by director Cody Knotts) sees how much money is on offer and also offers the services of host of other wrestlers to the event. Once at the prison it is straight on to the carnage with plenty of wrestler on zombie action with heaps of gore and OTT action.
Cody Knotts managed to assemble a pretty impressive cast of wrestlers for his third directorial venture, Roddy Piper, Shane Douglas, Matt Hardy and Jim Duggan have all been in the major leagues of professional wrestling at one time or another in the last 30 years. In terms of acting ability Roddy Piper shines far above the rest of the cast but that should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen his previous acting work, They Live in particular. The surprise of the movie was seeing how well Shane Douglas mirrored his wrestling persona to the movie screen, being his first acting role I didn’t expect such a great performance from him but he played the arrogant prick he’s portrayed in wrestling for over 20 years. There are some great cameos from other wrestlers/personalities including Reby Sky, Taya Parker, So Cal Val and most surprisingly Kurt Angle who is criminally underused! Out of the non-wrestling cast Adrienne Fisher comes across very well and I found myself rooting for her rather than the titular pro-wrestlers.
The movie was partly funded by a Kickstarter campaign meeting its goal of $30,000, the money raised was used to secure the cast and pay legal fees for distribution rights. You can tell that the director had great passion for this movie and he knew the audience that he was aiming for but I cant help but feel that this was a missed opportunity. In aiming to please wrestling fans we see each grappler performing signature moves on the zombies, I know these guys have taken a fair few chair shots to the head but why in the green hell would you get within biting distance to an undead being that is desperate to latch on to any limb you put forward? Also we see a great deal of wrestling moves being performed that unless I’m missing something would have no effect on a zombie, elbow drops, fireman carries, sleeper holds all seem to put the zombies out for the 3 count.
The DVD of this movie is distributed by 88 Films in the UK and Troma entertainment in the US and I think this movie fits in perfectly with each labels catalogue of titles. In terms of extras the DVD houses the movie with a director’s commentary with Cody Knotts and a theatrical trailer, picture quality isn’t great but adds to the B movie charm.
Other than my nit picking the action was pretty fluid and kept me entertained for the full 88 minutes running time, I think anyone who picks up this title fully understands what they are getting and will by no means be expecting an instant classic. Not worth going totally out of your way to pick this up but it’s worth a watch for wrestling fans to see superstars battle the undead or if you fancy switching your brain off 90 minutes and enjoying a carefree super gory Smackdown.
Verdict: 2.5 out of 5
Reviewed by Carl Bennett (@carlbennett83)
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