Movies From the Black Lagoon: Wrestlemaniac
Movies From the Black Lagoon
A gaggle of unappealing morons run afoul of a crazed Luchador (Spanish for wrestler) in this entertaining fright-fest that was filmed for less than what Ex-New York Governor Eliot Spitzer spent on call girls.
This one busts out of the gate early with an eerie opening scene that features a camera panning along a dark path up to the ancient doors of a church - when suddenly the doors spring open and a blood soaked damsel comes screaming out of said portal and right at the camera. Cut to black and white footage of masked Mexican wrestlers battling it out while a Mariachi Band swings into action.
It's the perfect opening as it telegraphs exactly what to expect here - a cross between a Santo movie and your typical teens-in-jeopardy slasher opus.
Next, we meet our "heroes" who turn out to be a pretty unappealing lot who are headed to Mexico in order to produce a low rent pornographic film. They consist of three bimbettes (one of whom spends most of the film in a comatose state after smoking more grass than Willie Nelson's roadies), a sleazy director named Alphonse, a cameraman named Steve (whom everyone calls Fats because he's obviously consumed more Doritos than Nelson's road crew), and a male stoner who's there because he owns the van. This charismatically challenged bunch is not even on Mensa's radar, which is quickly evidenced when they toss out their only road map and decide to wing it. They eventually stop at a gas station that has an attendant but no petrol. What it does have is a bizarre owner sporting black teeth and a sense of local legends. He informs the group that the nearest location is a ghost town that is haunted by legendary wrestler "El Mascarado" and that all of the people there have since perished. Whereas such news would send anyone else back over the border we have to remember that this is a horror movie so our dimwitted stars proceed there with all due haste.
It isn't long before the masked man shows up for a bout with his guests and they fare poorly. Steve figures out that the only way to defeat the monster is to rip off its mask, which will, hopefully, force the brute to slink away in shame and never wrestle again. The hitch turns out to be getting close enough to do the deed and it all comes down to a grudge match with the lovely girl glimpsed in the opening scene but even she may not have what it takes to get out of this in one piece.
This one has a lot going for it. The locations are authentic, the gore is plentiful, and the execution is quick (it only runs about 75 minutes). That said the actors are not up to the task of currying audience sympathy (though the guy playing Steve comes close). You wind up rooting for Mascarado and that is fine as wrestler Ray Misterio, who rocks a colorful mask, big arms, and a gut that appears to have been sponsored by Budweiser, authentically interprets him. The ending hints at a rematch that might be worth attending if they give you a couple of characters worth worrying about.
Best Line: "It's El Mascarado dude. He took his face off."
Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org.