Director – Cody Knotts (Breeding Farm, Lucifer’s Unholy Desire)
Starring – Shane Douglas (ECW, WCW), Matt Hardy (ECW, WWE), and Roddy Piper (They Live, Hell Comes to Frogtown)
Release Date – 2014
Rating – 1/5
Tagline – “Good old American violence”
I’ve collected Troma releases for a long ass time. Hell, I’ve collected Troma releases for as long as I’ve collected movies in general. I’ve been a huge fan of Troma for about two decades now and in that time I’ve seen a fair bit of their releases. Some of these releases I’ve loved but there has been some that I just didn’t care for. After I watched the amazing Victor Goodview I decided to toss in another Troma release.
Several years back I picked up the 2014 zombie flick Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies from the Troma table at Cinema Wasteland. I’ve wanted to check this one out for some time but never found the time to check it out. That changed recently after I was riding the Vincent Goodview high.
**Spoiler Alert**The film begins with professional wrestler The Franchise Shane Douglas performing a piledriver on another wrestler. The other wrestler botches the moves which results in his death. The slain wrestlers brother practices black magic and uses this to summon an evil horde of zombies to kill Shane and any other wrestlers that stands in his way. **Spoiler Alert**
I was extremely excited for this release. I’m not a fan of current professional wrestling but I grew up during the Monday night wars and fucking loved it so it was cool seeing so many familiar faces in this low budget zombie flick. However, this movie failed and failed hard. In fact, I would compare it to the recent Death House film where the movie spent more time filming cameos than it did developing story.
The acting in this one is pretty rough. I’ve seen hundreds of no budget backyard horror flicks over the years with casts that have no experience. I’ve seen bad acting but this one is up there with some of the worst acting I’ve seen. Even the late and highly entertaining Rowdy Roddy Piper felt underwhelming. Maybe the director was intimidated by the cast or the cast, which consisted of mostly professional wrestlers, and allowed them to shoot their scenes in a shoot interview type manner rather than acting. I don’t know but I do know that most of the scenes are awkward to watch.
The story for this one is interesting enough but the movie is so choppy and inconsistent that you can’t enjoy it. I loved the hostile brother summoning zombies to kill ECW’s Shane Douglas BUT it seems like the story takes the back seat while we get these scenes of the wrestlers fighting zombies randomly thrown at us. It’s almost as if these scenes are tossed together just to have something on film while the talent was available. They somewhat fit the story but at the time time they really don’t. The movie feels rushed and the story doesn’t reach it’s full potential.
Finally, the film doesn’t shy away from the blood and gore. The practical effects are very inconsistent. Some are extremely awesome and left me a little shocked while others were very underwhelming. Overall, Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies was a big let down for me. It was awesome seeing some of the wrestlers I grew up watching like Matt Hardy, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Rowdy Roddy Piper, and The Franchise Shane Douglas but the film fails to pull them all together in a coherent and entertaining story. This is one of the few films to carry the Troma name that I cannot recommend. Skip it.