The ring is the only place that you can kill a man and get away with it…..
Recently I started training to be a pro wrestler (I bet you didn’t expect to see that as the opening sentence to this review) and after two weeks I was invited to join the closed Facebook group in which all of the trainees could discuss ideas and whatnot. One of the group then posted this DVD and I knew instantly that I had to watch and review it.
There are just films every now and then where you pretty much know EXACTLY what you’re going to get before the film starts and this is one of those. In many ways I don’t want to watch it because I know in advance just how bad it is going to be.
As usual I write this section before I actually watch the film and I go in with the lowest of low expectations. The film may have only had 190 ratings on IMDB, but an average score of just 3.9 doesn’t fill me with much hope. That being said, more than 20% of the raters have said it was worth a 10 out of 10, compared to “just” 18.9% voting it at 1%. Obviously these figures could and probably will change by the time you read this review, but yeah, low expectations doesn’t even cover it.
This is going to be a long 90 minutes…..
Oh, and by the way, if you’re near Lincoln this Sunday (June 28th), go to Birchwood Leisure Centre to check out the Academy Show for Lincoln Fight Factory Wrestling. I will hopefully feature in the future, but for now please support my fellow trainees.
Whilst wrestling at a small independent show, Shane Douglas (himself) sees that a love interest has moved onto someone else and that person happens to be his opponent. As revenge, Douglas decides to purposefully deliver a move incorrectly, breaking the neck of the opponent and killing him. Whilst Douglas moves on with his life, the wrestler’s brother vows revenge and negotiates a deal with a sorcerer/demon/devil (it’s never really revealed) that brings the dead back to live. His plan is to lure Douglas to a fake wrestling show within a prison, and then unleash the zombie hoard.
Douglas is convinced to go to what he believes to be a normal wrestling show and is joined by several other wrestlers, including Matt Hardy, Jim Duggan and Roddy Piper (themselves). Shortly after arriving, the group is attacked by zombies and the majority survive the first wave. Meanwhile, Kurt Angle (himself) turns up as a surprise entrant to the event but he is quickly overwhelmed and turned into a zombie.
As the group gradually becomes scattered, egos start taking control as various members, mainly Douglas, start to intentionally get the others killed to save themselves and they all start to realise that if they are to survive, it won’t be by working together.
So does it deserve a 10/10 as several people think on IMDB?
Well let’s put it this way, there are films that are worth a ten out of ten, the true classics. Then there are some very good movies, then decent movies, followed by average, less than average and awful. Somewhere well beneath awful is 50 layers of crap and several levels underneath that is this film. If I did ratings out of ten then it is highly, highly, highly possible that this would actually get a negative score.
I hear you asking why and it is hard to really put it into words without simply encouraging you to watch the film.
Let’s start with arguably the thing I hate most about independent films and that is claiming that their most famous cast member is a prominent part of the story. This isn’t the first film that I’ve reviewed to be guilty of this as “Zerophilia” acted as though Kelly Le Brock was important to the film when she wasn’t in it after the first 60 seconds, and even then she isn’t exactly a relevant name these days. Wrestlers vs Zombies is pretty much exactly the same.
Kurt Angle is arguably the most prominent star in the film going by the DVD cover, afterall, he is front of the group, therefore hinting that he is the main star in this film…..but he is in it for what is literally about 75 seconds. Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an anti-Kurt Angle thing, he brings credibility in terms of a genuine star of the sport with his Olympic pedigree and title belts in various promotions, but to advertise him as a main part of the story is beyond a joke.
To sum up just how much of a joke it is, his addition adds precisely nothing to the story. I do mean literally nothing. You could take his 75 or so seconds out of the film and it wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference to the story given that he doesn’t encounter a single other main character before being turned.
Problems like this continue throughout the entire film and it’s just careless film-making. Obviously each of the wrestlers is playing a fictionalised version of themselves, but at one point Shane Douglas hints that whilst he was in the WWF (now known as the WWE) in the 1990s, he had cheques that consistently bounced from Vince McMahon. Now, I know that the company wasn’t the mega power in the mid-1990s that it is now, but to suggest that a cheque from what was still a multi-million dollar company, owned by a billionaire, would bounce is pure nonsense.
The whole film is just careless and it’s hard to believe that it was conceived by a wrestling fan and there are mistakes throughout that are just too hard to ignore. The entire film seems to be “if you made a mistake then fuck it. An example of this is during the opening match between Douglas and the jobber, Douglas covers him and shouts “cover him” at the ref instead of “count it”, he quickly corrects himself but even then, why would a wrestler ask a ref to cover his opponent for him? More importantly, when it’s a blatant mistake from Douglas, why was it left in the film? Don’t give me the nonsense of people make mistakes, the film portrays Douglas as a big deal and an outstanding professional, he wouldn’t make an error like that in a match.
Ignoring the stupid mistakes is hard, but even harder to ignore is the near constant music. In a 90 minute film I would estimate that there is a total of five minutes without music blaring in the background, and whilst in places the music works well, in others it is strange that they have death metal blasting out whilst characters are doing a very casual jog down a corridor with no zombies in sight.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a few parts of the film where the music fits, such as when the wrestlers are in the ring and are surrounded on all sides by the zombies, but when there is no obvious danger, I don’t need adrenaline inducing music. It just doesn’t fit and in what is a largely poorly made film.
I can’t even begin to think of a genuine and deserved reason why people would mark this film as a ten out of ten on IMDB. The only vague excuse I can think of is that either people enjoyed it because it was so bad (similar to how I felt about Let There Be Zombies), or that they are wrestling fans and felt almost bad for it being so poor, but neither are a genuine reason for giving this film a favourable rating as it is a very poor film.
What surprises me even more is that several well respected wrestlers agreed to take part in the film. It’s not like the five wrestlers that are in the film are unknowns that are trying to make their names in the business, all five have claims to the Hall of Fame. Angle is arguably the best pure wrestler in history, Hardy is one half of the best tag teams in history, Piper and Duggan are from an era which attracted people my age into the sport, and Douglas infamously started the onscreen separation of ECW from the NWA. None of them needed to feature in this film.
Had this film been full of independent wrestlers who were trying to make a name for themselves then I would understand, but none of them are. I have no idea why they would all allow themselves to be involved in such a pathetic and poorly made film, it makes no logical sense.
I can’t even begin to recommend this film. It is not only trash, it’s the worst kind of trash.
Don’t let the big wrestling names fool you, they add little quality to this film but I can forgive them for that for the simple reason that they’re not actors, they’re wrestlers. Whilst wrestlers do adopt acting into their everyday jobs, it’s not the be all and end all and I very much doubt that any of those in this film will ever move into acting full time.
If you must insist on watching this film, go in with the lowest of low expectations.