Jack Hill deduced that people don’t set out to purposely make cult classics, but in the case of “Wrestlemaniac,” I think we’ve reached a point where premises are so silly, cult status is pretty much a last resort. But then in the world of DIY film making, it’s all directors can hope for most of the time. The story behind “Wrestlemaniac” is fundamentally absurd, following a group of inept thirtysomething’s who set out to make a porno movie at Caba San Lucas. While traveling to their destination, they’re stranded at a local ghost town where they’re met by El Mascarado (Misterio), a broadly drawn psychotic madman whose methods of murder are based around wrestling moves. Played by Rey Misterio Sr. and a series of body doubles, El Mascarado is conveniently explained by a local gas station attendant (Irwin Keyes), and then by lucha libre fanatic Steve.
The proceeding stalk and bash doldrums are often too absurd to take with a tongue-in-cheek attitude, and director Jesse Baget rarely ever strives for genuine tension or suspense; but then how do you make a murderous luchadore threatening? Thus is the general conundrum posed by the writer-director, who goes to many lengths to create a serviceable slasher sadly resulting in eye rolls and groans. Not even gruesome face ripping can turn this otherwise tedious horror comedy into a good time. After all the missed opportunities, Baget dives head first in the comedy genre placing obvious sexual sight gags, over the top performances from the busty actresses, and even stages a groan-inducing bout to the death in the climax that’s built up with a muddled pay-off, and zero resolution on the character of El Mascarado. As all logic is completely undermined in Mascarado’s confrontation with our final girl, “Wrestlemaniac” is in its core just exploitative horror-comedy with stupidity always a top priority, and a hazy concept void of any potential. Maybe I’m too much of a sore sport to get the joke, but frankly, I wasn’t having fun with this the second time around.
It’s apparently aiming to be the first in a franchise. I’m not looking forward to the sequels. Nope.