A trailer has been released for upcoming action/horror movie Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies at the movie's official website and it looks like brilliant fun.
The film is being produced by a new company, Principalities of Darkness, which has one film under its belt, while writer/director Cody Knotts has previously written or directed two movies. Despite this, pro wrestling fans should be very excited for the release of Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies if the short trailer is anything to go by.
The cast alone should get you more than a little interested. Big names like Taya Parker (VH1 star and former Penthouse model) are involved, but what makes this of interest to professional wrestling fans is the sheer number of wrestlers involved.
Topping the list of big names featured in the movie are former Olympic gold medalist and current TNA and former WWE star Kurt Angle, WWE Hall of Famers "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, former WWE/TNA and current ROH star Matt Hardy, and Shane Douglas and Raven, two men who have worked with almost every wrestling promotion but are currently with Extreme Rising, a spiritual revival of the promotion they are best known for working with, ECW. Douglas is also coproducing the movie.
Any current or former fans of pro wrestling, be it WWE, WCW, TNA, ROH, ECW or old school NWA, should be familiar with at least a few of these men's great work in the ring. There are a number of other names featured in the film though, such as Larry Zbyszko (an old rival of Bruno Sammartino) and Cody Michaels (who played a huge behind-the-scenes role in ECW and Hardcore Homecoming but is not known to nearly as many fans as he should be).
An interesting choice for the movie is Reby Sky, best known to wrestling fans as a former host of Lucha Libre USA: Masked Warriors on MTV2 and best known to anyone else as a glamour model and TV/radio personality. Sky recently transitioned to professional wrestling after training under Matt Hardy, where she has wrestled for major indy promotions such as Shine and Extreme Rising. She's the perfect crossover between the mainstream and the die-hard wrestling fans of the indy scene.
The film is not simply featuring talent already known on a national level, however, giving roles to some lower-league stars.
Sylvester Terkay had a brief stint in WWE before moving to Japan's indy wrestling scene. He has previously had success as an amateur wrestler in the NCAA and had a minor role in the dreadful Universal Soldier, which starred fellow wrestler Bill Goldberg. The production team also found acting roles for former ECW man Thomas Rodman of Blue World Order fame and indy wrestlers Ashton Amherst, G-Raver and Ryan Mitchell.
OK then, that got your attention, didn't it? But what's this movie actually about? In an interview with the Parkersburg News and Sentinel, Knotts said, "The film is about big, powerful men and hot babes killing zombies with good, old American violence. There are no fancy karate moves, just traditional kicking and slamming heads on tables, which is why we call it 'old violence.'"
What else do we know? The wrestlers (mostly) are portraying themselves in this film, as can be seen on the "characters" page of the film's website, which also explains why Kurt Angle performs the Ankle Lock in the trailer.
There are not many other details, though careful viewing of the trailer leads me to think this is the premise: The wrestlers are booked for a show at a prison but (for some reason) the prisoners have been turned into zombies. As they fight to escape the prison, many of the wrestlers become zombies themselves and turn on their fellow wrestlers. A large collection of production photos are viewable on the film's Facebook page, where a little more information can be gleaned.
That's about all that is known. The Kickstarter page for the film has a few details but that is a year old and quite possibly out of date (for instance it says Terry Funk will be in the film, but his name was recently removed from the Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies IMDB page).
One thing it makes abundantly clear is that the filmmakers are true wrestling fans who know their target audience for this movie, unlike the Hollywood types in WWE Studios that seem fairly unaware of their audience a lot of the time.
Professional wrestling and movies do not tend to mix. Fan reception to the film careers of John Cena and Hulk Hogan have both been fairly negative. In the three years Batista (now going by his real, Dave Bautista) has been attempting to make it as an actor, I have yet to see him in a role that impressed.
Goofy, B-movie style comedy horror flicks are pretty hard to screw up though. In fact, if they screw them up they tend to be even more enjoyable (to a certain audience, myself included: I love films like Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus). I would go as far as to say most "serious" movies WWE Studios have produced have ended up falling under the "enjoyably bad movie" category unintentionally; Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies seems to be going that route on purpose and should be a lot of fun as a result.
Instead of asking wrestlers to be Oscar-winning actors (which a few are, but only a handful), a movie like this plays to their strengths, clobbering things and shouting.
An awful lot of movies featuring wrestlers as action stars see them in gunfights when hand-to-hand combat really makes far better use of their talents, something Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies seems to have gotten right.
Do you have any comments on this absolutely bonkers idea for a movie? Leave them in the comment box below or tweet me @TheRamblingElf.