Wrestlemaniac is a 2006 slasher film about a group of friends who have decided to film a porno flick in Mexico. They miss the highway and end up in the middle of nowhere when they stumble across an old gas station. There they are told to head south past the abandoned village, La Sangre De Dios and not to stop for anything and they will find gas eventually. Their curiosity gets the best of them and they stop anyway. One by one they are picked off by an insane luchador who was rumored to be nothing more than a myth!
I am absolutely enamored by lucha libre. So I had to pick this film up since it starred Rey Mysterio Sr. (Tijuana Wrestling, Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide, WWA- Tijuana), Rey is the uncle of WWE superstar Rey Mysterio Jr. Rey Mysterio plays the insane luchador named El Mascarado who attacks the young film makers and rips off their faces. This film also stars Leyla Milani who was the runner up of the 2005 WWE Diva Search. I had no idea Leyla was involved in wrestling in any capacity so this was an extremely interesting bit of information to learn while watching the movie today.
There are a few things I tend to associate with slashers, namely unstoppable killers, and a slew of young lascivious idiotic men and women who are drinking and doing drugs. Wrestlemaniac has these things, perhaps not as numerous as most slashers but this low budget film has the stereotypical tropes we have come to know and love. We have; the overconfident sexually active dude in the director and leader of the film crew, Alfonse, the stoner, Jimbo, the drunken party girl, Daisy and the two sexy temptresses Debbie and Dallas (Leyla Milani), the three of whom are the stars of the flick, and Steve, the nerdy cinematographer, who just so happens to know all about the town of La sangre de Dios, El Mascarado, and lucha libre in general.
I think the reason I liked this film so much this watch through is because I am wrestling fan whereas I wasn’t particularly invested or interested in wrestling at all my first time watching. El Mascarado’s mask is a simple yet iconic looking one and I would love to own a replica of it, there are also two other masks featured in the film, El Diablo Negro’s and El Tigre’s both of which are introduced during the bathroom break stop at a seemingly abandoned gas station. The station is inhabited by a lonely stranger played by Irwin Keyes, who is the owner of the El Diablo Negro mask, which he uses to scare the daylights out of the group. Steve immediately pulls out his El Tigre mask because, “…Nobody can beat El Tigre!”.
The tradition of lucha libre is oversimplified yet somehow exaggerated in this film which claims that luchadores must live in humiliation and never show their faces again after losing their masks. El Mascarado is the culmination of the violent tendencies associated with wrestling turned to maximum levels; he has been repeatedly lobotomized yet still follows the rules of the ring. He rips off the faces of all his victims and plasters them on the wall of his room that contains a make-shift ring made of oil drums and bull rope. The room is painted in blood and features a poster of El Mascarado before his unstoppable reign of terror.
This movie is just plain fun, sure the acting is amateur, and the movie tends to show its budget on its sleeve with minimal settings, but I absolutely loved this film this time around. The soundtrack is great and the killer is super memorable, Steve stepping up to try and save the day is awesome, and Leyla’s portrayal of Dallas as “more than just a pair of tits on legs” is much more than one would expect in a film that just stars a bunch of folks whose main purpose is to be massacred by the killer.
If you are a fan of wrestling and slashers this is pretty much tailor made for you, although those with only passing interest in wrestling/lucha libre might not find much to enjoy it’s still a fun time. The movie is only 75 minutes and it gets to the action fairly quickly. Give this one a watch sometime if you’d like. I’ll be revisiting it soon, I feel.