Wrestlemaniac (2006)
By: Devon B. on July 18, 2013 | Comments
Anchor Bay | Region 1, NTSC | 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 5.1 | 75 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Jesse Baget
Starring: Rey Misterio, Irwin Keyes, Leyla Milani, Adam Huss
Screenplay: Jesse Baget
Country: USA
External Links
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I've become so obsessed with wrestling lately that I seem to be watching little else, and I knew I had a problem when I started trying to justify reviewing a release about Rowdy Roddy Piper for Digital Retribution simple because he starred in some cult films. I realised this was a very tenuous connection, and decided I'd have to find something else to review, but I was unable to stop watching wrestling. Then, I found a solution. Currently what draws me to the sport is the humour, both intentional and unintentional, but it's hard not to be impressed by the high octane athleticism of Rey Misterio, Jr, so I thought it would be a good idea to review a movie starring his uncle.

It's clear from the very first minute of Wrestlemaniac that the film has a sense of humour, which is a good thing since it's about a wrestler that rips people's faces off. The film opens with some people in a van, but they're not in Texas for a chain saw massacre, they're setting out to make a low budget porno in Mexico. All the female characters in the movie are porn stars, so that guarantees that the survivor girl can't be a virgin, so already Wrestelmaniac is setting itself apart from generic slasher movies. If featuring a face ripping Mexican wrestler wasn't enough to set it apart for you, that is. The group end up in a ghost town where the aforementioned deranged wrestler was supposedly sent after he started killing his opponents. Soon the filmmakers learn the legend is more than just a myth of a mad, masked Mexican when the wrestler turns up and starts making short work of their faces.

Mexican wrestlers and horror have a long tradition together, so it seems odd that it took so long for someone to come up with the idea of a slasher with a Mexican wrestler, but I'm just glad someone finally did. Having a slasher strike a porno shoot sounds like a winner on its own, but having the slasher be a Mexican wrestler is just genius. Casting Misterio, who is much burlier than his nephew, was also a good move, because he gives some authenticity to the grimy, masked menace, even if the whole movie is totally ridiculous.

The movie does take a little while to get going, and it does lag a bit at about one hour in, but for the most part I was entertained. The characters' joking usually isn't great, but there are some genuinely funny lines and touches. The acting is overall a bit better than I expected given the film's low budget, and I suspect some of the lesser thespians got through the casting session merely because they were willing to do nudity. I'm not a gorehound so sometimes I don't even care if a slasher flick has blood, but I did notice that Wrestlemaniac was a bit dry at first, with the initial kills happening off screen. I figure this is a budget constraint, however fans that seek out slashers for the kills alone will be pleased that things do escalate, and the most elaborate death incorporates blood, a "yuck" moment borrowed from Deep Red and some wrestling moves.

Wrestlemaniac is a silly, fun throwback to the slasher era, made with tongue definitely in cheek but helmed by someone that clearly has a genuine love for the horror genre. It was good enough that I want Wrestlemaniac to spawn a franchise, so here's hoping there's a sequel some day.
The Disc
Wrestlemaniac looks clear and sharp, but still doesn't look high budget. There's a little motion blur and a bit of edge enhancement, but these were both rare occurrences. Video grain does get strong on occasion, but I only found it distracting a couple of times. The audio is available in 5.1 or 2.0 mixes, and both sound fine, but the 5.1 is naturally the more interesting listen. The 5.1 isn't the greatest track ever produced, but it's pretty good given the film's low budget. There're a few nicely immersive moments, and the track improves as things pick up within the movie, offering some nice bumps and thumps.

Trailers play on start up for Hatchet, Spiral, The Girl Next Door and Behind the Mask. There's also a commentary, a short making of that's not very interesting and the film's trailer. The commentary is with writer/editor/director Jesse Baget, DP Tabbert Fiiller and star Adam Huss. Baget and Huss do the heavy lifting, with Fiiller chiming in where he felt it was appropriate. I found the track engaging, and a lot of it focuses on things that had to be altered due to a location change, which explains some of the padding and why one sequence doesn't make much sense even within the confines of a movie about a murderous Mexican wrestler.
The Verdict
Wrestlemaniac is a film that's more for horror fans than wrestling ones, but those of us astute enough to be a little of both get double the pleasure. A winner is you, Wrestlemaniac, a winner is you.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
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