I am by nature a lover of many things that are traditionally considered to be in poor taste: bad movies, terrible puns, pro wrestling—you get the gist. It was my very lucky day when I found a film that combined all of these things (with some other…well, less enjoyable tasteless qualities like misogyny and racism) into one film not even long enough to be considered feature-length: Wrestlemaniac!
Clocking in at 75 minutes (that’s 1.25 episodes of ‘Law & Order’ on cable for those of you who, like me, use episodes of ‘Law & Order’ as a timekeeping mechanism) and also known as El Mascarado Massacre, this film is blissfully free in its entirety on Youtube (link). At the time of my viewing, it had a mere 298,220 views and one lone comment reading, “stupid movie~beside the chicks” so I knew I was in for a treat, particularly considering that in this world, a video of a baby panda sneezing can rack up more than 209 MILLION views.
I chose Wrestlemaniac solely based on its name and its free-ness on YouTube, and was really pleasantly surprised when the final actor credited during the opening sequence was Rey Misterio. If you’ve seen any WWE in the last 10-15 years, you may be familiar with Rey Mysterio Jr., who is inexplicably the nephew, not son, of Rey Misterio. I do not understand this naming convention. I cannot claim to know why there is a variation in spelling, either. Wrestling moves in mysterious ways, you know? It’s best not to question. Anyway, Rey Misterio the elder was very much a legend in Mexico in the 70s and 80s and trained his nephew, who is a pretty big talent within WWE, so I was excited.
Let me give you the premise of this film: six people set out in a van to Mexico to film a very low-budget porno. All of these people are big dumb dummies and I’m not sure who we’re supposed to like. There is, of course, the trope of 20 minutes with jerks but since this movie is shorter than a weekly episode of 'The Biggest Loser,' we are mercifully given a reprieve to make it about a solid ten minutes of character development. This is more than enough to decide that these people are big dumb dummies and I really don’t care about them. There is the Alpha Male, the Fat Guy, the Stoner Guy and three blonde porno actresses. I was not planning to refer to any of them by name to show how little I care about their impending doom, but I realized that two of them were named Debbie and Dallas. Nothing like a shout out to classic porn, right? The third is named Daisy and you need not remember that because she doesn’t have a single line of dialogue. She begins the movie passed out in the van.
She wakes up, stumbles into the porno shoot, pulls out a boob, barfs, is murdered. Just like that. That's Daisy's character arc.
Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself. The dumdums naturally get lost and really fantastic, thoughtful dialogue ensues. Regarding finding their way to Cabo:
Alpha Male: Aren’t you Mexican?
Fat Guy: Yeah but I was born in Seattle, dude.
Alpha Male: (pause) Whatever, still Mexican. I know you could find your way to a taco stand.
That’s pretty much Alpha Male’s ‘tude for the duration of his onscreen time. He stops the van at a rickety old gas station and they speak with the proprietor, who tells them of a nearby ghost town called La Sangre de Dios—which our Mexican character referenced above translates as “The Blood of Christ.” No sir, I took Spanish 4 in high school and I am fairly certain that would be La Sangre de Cristo and that dios means god... but whatever. This town has been abandoned because of a maniacal pro wrestler who, from what I could gather from the disjointed plot of this film, has gone bonkers and killed everyone in sight. Now he lives there alone—the luchador Mascarado (the masked man, I think? I don’t quite recall from the aforementioned Spanish 4 experience, lo siento Señora Glaser!)
As you may have guessed, Rey Misterio is Mascarado. His first two kills are of our most expendable characters (Stoner Guy and Barfing Daisy, who dashes off the porno set to barf and for reasons I cannot understand, runs about 350 yards before she slams her bare feet into a bunch of broken glass and then is murdered.) When the body of Stoner Guy is found, we see that his face has been peeled off his skull, which is actually a pretty excellent touch.
Mascarado comes for the rest of our intrepid porn crew less Dallas, who has set to repair the van that Alpha Male has wrecked—her dad’s a mechanic, see?—so she is basically oblivious to all of this. Alpha Male dies a decent gory death, his ugly mug smashed into brick by the back of his hair like a face to a turnbuckle. It is also in this scene that I first noticed the imaginative camera work to distract from the fact that Rey Misterio is only 5’9”. He’s pretty jacked in this movie, but it’s a little bit hard to be afraid of a villain who is significantly shorter than some of his victims. This is accomplished through a lot of killer-POV shots and also some creative backlighting.
Anyway, Fat Guy and Debbie discover Mascarado’s killing room in which he has crudely fashioned a wrestling ring out of rope and rusty barrels and the walls are covered with stretched, grotesque faces that have been removed from Mascarado’s victims.
Fat Guy realizes that Mascarado is playing by the rules of wrestling: in Mexican wrestling, unmasking a rival luchador is the ultimate humiliation that only occurs after a major loss. He puts on the luchador mask that he has been carrying around for reasons that are not explained to the audience and prepares for his own squared circle bout with the killer Mascarado.
Eventually Dallas fixes the van and then has a protracted chase scene with Mascarado. I would not normally do this, but I am going to describe for you, shot-for-shot, the end of the movie (I get it, this is a major spoiler, but were you really going to watch Wrestlemaniac? Be honest with yourselves. If so, skip the next two paragraphs.)
Daisy is told that she needs to remove Mascarado’s luchador mask and that will be the end of him forever because of the humiliation, presumably? This of course makes no sense because we have previously been told that he had been given “50 lobotomies and they didn’t work for shit” and I would imagine that the medical professionals involved took his mask off for these procedures. It’s unclear. Anyway, Daisy smacks him in the back with a board full of nails and then brutally impales him with a 5-foot long, 2-inch wide length of metal pipe that really ought to kill him. She reaches over to remove his mask but he grabs her arm, Carrie-style, and she runs out of the room, leaving him impaled and alone.
She makes it to the exit of the building and collapses on the floor in tears because she is a whiner. An unseen force blows the doors open and we can see that the van is parked just outside, headlights on. A renewed Daisy stands up. As mysteriously (misteriously? I’m sorry, I can’t help myself) as they opened, the doors swing closed. Daisy bursts through them, rushing towards the van and screaming. Suddenly she slows, stops, and looks down. Now she is impaled by the pipe and she slumps to the ground. WHAT. The next and final shot of the movie is Rey Misterio driving away in the van, listening to some country song. WHAT. I have no explanation for this-- I guess it's just another "IT DOESN'T MATTER WHY!" moment in horror.
I am also 1300 words into a review of a movie that probably had fewer than 1300 words of dialogue so I really need to wrap it up. In summation, this movie was most definitely so bad it was good. So much of the budget must have been spent on fake blood. One of the deaths is by a backbreaker, a classic wrestling move. Much like Barfing Daisy, Rey Misterio also has no lines and it truly doesn't matter at all. It’s great. Do yourself a favor and spend 1.25 ‘Law & Order’ episodes on Wrestlemaniac. One of these days I'll review something for you that's actually good--until then, WRESTLEMANIAAAAAC!!!