Wrestlemaniac
AKA El Mascarado Massacre
Directed by Jesse Baget
Released: 2006
Starring Rey Misterio Sr., Irwin Keyes, Adam Huss, Leyla Milani, Margaret Scarborough, Jeremy Radin
Running Time: 75 minutes
Review by Nafa

In the wrestling cyber-community there was some buzz surrounding the film Wrestlemaniac back before it was released because several news outlets picked up that it was to feature Rey Mysterio Jr., a top WWE face (good guy), as the foil. However, once it was revealed that it would actually star Rey Misterio Sr. (who is the uncle of Rey Mysterio Jr. and an honored luchador and trainer in his own rite) most of the ardor died. The addition of Leylani Milani to the cast, the second runner up in the 2005 WWE Diva Search, did not help generate excitement for the project. The film sat for 2 years before being released on DVD by Anchor Bay in early 2008, and truth be told, it probably could have waited even longer to see the light of day.

Being a WWE mark myself I was a bit curious about the film. It’s always good to see lucha libre get any type of press, and Milani was my second favorite of the 2005 Diva Search contestants (right behind eventual winner and potential-Hot-Topic-poster-child-and-legitimate-Playboy-cover-girl Ashley Massaro). It’s not to say I had high hopes for the film, but I was intrigued enough to hand over 75 minutes of my life. Yeah... I’d like a refund, please.

The initial problem with Wrestlemaniac is that it has a cookie-cutter horror film storyline that could be swapped with any name, place, and situation and be exactly the same. Let’s see if this sounds familiar: A group of young people go where they’re warned not to go (which happens to be in the middle of nowhere), end up with automobile troubles and have to spend the night in said-creepy place, only to be picked off one by one until only one female is left to battle the foe.

Throw in a beginning scene that really is from the end and will make sense then, and bob’s yer uncle. I’m certain that the writers of the film sat around with a book of Mad Libs and to complete their story they just filled in the words ‘wrestler’, ‘amateur porn’, ‘government conspiracy’, and ‘Mexico’. The main thing you need to know is that for the Olympics about 40 years back the Mexican government took three of their best luchadors and created an evil Frankenstein version of them, which of course they couldn’t control, so they locked him up in this town in the middle of nowhere. And because he is perpetually wrestling and playing the game, he will wrestle and kill any hapless victim who should wander into town and keep their face/mask as a trophy. Even after 40 years of it.

Savvy?

Another big problem is with the six youths. The reason they go to the middle of nowhere Mexico is to film amateur porn. Really. The three women are the stars of the videos (let’s change all the characters names because I want to have the same contempt the director had for the viewers, which I’ll address in a moment—we’ll call the three girls Rachel, Monica, and Phoebe/Leyla ‘Dallas’ Milani, Margaret ‘Debbie’ Scarsborough, and the emaciated Catherine ‘Daisy’ Wreford). The head of the Scooby gang (who we’ll call Chandler/Adam ‘Alphonse [no, the devil]’ Huss) is also the male video star. The chubby cameraman (Joey/Jeremy ‘Steve’ Radin) is also an uber-wrestling geek complete with his own luchador mask. And the third male is perpetually stoned and useless (he can be Ross/Zack ‘Jimbo’ Bennett). So the my main crux with them is that none of them last long enough to even care anything about. Ross spends his ENTIRE time stoned or passed out, and Phoebe is drunk or passed out during her screen time. Chandler, Monica, and Rachel don’t really have any redeeming qualities (other than Rachel being able to fiddle with the wrong part of a broken engine and miraculously fix it). And Joey, though someone I should be feeling at least some pathos for, is really just a sad nerd with no depth and nothing more. And sure there’s a bit of pointless, gratuitous nudity, but why even bother with this lot? These are six people I could care less about. Seriously.

The final problem — oh writers, how much contempt do you have for your viewers? Oh let me count five ways…

I. To start with, when the Friends arrive in town, one building has the word ‘Vorhees’ painted on the side of it…twice. OK, so you’re a ‘Friday The 13th’ fan — get in line. And learn to spell the name right... especially in a little Mexican town.

II. I understand the plight of a small budget, small crew film, but there is some continuity control even there, stuff you could fix in editing. Like, oh I don’t know, having the outside shot of driving through the arid desert to then NOT cut to an internal shot with what looks like frickin’ Vermont going by in the background outside the windows? Or perhaps keeping the camera focus completely on set rather than having some shots drift off to the backstage gleaming white-tiled area?

III. Another point, the director having Rachel fix the van right under the hood, which is of course where you’d fix a vehicle that RAN OVER A SMALL BOULDER. Removing the air conditioner hoses and reattaching them will fix a broken radiator/ruptured gas tank/tranny pan. And I’m not a car guy.

IV. Next, the cover of the video features Milani hiding in a contorted position in a cabinet, legs splayed and hands grasping ankles. Yeah, you know the picture. It’s ridiculous, disturbing, dirty, and oddly provocative all at the same time, and was one of the first (and only) images from the film to be released with early promotion. The scene was so important and integral to the story that they spent over a minute basically focusing on her crotch with her whimpering and holding her ankles. Whatever where they trying to get at with this scene?

V. Lastly, and this is going to be a SPOILER, the finale. Strangely enough, when this film was made another film was released by WWE pictures called See No Evil, starring the WWE star Kane, and in the finale of that film a broken pipe was featured heavily. I suppose that either a) the writer saw the WWE movie and thought, ‘Hey, there’s a great way to get out of a film!’, or b) there was a rash of pipe-related wrestler impalings in 2006 like all the shark attacks in 2001. And of course, like with Kane, it doesn’t do him in.

So since I’ve spent almost as long bitching about the film as I did watching it, do I have anything good to say? Well, yes. There are only 8 characters in the film, so I don’t have to hate as many people. Rey Misterio Sr. did an admirable job playing…well, basically a version of himself who rips people’s faces off. And Irwin Keyes is always fun to watch, and here as the crazy loner gas station attendant with no gas he’s perfect. And I have to say again that Milani is disturbingly hot.

SPOILERS in the screenshots


First shot of the film... Oh yeah.


Attention, viewer: this is what we think of you.


El Diablo Negro


El Tigre


Irwin Keyes begins to wonder where his career went wrong.


Misspelled Mexican subtlety.


I wanted to be the next Scorsese.


Scorsese at work.


Seriously, he makes this face for 99 percent of his screentime.


Carburetor? Check. Radiator? Check. Hair extensions in fan belt? Check.


Shaggy finds the jam.


Rey Misterio Sr. is a pissed off Snoopy.


El Mascarado's trophies.


El Mascarado Vs. El Tigre


As iconic as the picture of Che Guevara.


No, we didn't quite steal the end of See No Evil.


Could be worse. I could be wrestling for TNA.


Yippee!


At least she lasted longer in this film than Ashley in the WWE as the Diva Search winner.


Well, we got the pole effect rented for another hour so...


The best argument for tighter border security.