The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre is the latest in a long line of crossovers between horror and professional wrestling. From wrestling personas like The Undertaker, Abyss and Kane,. Glenn Jacobs, the wrestler who portrayed Kane went on to star in See No Evil and its sequel joining “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Goldberg, Gene Snisky and a host of others who went from the ring to the crimson screen. And then there’s films like WrestleMassacre, Pro Wrestlers Vs Zombies, and 100 Acres of Hell that fuse the two together. Where does The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre fit into this roster? Is it a main eventer? Or just another jabroni?
The film uses the framing device of a comic book that Hurley (Charlie Shotwell, The Nest, John and the Hole) finds among his dad Harley’s (Scott Peat, Velvet Buzzsaw, Into the Ashes) skin mags much to his mother Shirlene’s (Mindy Robinson, Bloodsucka Jones vs. The Creeping Death, Evil Bong 777) dismay. This trailer trash intro certainly sets the right tone for the story that follows.
Stone Manson (Chris Margetis, Lockout) and his brother Carlos, aka Skull (Mike Carey, Crisis, Chi-Raq) were once among the biggest draws in pro wrestling. But after some troubles with the law they found their careers, and finances gone.
Forced back on the indie circuit promoter Vic Quickbuck (D.B. Sweeny, Fire in the Sky, Captive State) books them for a Halloween Eve cage match. But when the Chinese growth hormone several other wrestlers have been taking turns out to have zombification as a side effect this event is going to give a new meaning to “Hell in a Cell”.
Written by its stars Mike Carey and Chris Margetis and directed by Max Martini (SGT. Will Gardner, Sabotage), The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre plays out its first act as a wrestling comedy as we follow the brothers backstage and through the match that sets up their Halloween gig. It’s amusing and not that far removed from some of the stories I’ve heard from guys who’ve been in the indies.
But then the GH claims its first victims and Stone buys a pair of masks from a gypsy who swears they’re full of “good luck and spooky magic”. And they may well be as they find out their match will pit them against their arch rival Carson ‘The Crippler’ Murdock (David B. Meadows, Alien Warfare, Age of the Living Dead).
From here the film pulls out all the stops as a massive storm rolls in trapping everyone, human, zombie and those somewhere in between in the auditorium. What the film lacks in sheer numbers of zombies and victims it makes up for in well choreographed mayhem and bloodshed. The result is just what you’d expect from a film called The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre.
As well as the action scenes, The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre benefits from several familiar faces in supporting roles. Apart from those already mentioned MMA stars turned actors Bas Rutten (Here Comes the Boom, Paul Blart: Mall Cop) and Randy Couture (Antidote, Alpha Code) turn up as wrestlers, Adrian Pasdar (Near Dark, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) is the ring doctor and Luce Rains (No Country for Old Men, The Devil to Pay) steals every scene he’s in as a drunken referee. And while maybe not a familiar face to film fans, gym rats will recognize bodybuilder/fitness model Michael O’Hearn as Radiant Bobby.
A fun and blood romp The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre is an hour and a half of fun. It’s also, along with the very different Zomblogalypse, the second good zom-com I’ve seen in a matter of days. Maybe the walking dead aren’t as played out as I thought.
The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre is available on Digital from Gravitas Ventures. A sequel, The Manson Brothers Satanic Vampire Death Match has already been announced.