A Review by Noah Antwiler
It's been a while since I've sat myself down to write a movie review for the website. The way I go about writing these reviews takes a long time, and now that I have a job I have far less free time to rant than I used to. But even before that, choosing worthy targets was surprisingly difficult for me. There's no shortage of bad movies, but I have to feel a certain connection to a movie before I decide to tear it apart. It's like falling in love. I have to feel a kind of magic before making that commitment, and let me tell you, it's been a long time since I felt that urge. Southland Tales was so awful, I think it burned something out in my brain. I haven't sought out a bad movie since.
But all that changed today as I walked the aisles of my local Best Buy with no particular shopping agenda, and found myself looking at their pathetically anemic horror section. It was genuinely shameful. They didn't stock any quality flicks and their inventory of the classic series like Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street was patchy at best. There certainly wasn't anything more obscure like Sleepaway Camp or Re-Animator. The only reason they had Suspiria was because it was issued a DVD re-release. Most of their stock is the garbage from the last four years or so, most of their featured stuff being the Masters of Horror schlock or that dreadful Afterdark Horror Fest garbage, which torture porn flicks like Hostel and Cabin Fever taking places of honor.
But there was one movie that caught my eye. I've always said that a title can make or break a movie; how many have you avoided based on a stupid title alone? Remember that Patrick Swayze movie nobody watched? Okay, that doesn't narrow it down. But nobody saw To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar because nobody wanted to go to a box office window and say it. And what about K-PAX, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, or Die Hard 2: Die Harder? God, it makes you want to headbutt kittens to death just thinking of those titles. Even great movies like The Shawshank Redemption might have done better had people not been scared off by the ridiculous title. I still refuse to see Lucky Number Slevin or I ♥ Huckabees simply because I refuse to watch anything where I have to pronounce an upside-down number or a weird heart picture when saying the title. Okay, I sold out when I saw SE7EN, but trust me, if it has Josh Hartnett in it, it's no SE7EN.
A good title, now, can make a movie no matter how bad it is. Snakes on a Plane is the perfect/worst example of this. A film called The Jackhammer Massacre basically demands to be watched, right? A good title can get an audience excited even before they know anything else about it. It raises expectations. If you knew you were going to see a movie called Santa's Slay (and the title includes making a stabbing gesture with your hand every time you say it), you know you're in for sheer unadulterated Christmas slaughtering awesome, and that's before you learn that the murderous Santa is played by none other than Bill Goldberg.
Speaking of Bill Goldberg, wrestling leads me to the movie I saw hidden on the Best Buy shelf. Its title hooked me in like a tractor beam: Wrestlemaniac. Bam, the movie is in my hand and I'm headed to the checkout line. I barely glanced at the blurb on the back, just to make sure this was an actual movie and not some weird Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling pay-per-view video that had been misplaced (I download my female wrestler porn, thanks). It's only when I did my usual cursory research on IMDB that I discovered that they'd discarded two even more awesome titles before they settled on Wrestlemaniac: El Mascarado Massacre, and my favorite, The Mexican Porn Massacre. If they had marketed this film as The Mexican Porn Massacre, not only would it have secured a nation-wide theatrical release, it would have been #1 for a month. Why? Because The Mexican Porn Massacre guarantees you're going to see a load of naked, screwing Mexican chicks who will then be gratuitously and humorously slaughtered. The 18-35 male demographic is not complicated, people! Wrestling, murder, and topless Mexican chicks? Pass me a Corona and some pretzels and you've made my fucking weekend.
But this is a brilliant concept for a movie: a gigantic, musclebound wrestler who's not only HUGELY physically superior to anyone else he encounters, but uses his extensive knowledge of suplexes and submission holds to murder people?! Sure, WWE Films cashed in on this concept when they cast the seven-foot tall giant bald man-baby Kane as a homicidal mental patient in See No Evil, and they're trying to push the white gorilla John Cena as the next Schwartzenegger in such Commando-like dreck as The Marine, so you have to reckon that anyone they cast specifically as a murderous pro-wrestler has to be one of the scariest motherfuckers on the planet, right? From the title alone I was thinking along the lines of the Undertaker, Abyss, or maybe even the Shockmaster. I was way off, because when I saw the cover I realized that this particular sadistic movie maniac is a former World Heavyweight Champion, but one of the least likely champions you might name off the top of your head. You probably thought I was just taking another shot at a Bill Goldberg movie or leading into a clever jab at David Arquette (he is, after all, a former WCW World Heavyweight Champion), but no. You want a horror movie killer, you need look no farther than...
Oh, obviously! I didn't want to show you the cover at the top of the page like I normally do, because I felt it might be too obvious of a clue as to who is portraying the aforementioned psycho grappler, but anyone who's passively familiar with pro wrestling had probably figured it out already. I doubt you were able to keep a straight face when you realized it, but yup, the star of this movie is Rey Misterio. This is, after all, the Mexican Porn Massacre, and it makes sense that the insane wrestler himself is Hispanic. There aren't that many famous Mexican wrestlers around, actually, which is strange because if there's one mode of entertainment Mexico is world-famous for, it's frigging lucha-libre. There are a couple of dudes on TNA wrestling, and on television Rey's really the only guy who still wears a mask as a part of the lucha gimmick. And I'm not counting Curry Man.
But Rey Misterio? The plot synopsis describes him as a "deranged luchador" who "still lives to rip the faces off his victims." It goes on to say "the night is closing in, the clothes are coming off, and the ultimate death match is about to be unleashed...in this gore-spewing, bra-bursting shocker!" I'm not saying that Rey isn't an impressive physical specimen, but look at the guy. Rey isn't the sort of dude you look at and think, "better not mess with him, he'd rip your goddamn face off." You wouldn't have much trouble picturing wrestlers like Undertaker or Batista getting pissed off and beating you to mush with your own spine, but Rey lacks that certain no sé lo que you'd get from such scowling, leathery dudes like Danny Trejo: the prototypical Scary Mexican. This is why Rey is never a bad guy in wrestling: he doesn't have an angry face, and the WWE has basically turned him into a teddy bear so they can sell little lucha masks to kids.
What's really sad to me is that former pro-wrestling juggie Leyla Milani is arguably the more recognizable star of this movie. Rey busts his ass for decades in Mexico, destroys his body by crashing through tables and getting hit with folding chairs nightly, but he's a sideshow freak compared to Leyla, who is famous primarily for being Bimbo #13 on the most wildly over-produced game show in history: Deal or No Deal. She stands there and holds an empty fucking briefcase until that unfunny, bald, soul-patch wearing piece of anal discharge Howie Mandel tells her to open it. Working on that show has to be one of the most hollow feelings a human being can experience. At least Vanna White gets to turn letters. The Barker Beauties get to play with the prizes. Leyla? She stands there and smiles for hours while some jackass picks an arbitrary number between 1 and 26, then agonizes for interminable amounts of time over the choice of several more arbitrary numbers between 1 and 26. Say what you like about watching D-list celebrities play poker on the Bravo network, at least there's an actual game going on. I think if I was Howie Mandel I'd put a gun in my mouth.
But I say that when I see just about anything Howie Mandel has ever done. I said that when I was ten and I saw Bobby's World. Because seriously, when Tila Tequila is a more credible celebrity than you, it's time to cash out of the game of life.
For those of you who aren't up on your wrestling history, the punchline here is every wrestler has some kind of gimmick, a caricatured personality trait that is usually fairly obvious so that a crowd can easily pick up on it and remember it. So you'll have guys like John "Invincible Wigger" Cena, Vince "Corporate Asshole" McMahon, or Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake. It's all very cartoony and even people who like wrestling mostly just roll their eyes at the sad and pathetic gimmicks that otherwise talented athletes are saddled with. I still feel bad for John Morrison, whose entire gimmick is that he is literally a wrestling version of rocker Jim Morrison. That's it. His tag team partner is The Miz, who sort of looks like the wrestling version of Sugar Ray, but whatever.
Rey's gimmick is that he's always the smallest guy in the ring, so he's always considered a huge underdog in every match he's in. He puts on great matches because he's extremely athletic and acrobatic, and other monstrously huge wrestlers can throw his scrawny ass around like a lawn dart. When I first saw him he only weighed about 140 lbs; the version you've seen in the above photos is his jacked-up WWE physique. He's packing about 80 lbs. of extra muscle on his frame, which is amazing to consider, but even at 220 lbs. he's still the runt of the litter in the WWE roster. But the point I'm trying to make is that we've got a serial killer portrayed by a wrestler whose gimmick has always been that he's the least intimidating guy in the ring. You root for him but you feel bad for poor Rey because you know those 'roided-up behemoths are going to crush him.
There are also three positive review quotations listed on the back of the box. Fangoria calls it "Kickass!" and Film Threat says that it's "Fantastic!"
Okay, so I'm intrigued. That's high praise from Fangoria, right? These guys are presumably connoisseurs of the horror craft, so I decided to head over to the Fangoria website and take a look at what their critic wrote about Wrestlemaniac. I didn't really read it, I just wanted to see in what context the word "kickass" was used. Instead I ran a Find command in my web browser for the word "kickass," and guess what I got. NOTHING. The word "kickass" is not used at all in the Fangoria review. But I did find some other words that were used, like "low expectations," "arrogant numbskullery," "every single cancerous slasher-film cliché," and "another blackhead on the nose of the slasher genre."
Likewise, the review on Film Threat never once uses the word "fantastic," although they do give the film 3½ stars. As for the review from GoreZone, I couldn't navigate their site easily enough to find any reviews of anything, and I gave up after five minutes. I'm sure nobody's even heard of GoreZone, though. It's got about as much credibility as the endorsement "Spectacular! A horror tour-de-force! --HowieMandelFanClub.com"
Cast of Characters
The movie opens with a handheld shot of Mexico's bleak and gravelly landscape at night. Already I'm fascinated. Someone just pointed the camera at the ground and started walking. This continues for about twenty seconds while they fire off the studio and producer credits, and finally the camera pans up to reveal a crumbling adobe mission. If I were running from a psychotic wrestler I'd probably hide in a church, too. Maybe Evil Rey Misterio can't wrestle on holy ground. The foley effects of crickets, distant coyotes and whistling wind are laid on thick here, and finally the camera settles on a pair of large saloon-style doors.
A screaming blonde woman comes running through the door, covered in blood. What's funny is that she doesn't start screaming until she reaches the door. She stayed perfectly quiet while something sprayed her with gore, ran away from it, but only started screaming when she got outside. Something about that door really traumatized her. If this is their best attempt at a cheap scare this is going to be a long movie.
The shot changes to a disjointed, jumping "Blair Witchy" handheld shot of the woman clearly holding the camera at arm's length and pointing it at herself. You can actually see her sticking her arm out to hold it. This is intercut with jarring close-ups of her face that reveal the poor quality of the makeup. There's no blood in her hair or her eyes, and it's all been very neatly and evenly applied across her face. Worse, since she's holding her own camera, she can't thrash around to look behind her without making the effect more obvious than it already is, so for the entire shot she's staring straight ahead, arms outstretched at waist-level repeating "Aaaaah! Aaaaah!" exactly the same every time. Finally the shot freezes on particularly comic expression of terror as the title card "WrestleManiac" appears in an olde-tyme There Will Be Blood-like font, and a merry mariachi band starts playing. Obviously, they're not trying to establish much of a mood here.
The opening credits play over some sepia-tone footage of lucha libre wrestling, which is probably going to be the most entertaining part of this movie. This also may be the only part of the movie with any real suspense; will that guy manage to escape the dreaded Indian Deathlock? Will he kick out of that top-rope hurricanrana? Will this movie manage to be any more stereotypically offensive to Mexicans than it already is with this damn mariachi music?
The answer is yes, because once the credits are done the music changes to the Mexican Hat Dance. Why don't we just have banditos in huge sombreros riding around in the background drinking tequila and firing pistols in the air while kids take a whack at a pinata in front of a fucking Taco Bell?
The first shot is tight on a silver Zippo lighter engraved with the words "BIG DICK" in large block letters. Some greasy-haired grinning jackass with an absurdly long and pointed pinky fingernail picks up the Big Dick Zippo and uses it to light his cigarette. The camera pulls back to show that he's driving a van, meaning that somewhere in the world there is a radio station that plays the Mexican Hat Dance. The guy asks if the two comely ladies in the back of the van have ever heard of a Dirty Sanchez. I think everyone in their lives has had this exact conversation, usually with the same kind of guy with the emotional maturity of a college student who still finds Beavis and Butthead funny. Of course, he's just aching for the slightest encouragement to talk about sex and/or feces, so the instant someone admits that they don't know what a Dirty Sanchez is, he gives them the nasty details whether they want to know or not. Although, we are talking about a van full of people in the porn industry. I'd expect two ladies working in porn to know a lot filthier stuff than a Dirty Sanchez. Do you really expect to gross out a bunch of people who have probably filmed triple-penetration flicks by now? We're living in the age of 2 Girls, 1 Cup, man. The Dirty Sanchez is so pre-Internet.
I already hate everything about this Big Dick guy, from his stupid lighter to his ridiculous Lemmy mustache and his soul patch. He's even wearing one of those taco-shaped straw hats that makes anybody look like a complete twat. I hope Rey makes it slow for him...
Somehow, don't ask me how, his Dirty Sanchez routine gets laughter from the other passengers in the van. I don't even think he told the story right. The camera reveals the stereotypical Funny Fat Guy looking grossed out in the back while a Stoner Dude chuckles hazily at the mention of anything boner-related. You can tell he's a stoner because he's smoking a doobie the size of a Snickers bar. The slasher-bait characters in Freddy vs. Jason had more depth than this. You might as well just hang their one defining character trait on a sign around their necks. About twenty seconds after the end of the story, Stoney finishes taking a hit off his major-league joint, gives his best hippie pothead delayed-reaction chortle and says "Heheh...Dirty Sanchez...that's fuckin' funny maaaaan!" Did someone switch discs on me? Am I watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre by mistake?
The ladies in the back laugh, but they call the driver (who is named-- I'm not joking-- Alfonse) a chauvinistic dickhead. Alfonse, in a rare display of wit, says if they wanted to avoid chauvinistic dickheads they chose the wrong line of work. "Hey FATS!" he yells back to the Dead Meat Fat Guy, "why don't you stop jerkin' that camera off and start filmin' these beautiful girls, eh?" Maybe-- and I'm just offering my layman's opinion here-- but maybe it's because most pornos aren't filmed in the back of a jostling poorly-lit Dodge conversion van while a tinny rendition of the Mexican Hat Dance whines out from the 1980s-era dashboard speakers while two chicks aren't doing anything remotely sexual to each other. Yelling "hey FATS" at him probably isn't helping, either.
Fats doesn't seem bothered by this verbal abuse at all and perkily says "all right!" Maybe he's willing to put up with a little abuse about his weight if he gets to look at naked girls rubbing each other's boobs for most of the day. The girls suddenly take a pointed interest in each one another's fingernails until Fats switches a handheld camera on, clears his throat and asks "So what got you girls into amateur porn?" What's he trying to shoot, a porn documentary? Is he going after some cast interviews for the DVD extras? Who cares? My question is, who got Wrestlemaniac's director out of amateur porn? Strike that; if the director had shot any amateur porn, the characters in this movie would be shooting a better one than this.
The blonde who is Not Leyla looks offended and snuggles up to Lucky #13. "Porn?" she frowns in distaste, "I'm just here to have a kickass time with my favorite girl. We can't help what gets caught on tape." Then she moves in on Leyla and they share a completely passionless peck on the lips. You can tell these two girls are so not sexually attracted to one another, because they both act exactly like two straight people who have been ordered to kiss on a dare. Leyla seems to barely resist retching. I'm amazed at how little excited I am at the prospect of seeing Not Leyla naked. She's got a narrow bony beak of a nose that seems to have been so badly surgically altered that the sides have collapsed in on themselves, and when she smiles it looks like someone's pulling the corners of her mouth apart with hooks lodged high in her cheekbones like she's one of the Cenobites from Hellraiser. It's just weird that you can somehow see up her nose when she's looking straight at the camera. And before you get excited, I'm putting the odds that Leyla herself will get topless are somewhere between slim and none. The banker called, and I don't think the offer was high enough to close that deal.
"We are gonna make history!" Alfonse gestures grandly with his cigarette. "We are gonna make...a film. Yeah..." Is this guy serious? They're shooting a bland lesbian porno with a single miniDV camera in the back of a van. This is going to be about the same quality as my reviews on YouTube. I don't really see this lighting up the red carpet at the Adult Erotic Gay Video Awards, bro. Girls Gone Wild has a more professional sense of eroticism than this. But I'm interrupting the artist's grand vision here.
"It's gonna have action, it's gonna have drama, it's gonna have thrills and chills, but mostly..." Oh, wait for it, here comes the big secret, "...it's gonna have a lot of sex." The guy says "sex" like one of the kids from Porky's, as if it's an act he's only heard about in legend. And what exactly about this life-defining project required everyone to pile into a van to shoot this farce in Mexico. If all you were going to do was tape some naked fake blondes writing around and fingering each other, I don't see how Mexico contributes much to the proceedings. In fact, if I'm watching a porno and I notice the location at all, it's a bad porno.
"Now let's talk to Daisy," says Fats, pointing the camera down at a comatose blonde woman on the floor wearing only a white cotton nightie. He calls her name several times to absolutely no response. Guys, I think Daisy might be dead. Fats points the camera at himself and says "she's a little shy," then creepily decides to lift the hem of her nightie up so he can ogle her ass, complete with a disgusting licking of his chops as if her butt was a bucket of fried chicken. Leyla slaps his meaty hand away, but everyone seems mildly amused at his sexual assault of a dead woman, so it all ends in laughs.
Fats swings the camera around to point at Stoney. This is officially the worst porno ever. "And here's Jimbo," Fats proclaims. How did I know this guy's name was going to end in an O? "Hey Jimbo! What the hell're you doing here?" (Correct answer: to pad up the body count.)
Jimbo gets a distant, existential look in his eyes and muses, "I dunno...Alfonse was like, 'I need a van,' and I was like, 'I got a van,' and then...he was tellin' me he was gonna make nudie videos with my sister, and that's just not cool, maaaan..." Jimbo's voice is steadily getting more high-pitched and reaching that reedy, breathless sound stoners get when they try to speak with a lungful of bong smoke. He exaggerates this by holding his breath and making his eyes go wide and glassy, "next thing y'know I wake up...*hurrp* I'm in Mexico." So if this is Jimbo's van, than we are literally in the Mystery Machine at this point. How exactly did these morons get past the border checkpoint in a van with a reeking shag-carpeted interior that's absorbed about seventeen years of ganja smoke?
Fats turns finally to Leyla, whose character's name is Dallas, and asks her how she got started in porn. Well, when you're holding briefcases in Deal or No Deal, low-budget porn seems like a step up, doesn't it? I wish the other girl's name was Debbie, so we could call the porn movie Debbie Does Dallas. Alfonse interrupts any response from Dallas and says "Let me tell you somethin' about Dallas: she may look like a troll, but she can reach her legs so far behind her head..." Dallas tries to derail this line of conversation with a fusillade of debris from the back of the van. I don't know where the "troll" line came from. Leyla may not blow me away, but she's no butterface.
Alfonse howls in laughter and cranks up the stereotypical mariachi music, leading into a lengthy travel montage as we watch the shitty Dodge van bounce through the desert on almost nonexistent dirt roads. I really have to re-state how much cheery mariachi music undermines any possible atmosphere of dread or apprehension we might feel towards these characters' safety. After a minute of driving footage, I'm already having some bad "MANOS:" The Hands of Fate flashbacks. Eventually we go back into the car. The girls are fanning themselves (except for Daisy, who I assume is still dead), and Fatty is wedged in-between the two front seats, puzzling over a road map. I'm just now thinking that he looks a lot like Hurley from Lost when he says "Dude," making me nearly spew my drink in laughter. Why has Tubby chosen to uncomfortably wedge his fat ass in the middle of the van when the front passenger seat is wide open? I've never seen a road trip where the coveted shotgun position went unclaimed.
"Dude," Pseudo-Hurley repeats, "I'm telling you, we were supposed to get on that freeway like, twenty miles ago." My god, this is Manos. This movie's not even trying if it's going with the oldest horror setup in the book: a van full of disposable morons get lost and take shelter in a spooky building.
Dallas cries out for some air conditioning (in an 80s Dodge van? Dream on, sister), and Debbie (it's what I'm calling the Nostril Queen) whines that she really has to pee. "Do you see anywhere around here to stop?!" Alfonse snaps back at them irritably, gesturing at the endless badland all around them, with thousands of convenient places for someone to take a piss. He jerks a thumb back at Daisy on the floor, who still hasn't moved an inch. "You don't see Daisy complaining!" Of course you don't, I think she's been dead for sixteen hours!
He grabs the map, saying "I don't even see Cabo on this map!" Yeah, the pointy end of Baja California is just fucking impossible to find on a map, isn't it? Let's see if I can help.
How braindead do you have to be to get lost in fucking Baja California? Go SOUTH on the ONLY HIGHWAY AROUND. If you run into the ocean, YOU'RE IN FUCKING CABO.
Alfonse gets frustrated and throws the map out the window, proclaiming it a piece of shit. He'll just rely on the unerring navigational skills that got them this far. Unbelievably, this movie has now decided to steal the lamest plot twist from The Blair Witch Project, of all the movies to mine for plot ideas, where one of the characters discards the map as being "fucking useless." We are not getting off on the right foot, people. Alfonse says that it's no problem since Fats (he still uses this name) knows his way "all over this craphole country."
Fats looks gobsmacked. "Aren't you Mexican?" Alfonse asks. No, you're thinking of Hurley again, Al. I know the resemblance is uncanny.
"Yeah, but I was born in Seattle, dude."
"Whatever! Still Mexican! I know you can find your way to a taco stand." Not only is Al constantly breaking this guy's balls about being fat, now he's suggesting that Mexicans have some kind of ancestral navigational memory
They finally run across one of those long-lost gas stations that look like an outhouse with a single pump in front and a tetanus farm in the back. It's the exact sort of place you expect the mutants from The Hills Have Eyes to be working at. For some reason there are car tires stacked on the roof. The ladies shriek for Alfonse to stop the car, but he refuses, saying "we got places to be!" I don't think any of these ladies really want to see the inside of that bathroom, anyway. It probably hasn't been cleaned since the Hoover administration. Debbie threatens that he'd better pull over "unless you want to be swimming in my piss." Debbie really ought to know better than to set up any of these three sexually retarded cro-magnons with a golden shower innuendo.
"Hey, hey," Alfonse says defensively when the ladies pile out angrily, "I just didn't want my princess to bare her tulip in a craphole like this!" Bare her tulip? Who talks like that?! It's interesting to note that the script seems to have forgotten about Jimbo entirely since he's nowhere to be seen, and nobody bothers to give Daisy a nudge or check her pulse or anything. Debbie performs a ridiculous legs-clenched jiggling femme-run all the way to the door of the gas station, which is locked tight. Now that she's outside, we can see that she's chosen to run around outside wearing only a pink tank top, pink cotton panties, and high heels. Pretty much the ideal slasher chase victim since the lack of clothes limits her ability to crash through undergrowth without sustaining injury, and the heels will severely hamper her top speed.
She continues to pound on the door as the movie offers us a POV shot of someone lurking inside the gas station, breathing heavily. This carries absolutely no suspense, since you hardly expect Evil Rey Misterio to just crash through the door and wrestle everyone at once, do you? After a few more cuts back and forth, finally some chubby guy wearing a black lucha mask stomps out, growling "Rrrrrgh! I smell gringos!" Even through the mask, we can see that this guy has a hideously lumpy and misshapen head, with weird fishy eyes that point in opposite directions. One gazes fixedly up and to the right, the other just off-center.
Hurley points excitedly at the horrible mutant. "Dude! Dude! That's the Great Diablo Negro mask!"
"And so it is!" agrees the attendant. He whips the mask off, revealing a weird and wholly un-Mexican face. His mouth is crooked and full of uneven, shattered teeth. The inside of this guy's mouth looks like the bars on Winamp's spectrum analyzer during a Dragonforce song. "The greatest Mexican wrestler who ever lived!"
Without hesitation, Fats reaches into his shirt and dons his own yellow wrestler's mask. He assumes a ridiculous grizzly bear pose. "Bullshit! Nobody can beat...El Tigre! Hurraaaah!" I seriously think I'm beginning to lose my mind here, and I'm barely ten minutes into this movie. The fat guy actually carries a wrestler's mask with him? Who does he think he is, Dom Delouise? Was the director's vision for this movie a mix of The Hills Have Eyes, WWE Smackdown, and Cannonball Run?! You may think I'm a super-geek for carrying twenty-sided dice in my car, howling quotes from Predator at the drop of a hat, and keeping a blue robot puppet made out of a Dustbuster in my room, but at least I've never worn a yellow lucha mask and flexed, growling like a tiger. At least not where anybody else could see. Fats has somehow managed to come across as dorkier and creepier than the weird deformed mutant fish-man they found locked in a Mexican gas station. I'm stunned. At least the fish-man has an excuse. This guy looks like an inbred cross between a young Ernest Borgnine and Peter Falk, if Peter Falk was a woman and Ernest was missing a chromosome. Only genetic experimentation could account for a dude this fleshy.
Debbie stomps her foot and interrupts the impromptu wrestling interview before Alfonse starts screaming "Lemme tell ya something, Mean Gene!!" and reminds them all that, um, hello? Pretty girl needs to pee here? The Torgo-esque gas station attendant scrunches his brow in thought, then points, "There's an outhouse in back! Haven't used it in years. Me, I just piss against this wall! Hurrhurhurhur!" Yup, I done filled that outhouse up years ago! Now I just take my dumps in that thar bucket! Debbie predictably gives an exaggerated valleygirl "Eyuuuughh" and jiggle-jogs off to the outhouse, giving the camera an excuse to do a gratuitous tight focus on her completely nonexistent white-girl's ass for a few seconds. Of course, all the men's heads unconsciously swivel around to stare. Torgo is ironically the first to break the group hypnosis with a peppy "So! Where you gringos headed with such sweet cargo?" Why does he keep calling them gringos? He's the whitest guy here.
"Porn flick at the beach, daddy-o!" Alfonse grooves. Um, daddy-o?
"Ohhhhh," Torgo nods sagely. "Me? I ain't into that shit." No doubt this is a guy who values a good story in his erotica. "Too much pussy is bad for ya heart, amigo." He jiggles a leather sack in his hand. "Blow, on the other hand..." Here, the camera cuts to an absurd and horrid close-up of this guy's mouth as he smears his fingers over his brown/orange teeth. "...doesn't wantcha to call the next day! Know what I mean?"
"Precisely!" Alfonse patronizes the guy without missing a beat, and proceeds to ask him how they can get back to the freeway. The attendant laughs like that was some kind of double entendre.
"You guys are nowhere near that stretcha dirt we natives call a freeway!" Fats (who is looking much less like Hurley and much more like Rosie O'Donnell now) asks where they are, to which the yokel response "we locals call this the middle of no-fucking-where!" Alfonse curses angrily, causing the attendant's mood to pull a complete 180 from mocking mirth to honest concern for his feelings, "Awwwwww, amigo, don't feel bad! If you have enough gas, the town...about one hundred miles!" In perfect keeping with script convenience, Alfonse confesses they've only got enough gas to go another fifty and inquires as to the state of the ancient pumps he's leaning on. Torgo "ohhhs" forlornly and says "those haven't pumped since Mexico was Spanish territory. I wonder if they had unleaded back then.
"Shit..." Torgo has a sudden devastating thought that makes him shift backwards slightly, it's so jarring. This guy's performance is simply epic, guys. It's like watching your drunk uncle re-enact scenes from The Godfather. He points a finger at Alfonse, his acting suddenly turned angry, "you could take that road south, but...then you'd have to drive by..."
The dramatic beat here is so heavy it literally takes three seconds to crash all over the ground. I almost wish it would end with a melodramatic "Bum-bum-BUUUUUUUUMMMM!"
"...La Sangre De Dios!!!!!" And of course, this 'native' Mexican says it without any hint of an Hispanic accent. This guy sounds like they flew him down from south Boston. The way he says it phonetically is "Lah San Gray Da Deeyose!"
Fats is so blown away by this foreboding statement that he bends over, looking like the news knocked the wind out of him. "Dude are you fffffffucking serious?" (I counted the f's.)
Torgo wears his best 'I shit you not' look. "It's real, amigo!" Fats starts going through a grotesque routine of disbelieving gestures and grunts like "Awwww! Ohhhh! That's-- that--Duuuuuude! No waaaaayyyyy!" leaving Alfonse in the unlucky position of having to cue these guys for two minutes of completely batshit exposition. Finally he gives up and asks what's so scary about this mythical town. Fats obliges by laying out the backstory:
"It's this old ghost town, man, and they say that nobody's lived there for like, forty years. So it's where they put El Mascarado?" Fats strangely decides to end this sentence on an up-note, like he's asking a question. "After he, like, gouged a man's brains out with his bare hands. It's like, this...legend, okay?! Just this old...Mexican legend." Well it's a forty year-old legend. I'm not sure you can even call it a legend after forty years. What's the statute of limitations on legend stories?
"Thing about Mexican legends," Torgo chips in conspiratorially, "is that some of 'em turn out to be true!" Wow. That's some Ed Wood style dialogue right there. Couldn't we be in the middle of one of the good Mexican legends, then? Like El Chupacabra? Oh, wait, they made two of those movies already, and they sucked ass, too. Damn. What other Mexican legends are there? The Invisible Swordsman? Or did he get shot?
Alfonse is dubious about all this legend nonsense and scoffs about the creepy guy's colossal drug use. Torgo grows very serious and points down the road, telling him, "Take that road. You'll find gas," Um, what? We'll find gas? Is there a gasoline tree a few miles down this road? Torgo tosses Alfonse his bag of cocaine and reminds him very carefully not to stop for any reason. For no reason whatsoever. "Driiiiiiiiiiiive" he breathes, making me very glad Smell-O-Vision hasn't been perfected yet. I bet this guy's breath smells like the inside of Andre the Giant's jockey shorts.
The movie wastes any opportunity for authentic gross-out scares by immediately cutting away to them driving onward, and I was so terribly curious as to how Debbie's pee-stop went. Continuity is all over the place, too, because in the long shots of the van they're driving across a flat, barren badland. The gas station was at the foot of some mountains and hills, and when we're back in the van you can see through the windows that they're in an entirely different region altogether, surrounded by trees. Jimbo, still toking on his joint, wonders aloud where they are. This is a fair question, but hardly surprising considering this is officially Jimbo's eighth hour of sustained marijuana use, and I doubt he knows what fucking planet he's on. Alfonse goes right back to being annoying again when he gets behind the wheel, getting loads of amusement making fun of Torgo's peculiar "middle of no-fucking-where" delivery and cackling like a hyena.
Fats still won't shut up about how wicked cool it is that they're heading to La Sangre De Dios, "where they brought El Mascarado after he went crazy." Because you don't send crazy homicidal wrestlers to mental health institutions, it's much wiser to turn them loose on small towns where their body count can be kept to a manageable level. Everyone draws a blank on the name El Mascarado, so he explains, "Dude, El Mascarado... the greatest Mexican wrestler of all time?" I just had a great idea for the ending of this movie: when everything seems lost and El Mascarado is about to slay his last victim, El Santo flies in on a jet car and beats him in a cage match! Nobody's greater than El Santo, the saint of the wrestling ring!
"Oooooooh," Dallas writhes, "Is he cute?" Ugh, is there anything on this planet these characters don't immediately have an impulse to screw?
"Ffffffuck no!" Fats gags, "He looked like hell!" This is where the backstory goes from goofy, to ludicrous, and goes past negative infinity and circles back around to hilarious again.
THE SECRET ORIGIN OF EL MASCARADO
"Thing is, this guy came out of nowhere. I mean he didn't even exist before! And around the same time he appeared three of the best Mexican wrestlers disappeared. They just *pfffff!* vanished! Now, legend goes they all ended up in the hands of these scientists hired by the president, and these guys created the perfect wrestler out of the missing dudes' body parts, man!"
"Anyway, right before the Olympic trials, somethin' snaps! El Mascarado starts killin' his opponents in the ring. He became a monster, just nuts, dude. After that, details get a little sketchy, but rumor has it they brought him to this small town in the middle of nowhere to fix him up. And the name of that town: La Sangre De Dios."
As Fats relates this Earth-shattering story, Alfonse busies himself taking key-hits from his newly-acquired bag of cocaine. He's not even pacing himself, he's basically shoveling the junk right up his nose. I imagine this is a lot like what writing the script was like. Alfonse, now stoned of his gourd, declares that they've lucked out and found themselves a terrific new location to shoot the film at. Nothing spices up a low-grade porno like the unlikely threat of a re-animated Frankenwrestler pulling the fornicators' brains out.
But let me get this straight: in an attempt to swindle a gold medal for wrestling at the Olympics, the president of Mexico had the three greatest wrestlers in the country abducted, murdered, and employed a staff of mad scientists to reassemble the best bits of each to construct the ultimate mutant luchador. Did they have a weight class in mind for this? And what kind of wrestling? They only do Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling at the Olympics, and I'm pretty sure "freestyle" doesn't include hitting people with steel folding chairs and jumping on them from the top turnbuckle. Though that would be wicked cool.
You thought blood doping scandals were bad. Imagine the bad press when El Mascarado snapped and started twisting peoples' heads off at the qualifiers. "Authorities suspect steroid use." But you have to understand the utter dominance of the Russian athletes in the Olympics back in the Cold War era. They were just unbeatable. Hockey, gymnastics, boxing, you name it! When they're sending athletes like this...
...there's no beating that! You'd be sewing pieces of dead wrestlers together, too.
Moving on with the story, after creating this Frankenwrestler they sent him down to the qualifiers in Mexico City where he immediately starts tearing people to shreds with his deadly West Coast Pop and 619 maneuvers (the 619 being the deadliest move in all of sports entertainment, second only to John Cena's dreaded F.U.). After subduing their creation, the government inexplicably decided to send him to some small town in Baja instead of, y'know, a mental hospital or a prison or a firing squad...Some people remember those two U.S. sprinters giving the black power salute at their medal ceremony, but wrestling fans remember the Mexico City Massacre.
Back to the movie. Another exterior shot shows that the van has teleported to yet another mountainous region, where seconds before they were in a wooded area, and a flat desert seconds before that. Time passes, and Fats notices the town out of the side window. The (rather unspectacular sight) of a normal town in broad daylight prompts one of his trademark extended-consonant exclamations: "Oh sssssssssshit!"
"That's creepy!" Debbie whines, even though nothing about this situation is remotely creepy other than her own brother tagging along to watch her film a porno movie and Daisy, who still hasn't moved. Alfonse spins around and threatens that they're here to fuck, and he'll turn this truck around this instant if they don't start getting in the mindset to sex each other up in a dusty Mexican motel room damn pronto. With his attention diverted, he promptly swerves the van into a sizeable rock in the middle of the road. The van lurches and fishtails wildly, whiplashing everyone inside. Amusingly, exterior shots of the swerving van show absolutely no damage to the front end, despite the sound of crushing metal when they hit the rock. Either the director was too incompetent to keep track of simple continuity or the budget was so low they couldn't afford to take a sledgehammer to the bumper of a twenty year-old Dodge.
Alfonse (who I remind you is so coked out he thinks he's riding Space Mountain) hoots and hollers in joy, and says that everything's fine. The van is "runnin' as smooth as a shaved bush." The van immediately craps out. Daisy has still not moved. Am I the only person on the planet who's keeping track of the dead woman in the van?
Al hops out of the van, hands on his hips and looking like he's fricking Cortez after putting the torch to his own ships. The van rolls to a halt in front of a chained wooden gate with "LA SANGRE DE DIOS" scrawled along the top of a stone archway in red paint. He calls for Fats to bring him some bolt cutters, which he produces instantly (huh?). Do cameramen routinely carry bolt cutters for some purpose I'm not aware of? Alfonse cuts the chain-- which is new, but I'm not sure if the characters are too stupid to take note of it, or the filmmakers were too stupid to produce a properly aged prop. The gate crashes inward, allowing Al to stride in to claim the place as his own. He then does that annoying "making a little movie screen with my fingers" thing that no director should ever do, and frames up one of the buildings. The director apparently thought this shot was genius, because he watch this little finger-screen for about twenty seconds. God, I pray that Rey starts stacking up some bodies soon.
Fats incessantly yammers on to fill the dead air as he and Alfonse explore the abandoned town, saying things like "Oh man! Oh man! Oh maaaan!" and "This is fucked up, dude. This is-- this is...this is fucked up!" What do you figure, that this was in the script, or this guy's ad-libbing was so bad the best he could manage was "Oh man!" and "This is fucked up!" over and over again? The town is chock full of things that make clattering noises, and the movie takes great pains to establish the numerous wind chimes made of spray-painted plastic cups and beer bottles that are seemingly on every corner. The two men approach a bar or a restaurant with the word "VORHEES" painted in blue in two places. Gee. Subtle. You have referenced a popular horror movie franchise. This movie is sophisticated on so many levels, man! I'm going to have to watch this movie again just to pick up all the references to other horror movies.
VORHEES? Are you fucking kidding me? Not only is just painting the word "VORHEES" on a wall twice about as subtle as a brick to the head, you didn't even spell "Voorhees" right, you fucking tard-biscuits. It's Jason Voorhees. My mother knows that. You want to make a Friday the 13th reference, call the town "Lago Cristalino" or something, throw an occasional "ch-ch-ch ah-ah-ah" into the soundtrack. You might as well have scrawled "I SAW A JASON MOVIE ONCE AND IT WAS COOL" on the wall in your own shit. I realize this movie isn't exactly aiming for greatness but even its attempts at wit and indy cred are sad and desperate.
You can tell the actor playing Alfonse is relishing his role because he's really hamming it up when he says lines like "this place betta get ready for some hardcore crotch-on-crotch...action!" He does all this complete with a wide, open-mouth gum-chewing delivery and a dramatic removal of his sunglasses. Nobody should ever say "crotch-on-crotch action" again, though. Ever. Crotch-on-crotch action sounds about as erotic as reading a dirty Firefly slashfic.
Debbie and Dallas (Daisy is still nowhere to be seen) leap up on the bar of the Café Vorhees and start writhing around in their underwear, which is a little weird because they're dancing around to no music. We hear music, but that's the movie soundtrack. They're not dancing to anything. Alfonse stands below them, framing the ladies with his fingers some more and saying things like "That's it, ladies. A little titty-grabbin', a little ass-smackin'..." Say what you like about Alfonse as a director, he runs those girls through rehearsals first. And he's not afraid to give detailed direction. "You! Grab them titties! Now you! Slap that ass!"
Fats isn't paying any attention. He's staring off into the distance, already so creeped-out by the entirely un-creepy town that he's losing his focus on the semi-nude girls. Alfonse snaps him out of his reverie and tells him to hurry and set up for the film. "We're losing light here!" he shouts. That's our Alfonse: he won't shoot porn unless the lighting is perfect. But it's clear they didn't bring a single item of lighting equipment in the van. The extent of their equipment is a pair of bolt cutters and a cheap DV handheld camera.
Suddenly Daisy staggers into the T.G.I. Vorhees, a half-empty bottle of whiskey swinging from her hand. I'm just amazed she came out of her coma on her own. She's sure hitting that booze hard, too, for a girl who can't weigh more than a buck-ten. Once again, Wrestlemaniac has no time to be subtle. All we need to know about Daisy is that she drinks harder than Ted Kennedy on St. Patrick's Day. How many people do you know can drink to unconsciousness one night, then wake up and go after a little hair of the dog by downing half a bottle of Jim Beam? That's hardcore. Her liver must look like the surface of Mars.
Daisy flounders onto the bar drunkenly while Debbie sexlessly straddles Dallas and the actresses pretend to be aroused without ever touching one another. Alfonse gives them the setup: "You girls, you're waiting for the plumber! He's not showing up, and you're getting bored!" Lesbians. Waiting for a plumber. In an abandoned Mexican bar. And somehow we still have to work in the legend of a masked wrestling serial killer. When the premise of your porn is weaker than Jackie Treehorn's Logjammin', you're probably going to alienate your audience. Unless the movie has Pamela Anderson in it or something.
That said, Al calls for action and the girls start tepidly making out as cornball "wakkicha-wakka" soft-core music plays. God, these ladies look uncomfortable doing gay stuff to each other. They don't touch or rub or anything, they just sort of smack lips and play with each other's hair. And if you're hoping that they're going to lose their clothes, forget about it. I don't know much about shooting porn but I'm fairly sure bare breasts factor significantly into it. Daisy does absolutely nothing useful to contribute either, just sort of traces a finger along Debbie's ass and makes cooing noises. Alfonse rips his shirt off, dons a phony tool belt and jumps into the scene. Fats, being the only camera filming this scene, is forced to swing his handheld back and forth between Alfonse and the ladies as they share their grotesquely stupid "I'm the plumber / God yes, we need your thick pipe badly" routine, so now we've got a porno with fake lesbians who don't grope each other, is shot in natural light, and is going to give you motion sickness from the single camera whipping back and forth. Great. He's not even recording anything. I own a similar camera and the red LED that lights up when you're rolling isn't on. There's also a mount for a sound pickup on top of the camera but nothing is in it, so he's recording sound using the camera's internal microphone.
Debbie finally loses her top as Alfonse swaggers into the girl-sandwich. I'll save you the suspense, her tits are fake, and not even the sexy kind of fake. They don't hang naturally at all, they just look like someone nailed a couple of softballs to her ribs. She went too big with those ta-tas, and the surgeon butchered her to boot. Daisy starts to disrobe-- and she's much more attractive with her natural, much smaller breasts-- but the moment is fleeting. Just when she starts to touch Alfonse she starts to retch and staggers outside to puke. Whether this has anything to do with touching Alfonse or it's simply a natural consequence of the liter of whiskey she's chugged, I can't say. Al reprimands Fats to keep rolling ("I'm getting good stuff, good stuff! I got some good angles here, good angles..."), apparently unwilling to do another take of the scene despite one of the actresses being forced to flee the room to vomit. That would spoil the mood for me a little.
Daisy clamps her hand over her mouth and gags as she runs out the door...and she keeps running down the block...and around a building...and away from the town...jeez, how far does she have to run to throw up. Just making it out the door when you have to throw up is hard enough, but she's making some serious distance here. The director does not waste this prime opportunity to objectify her by doing another tight close-up of her ass for about twenty seconds, because there's nothing sexier than a woman trying to find a good place to purge. She runs so far that she loses sight of the town entirely in broad daylight. If this bony girl was sober and spent a little time working out, she could run marathons. Finally she can't hold it in anymore and she pukes a mouthful of beef vegetable soup (mostly on her own hand) before realizing she has no idea where the town she was just in went. She shuffles around in the desert barefoot (and I do not envy this actress) until she steps on a bunch of fairly obvious broken glass and is forced to sit in the hulk of a rusted-out Ford pickup to tend to her wounds.
Daisy hears heavy breathing in the nearby patches of grass as she wrenches hilariously large pieces of glass out of her feet. The cinematography is downright childish here, with lots of bug-eyed close-ups of Daisy looking stressed out in the direction of strange noises and hand-held camera movements. The director has also opted to wash out most of the color with a filter for no reason I can discern. This is the first time we're seeing blood in the movie and the filter is making it all look black. Continuity is nonexistent. Daisy is now wearing panties because she's sitting cross-legged in a nightie that doesn't cover her ass when she's standing up, and without underwear her cooter would be hanging out and easier to see than the WWE Titantron. And hey, her feet aren't bleeding in the wide shots! We don't get our money shot of the killer yet, either. The shot switches to Rey's POV and rushes towards Daisy like the Evil Dead monster until we cut back to the Vorhees Bar & Grill.
Apparently they've wrapped for the night, because the ladies are all dressed again and looking bored. Fats is still recording all this excitement, naturally, because who wouldn't want to rent a porno movie where three people lounge in an empty bar and don't do anything? He resorts to his documentary format, "Alfonse, tell us when you knew you wanted to make porn!"
"I never wanted to make porn!" Alfonse protests. "I wanted to be the next Scorcese!" Yeah, I don't think Martin has to worry about anyone involved with this picture. "But I just realized that there's more money in this business. I mean who gives a shit about Taxi Driver today?" Um, almost everyone? Scorcese just won a fucking Best Director Oscar last year. He's regarded as one of the finest filmmakers in history.
"But Deep Throat?" he concludes, "That's a fuckin' classic." Ugh, don't drag Deep Throat down to your level, dude.
The ladies whine that they want to go home, and Jimbo (forgotten by the script until now) shuffles inside looking appropriately blitzed and asking where everyone's been all this time. Alfonse tries to keep the ladies excited and horny by suggesting they go a few rounds with Fats. He punctuates this innuendo by painfully grabbing the guy by his nads, waving them up and down and saying "don't you wanna see what our wrestler's got?!" The proper response would be for Fats to break the camera over Al's skull. You never grab another man's jimmy junk like that. Fats instead meekly whimpers off while Dallas says she'd rather put her own foot up her ass than take a piledriver from El Gigante. Hurtful, I know, but it's still the sexiest thing that's been suggested all movie.
Tubby busies himself reviewing his footage on the LCD display of his camera when he notices something and calls everyone around to look at it. Just seconds after Daisy flees out the door to begin her 10K run, a man's shadow materializes in the doorway. "Yeah, that's the shadow comin' off my big dick!" Alfonse hoots in laughter. I don't know why Alfonse is claiming that his dick is shaped like a little human and can detach itself and fly out doorways independently of its host body, but Al seems to find the notion funny. Jimbo (the brain trust of this group) wonders aloud where Daisy went to and exclaims that she has all his weed. Where exactly was she storing all of this weed, in the whiskey bottle or her pocketless nightgown? Maybe she rolled it all into a joint the size of a grande burrito and smoked it in the van before shooting the movie. Alfonse says she's probably passed out somewhere and leads the group back to the van. Jimbo decides to go off in search of his wacky tobacky.
Ten seconds later, he stops in the middle of the town, slack-jawed and asks himself "What was I doing?" The man has smoked so much pot he's actually burned out his short-term memory. But miraculously, some lone surviving synapse in the smoke-addled remnants of his cottage cheese brain fires and he remembers that he's looking for Daisy. "I got some wicked munchies coming on, maaaaan," he mutters. Because he's a stoner. Get it? At least he's going to die now.
He wanders around a bit and the movie reminds us that there's plenty of ambient noise and wind chimes to mask the sound of a 220 lbs. wrestler coming to kill you. A small Ziploc bag of weed lands at Jimbo's feet, and by the time his reflexes kick in (which takes about a full minute) and he begins to wonder where it came from, an arm zips out from the darkness, seizes Jimbo by the throat, and squeezes the cheese out of him. I'm happy that they're dead and all, but Rey is making this way too quick for them. I officially request that he draw these murders out more, because I'm not properly able to savor their deaths if you just snap their necks.
Elsewhere, Alfonse is uselessly trying to start the van, having forgotten than he just destroyed it by running over a rock the size of The Rock. Then he takes another key hit of crack, forgets the van won't start again, and turns the key. The engine sputters and dies. Al issues a litany of "fucks" until Dallas orders him to pop the hood. Al is dubious as to what she could possibly do to help, so she angrily tells him that she's "not just a pair of tits on legs," her dad was a mechanic. Yeah, well my dad was an engineer for McDonnell-Douglas. Doesn't mean I can fix a helicopter. Okay okay, I'll concede her knowledge of basic automotive maintenance. I'll bet any amount of money this has absolutely zero bearing on any future events in this movie anyway. She can lube my crankshaft anytime, I'll tell you that much. Hoo-ah!
Night falls (or at least, the director puts a day-for-night filter on the camera), and Dallas is still toiling away under the hood. Debbie (who still doesn't officially have a name yet) keeps shouting for Jimbo and after a few tries sets off on her own to look for him. At first I wonder who gives a shit where Jimbo goes, or whether he comes back, for that matter. But then I remember that Jimbo is her brother and I'm awestruck by the fact this script actually managed to draw up a single logical character motivation. Fats notices that she's gone and hurries after her, and Al calls out "Steve, where do you think you're going?"
Wait, Fats' name is Steve? Since when? He's been calling him Fats so consistently throughout this movie I literally thought that was his name. Maybe his name is Steve Fats. Anyway, Al and Steve set off together to look for Debbie who's looking for Jimbo, who was looking for Daisy. And despite the fact that Debbie has maybe a ten second head-start and has been shrieking Jimbo's name, she's vanished completely and the boys have no idea where she's gone.
They're startled when the lights all over the town start up. Interesting. Normally the killer cuts the power. They hear a noise behind a wall, which is of course a false-start scare when it turns to be Debbie. I always hated that kind of scare when people choose to leap out at people from the shadows instead of just responding when people call out for them. They continue the search together, but Alfonse (having snorted a half-kilo of blow by now) is vibrating in paranoia and starts asking in a shrill Jerry Lewis-esque voice if they shouldn't be going back to the vaaaaaan! Oh laaaaady! Fats urges calm, saying he knows exactly where they are.
"Dungeons & Dragons, man," Fats says, seeming to imply that D&D nerds have an innate direction sense gained from mapping dungeons on graph paper. Of course, this implication only works if you figure the writer of this script knows jack shit about Dungeons & Dragons, an assumption that is blown away when the script keeps throwing out more phony nerd-speak: "You're looking at a 14th-level warrior here, man. I made it through Gauntlet's Maze of Death in under six hours." Fucking hell, why is it that people still can't write authentic gamer nerd dialogue? Millions of assholes play World of Warcraft, isn't that enough for people to fake it convincingly? And of course, it's the fat sweaty loser who plays D&D. It couldn't possibly be one of the foxy chicks.
No, I'm talking about real life. Why is it never a foxy chick who plays D&D? Why? WHY???
Debbie heads into a nearby house to investigate. The men (who were following about ten feet back) are completely forgotten again because they don't follow her into the house and we can no longer hear their voices, even though Alfonse is jibbering like an overcaffeinated chihuahua. She stalks through the darkness for a few minutes until she finds Jimbo's crumpled form on the ground. When she turns him over, she screams in horror because Rey Misterio has slathered strawberry jam all over his face. Really he's supposed to have torn Jimbo's face off, but it looks like you could serve a decent breakfast by rubbing waffles on him.
The men rush into the room at the sound of Debbie's screaming and Alfonse (predictably) loses his shit at the grisly sight. Fats explains that it's El Mascarado's M.O., because whenever a Mexican wrestler wins a match they take the loser's mask as the ultimate humiliation. For Al, that's the last straw and he starts cursing up a storm. The funniest part of the movie so far comes when Al points at Jimbo dead on the floor and wails "Fuck youuuuuu!" then runs back out the door shouting things like "you faceless fuck! Crazy fat fuck!" The sight of El Mascarado, silhouetted in the moonlight across the hall stops Al dead in his tracks and he runs back to the others babbling that he's being followed. They barricade the door as the director decides to rip off Evil Dead a little more by bringing back the POV monster to slam into the door a few times.
Al abandons this post and springs out the window, leaving the others to die when the door collapses. El Mascarado seems to smell a huge pussy and it's not coming from Debbie. The wrestler also leaves the door. Fats & Debbie see Al barricade himself in the Catholic mission, which is loaded with a half-dozen deadbolts. I guess the monsignor was used to repelling berserker luchadors when this place was still inhabited. They pound on the door, but Al won't let them in, instead jamming Scarface amounts of cocaine up his nose and yelling for them to go away. Every time Steve Fats hits the door, the movie makes it a point to show us that the impact steadily exposes a rusty iron nail from the door another inch. Gee, I wonder if this is what directors like Martin Scorcese call "foreshadowing." Perhaps we will see this nail used in the murder of one of these characters.
El Mascarado walks in the back door of the mission and rams his throat into the exposed nail. I'm shocked. Some kind of watery pink liquid that could never possibly be mistaken for blood fountains out of Al's collar. The unseen wrestler starts chucking Al's carcass through church pews, then picks him up and rams him about ten times teeth-first into a windowsill. Yeah! Work that turnbuckle! All the while, El Mascarado is growling and grunting like some kind of sick gorilla. It's really distracting, especially since the movie only seems to have about three different grunt sounds that are simply repeated over and over again. Lou Ferrigno didn't grunt this much when he was the Hulk.
Al tries to retreat out the back into the graveyard, still gurgling out mouthfuls of teeth. He slouches against a tombstone, where we finally get our first good look at El Mascarado as he looms overhead. I have to say, it doesn't really look like Rey Misterio at all with all his tattoos covered up. It also looks like Rey put on some serious weight for this role, because he looks awfully chubby. Is this really Rey? Wait a minute.
Those lying bastards!
It's not Rey Misterio. Well it is, but it's not. See, there's a Rey Misterio, Sr. and a Rey Misterio, Jr.. Rey Jr. is the one I mentioned before, the one in the WWE. Neither one of them is actually named Rey Misterio at all and they're not related; it's all part of a kooky world of unreality fans call kayfabe. Just think of them as performing names, sort of like how the Dudley Boyz aren't actually brothers, but they all have the same last name. It's a role. Except for the Hardy Boyz, who really are brothers. They both like to spell "boys" with a Z, because Z's are cool.
For a long time, Rey Jr. performed as "Rey Misterio, Jr.," but there came a time when Rey Sr. allowed Rey Jr. to drop the "Junior" part and from then on, he performed as "Rey Misterio." Well, technically, in the WWE he performs as "Rey Mysterio," because Y's in the middle of your name are cool too, but when you say the words "Rey Misterio," I think of the "Booyaka" guy, the guy who's on SmackDown every week. The guy I've almost always known as Rey Misterio.
What?! I screwed up, okay? I admit it.
If you saw the words "Rey Misterio" on the cover of a movie called Wrestlemaniac you would have thought it was Rey Jr., too! How could I have known that when Rey Jr. dropped the Jr. that Rey Sr. would drop the Sr. too? You can't both drop your...your...name suffixes! That doesn't make any sense! If you did that then you're both called Rey Misterio, nobody knows which Rey is which, and it's anarchy! WORLDS ARE COLLIDING! This is why you can't have two people with the same name in the Screen Actors' Guild.
Well this is a fucking bait-and-switch. This isn't the cool Rey. He's not jumpin' out the sky. He's not the master of the 6-1-9. This is some tubby 50 year-old dude who lost his mask to a dude named Fishman. This sucks. I want my money back. This is almost as disappointing as watching Smokey & The Bandit 3 only to discover there's no Burt Reynolds in it. But this annoys me way more. At least Smokey & The Bandit 3 didn't give Burt Reynolds top billing and sneakily cast Burt Reynolds, Sr. as the Bandit. Gah! I feel lied to.
Anyway, El Mascarado is still wearing his wrestling boots and trunks and a white mask with a black "M" emblazoned on the forehead. That's just priceless. After thirty years the guy is still wearing the same white lycra trunks. You think he makes periodic trips back to town to buy detergent so he can clean out his wrestling pants? It's hard to keep that fabric white when you rip people's faces off for a living. There's sprayage involved.
If you're wondering why Dallas can't hear the squealing of a grown man getting his face torn off by a Mexican wrestler, it's because she's listening to disgusting techno on a pair of headphones. That's good, because I don't want anything to interrupt Rey at this very moment. I think he's the hero of this picture, because he just saved the world from having to watch this guy's strange plumber porn.
Fats and Debbie hole up in another building. This entire scene is horrendously dubbed, with Debbie in a sound studio somewhere wailing that they're all going to die. Fats notices a stack of boxes in the corner labeled "EL MASCARADO - CONFIDENCIAL" and finds that they all contain books or reels of audio tape. They took shelter in the one room where the scientists stored all their case notes? What are the odds? He spools up one of the tapes and plays it. "This is about El Mascarado!" he marvels as he listens to the Spanish scientist talk. Gee, and it came out of a box labeled "EL MASCARADO!" You think there's a connection?
I wonder if it's a bright idea to fire up a stereo when there's a psycho killer searching the town for you.
Steve Fats gleans off the tape that they gave El Mascarado over fifty lobotomies "and they didn't help for shit!" They tested to see if their treatments worked by putting him in the same room as other people from the town and seeing if he still tore their faces off. A conclusive test, I guess, but it seems...I don't know...extreme. "His only objective is destruction!" Fats continues to translate. Then he figures it out. "He still plays by the rules of wrestling!" Okay, quick! Let's come up with a plan. Uh, I know! Wear a striped shirt and pretend you're a referee! No...we don't have striped shirts. Make a huge cardstock sign that says "JOHN CENA SUCKS" and maybe he'll think you're a common wrestling fan instead of an opponent!
"We have gotta take his mask off! The rules of Mexican wrestling state that when a wrestler's face is revealed to the public he must retire in humiliation forever and never show his face again. If we take his mask off, he's done! He's finished!" Okay, look. If that really was in the "rules of Mexican wrestling," then there wouldn't be any Mexican wrestling because everyone would be forced to retire after losing a single match. And I don't see how this plan saves them because it still involves one of them beating him in a wrestling match.
"Hurrrgh!" El Mascarado interrupts, smashing through the door and belching out his Angry Grunt #1. The two flee further into the mazelike building instead of out the window, and find themselves in Rey's trophy room. By trophies, I mean this is where El Mascarado nails all the faces of his victims to the walls. I think Ted Nugent has a room exactly like this somewhere in his house. The place is painted from floor to ceiling in blood, and he's even kludged together a rudimentary wrestling ring out of ropes wound around four barrels. And, for some odd reason, Rey put steel brackets on the inside of his own room so he could barricade the door against intruders with a plank of wood. Why would he do that? Why would he ever bar himself into a room?
The director tries to show off his visual artistry some more as the two are confronted with the gory décor. He shoots them wandering around looking dumbstruck in extreme slow-mo for about two minutes, vibrating the camera around to demonstrate how rattling it must be for these characters to perceive the insanity around them. I understand what they're going for, but it goes on for far too long and smacks of an attempt to pad the film out. The film is barely feature-length as it is, clocking in at around 75 minutes counting the end credits. It might have worked better if the set design were more unsettling, but the set design and lighting are just too underwhelming to have any real visceral effect. The room is lit by simple overhead fluorescents (natural lighting) and it ruins any sense of theatricality and professionalism about this production. The human faces and blood on the walls don't even come close to looking authentic, more like a French chef and a diahhretic monkey took turns flinging crépes and filth around. I don't necessarily expect the gore and effects to look good, but I do expect a degree of showmanship. Troma films look like shit, but damn it, they bust their asses to entertain. The dubbing for Debbie gets even worse, too, if you can believe it.
Fats tries to block the door, but it doesn't last long against the battering from outside. His only remaining idea is to fish the El Tigre mask out of his pocket and challenge Rey to a one-on-one match.
This works out exactly as well as you would expect.
It's not even close. Fourteenth-level Warrior my ass. I mean, the guy even gets on top of a barrel and busts out the Five-Star Frog Splash on him. Who did El Lardo think he was, Silent Bob? Tons o' Fun here couldn't have beaten the Brooklyn Brawler in a straight-up fight. The beatdown continues for some time with Mascarado kicking a mudhole in Steve and walking it try, and the movie cuts away for most of it, giving us a much more interesting view of an empty hallway for almost forty seconds. Seriously, he just puts the camera on the floor and leaves it there for the better part of a minute. What was this director thinking?
Debbie tries to escape out the door while Mascarado has Steve trapped in the debilitating bow-and-arrow submission hold. Even though she's completely uninjured when El Mascarado enters the room, she tries to make her escape by crawling on knees and elbows out the door instead of running. Don't ask me why. Even by slasher movie standards this escape is pathetic. At least most women start the chase by running away before tripping over a torn skirt or some undergrowth. Debbie chose to start off on all fours. This is what you get for wearing spike heels to a horror movie. Crawling avails her little as Mascarado catches her and folds her in half like a bendy straw with a backbreaker. Fats watches groggily as Rey Sr. peels her face off. You know Rey is good because he can rip your face off completely with one pull, and there's no dangling pieces or patches of skin left behind. It's like peeling an orange. It ain't easy.
This Mexican Porn Massacre is decidedly light on the porn. We saw exactly three bare breasts, and you call this a porn massacre? Lame.
Meanwhile, Dallas has fixed the van so she grabs up a flashlight and goes looking for the others to tell them the news. So this porno crew didn't purchase cameras or lighting equipment but they made sure to stock up on bolt cutters and extra flashlights for everyone? Her search manages to pad the movie out for another five minutes as she cluelessly wanders around dark corners saying the usual stalker victim dialogue: "Guys? Guys? This isn't funny."
El Mascarado finally emerges and attacks with a length of lead pipe. I can't be sure, but I think that goes against the Official Rules of Mexican Wrestling. You're supposed to use a steel folding chair. Dallas ducks just in time and runs outside. Instead of doing the logical thing and heading for the fully functional van, she heads for a rusted-out bus in the middle of the road and hides underneath it. When the wrestler moves past her, she then hides in the bus, effectively removing all possible avenues of escape. After a few moments that can loosely be called "tension," Rey suddenly plunges his hand through the window and grabs a handful of her hair. Dallas thinks fast and jams the keys to the van through his hand. Oh, nice play, Shakespeare. Now you just gave him the keys to your van and you've pissed him off.
She abandons her hiding place and runs down the street into the back room of the Chéz Vorhees, which is advertising an especial on two tacos, one burrito, and one soda pop ("es muy delicioso!"). Dallas ducks under a nearby prep counter and assumes the most ridiculous pose I've ever seen an actress take in movie history:
Leyla slouches under the counter, pulls her knees behind her head, grabs her ankles, and spreads her ass out. I have no words for this. It's almost like she wants El Mascarado to shove that lead pipe right up her ass and is assuming a position to make this process as easy for him as possible. Is this meant to imply that she's using her extensive porno knowledge to hide from the serial killer? She couldn't just crouch down, the most logical pose was to prepare for double penetration.
She waits for a minute or so until she's sure he's gone, then pulls her legs from behind her head, unfolds herself, and stands up. El Mascarado is just standing right over the counter shaking his head in disbelief. "Hurrrgh!" he yells, going back to the good old fashioned Angry Grunt #1. Leyla boots a sheet of plywood away from a nearby door (employing her supernaturally powerful thigh and calf muscles honed to perfection from a lifetime of hardcore sex on film) and runs outside to look for yet another hiding place. She manages to give him the slip by hiding in a barrel of water and runs back to the van (the camera locked tight on her ass the entire time), only to remember that she gave El Mascarado the keys.
She hits the headlights, and bam, there he is. She leaps out of the van, but the cuff of her shorts catches on the window lever. Oh come on. She struggles against the caught fabric, and suddenly her shorts tear away completely, leaving her in her panties. This is just surreal now. She just tore a pair of denim shorts off her body with one quick motion. And of course, she's completely dry now despite being fully immersed in water not ten seconds ago.
Dallas keeps running, the camera locked onto her ass like a junkyard dog. The powers of plot convenience lead her straight back to El Mascarado's private wrestling ring, allowing the director to pad out the film some more as she reacts to the gore on the walls. She notices that all her friends have had their own faces added to the wall too. Someone grabs her ankle and she slides on a puddle of blood to fall on the floor. Steve Fats (sans face) tells her to take his mask off before he succumbs to his injuries and dies. He really Shatners it, too, so the sentence "you gotta take his mask off" takes about two minutes for him to finish. "You gotta....*kaff kaff* gotta....take....his mask....*urrrrrrrghhhh*.....off...."
She hears El Mascarado coming down the hall because he's dragging his lead pipe along the wall as he walks (a softball of a Freddy Krueger reference). She grabs up a plank with some exposed nails and hides behind the door with it raised to strike. Wham! She whacks him right in the back. The board sticks. Dallas grabs the wrestler's lead pipe, strikes a pose and bellows "Hasta la vista, you fuck!" before impaling him through the stomach.
No, really. That's what she says.
El Mascarado says "Oooooouuuuuurrrrrgggh! Urrrrrrghhhh! Ooooooouuuuuurrrrrgh!" as he falls backwards. The pole sticking through his body hits the ground and somehow serves to prop him up at a sixty-degree angle. You'd think he'd either tip to one side and fall over or just slide down the pole, but he stays up. The wrestler keeps repeating his only two grunting sound effects and eventually shudders into silence. Leyla tentatively reaches over to take off Rey's mask, but if you've ever seen a single horror movie in your life, you know that's not the end of it. He seizes her wrist with his injured hand, and Dallas notices that her keys are still embedded in his hand. Why in the hell did he not take those out? She rips them free and runs like mad for the exit. She finds herself back in the Catholic mission.
What the hell? How did she get here? There are only two exits to the mission, and both of them lead outside! El Mascarado lives in an entirely different building! And I know this because Fats took shelter there because Alfonse had already barricaded himself in the mission. Ugh, not only is continuity nonexistent in this movie, time is warped and space is bendable. Dallas falls to the ground weeping, but then she sees the front doors to the mission blow open in the wind, and the van's headlights shining brightly beyond. She laughs in victory and starts heading for the door, but the doors blow shut...
I think you can tell where this is going.
The shot goes to brown (?), then fades up with a handheld shot of Mexico's bleak and gravelly landscape at night. We slowly approach the Catholic mission again. Wow, it's like Pulp Fiction or something. It all ties together! Leyla bursts out the door exactly as she did at the beginning of the movie, screams, screams, wails, screams, and brings herself to a halt in front of the van. She looks down at herself and notices that she's been impaled with the pipe. See, it's ironic because she was shooting a porno about a plumber. I think. Anyway, she dies. Yawn.
The movie ends as we watch the Mystery Machine rumbling across the desert once more, only now El Mascarado is behind the wheel. He's lucky the van has an automatic transmission. He might be the ultimate wrestler but El Mascarado does not know how drive a stick. I can't help but notice that he somehow got all those blood stains out of his white mask. Not only can El Masko treat his own severe abdominal wound, he does a mean load of laundry.
The credits are no respite from the pain of this movie, either. Once a bad Bon Jovi knockoff finishes playing El Mascarado into the sunset, the mariachi band returns with a vengeance. Steve Fats keeps interrupting the credits with his Wrestlemaniac Rap which is every bit as vomitous as it sounds. This is the true horror of Wrestlemaniac. I also notice that the character I've been calling Debbie all this time is actually named Debbie. I was just joking because her character's name is never uttered once in the entire movie.
If you're looking for some serious wrestling horror, I'd suggest looking for the X-Pac/Chyna sex video. You'll never sleep well again.