Pro Wrestlers Vs. Zombies is a 2014 horror / sports entertainment film written and directed by Cody Knotts. It stars several current and former professional wrestlers including Rowdy Roddy Piper, The Franchise Shane Douglas, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Matt Hardy and many more.
I was lucky enough to attend the first screening of the film in Cleveland located at the Capitol Theatre. In addition to screening the film I got to meet several of the actors as well as diretor Cody Knotts. I’m a tad late writing this review, but with recent news of Ultimate Warrior passing away, I figured today was an appropriate day to release this review. RIP Warrior.
SPOILER ALERT: This review will contain minor plot spoilers. If you want to experience the movie as the film maker intended please skip this review and come back after you’ve seen it.
When you’re talking about a flick called Pro Wrestlers Vs. Zombies I would think that the plot would be relatively obvious. That said, I’ll give it to you straight from the official site:
“Pro Wrestlers Vs. Zombies” is exactly as it sounds — sports entertainment icons and local ring talent using their signature fighting styles, athleticism and anything they can get their hands on to fend off the undead.
An abandoned prison is the battlefield as a troupe of professional wrestlers are booked for a private show, only to be faced with the undead. Unfortunately for the zombie nation, they aren’t just facing any group of professional wrestlers, they are facing living legends like WWE Hall of Famer “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Matt Hardy, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, former ECW World champions “The Franchise” Shane Douglas and even Olympic medalist turned WWE and TNA World champion Kurt Angle!
Other wrestlers in the cast are Ryan “The Steel City Prodigy” Mitchell, Shane Taylor, Ryan Edmonds and Facade. Taya Parker, Penthouse Pet of the Year in 2009, and Reb Sky, Howard Stern’s Woman of the Year and Shannon Hart are in the cast, as is a guy with a mustache you have to see to believe.
The main villain in the film is played by Renegade Wrestling Alliance legend and former McKeesport-based Pro Wrestling eXpress superstar Ashton Amherst. He calls upon dark forces to exact revenge on “The Franchise” Shane Douglas for killing his brother during a wrestling match. He leads an ever-growing zombie horde against Douglas, his family, and the cast of professional wrestlers.
What happens when the guts and glory of professional wrestling’s finest are squared off against an army of darkness seeking to rip them to shreds? Blood and dropkicks!
The wrestlers all performed their own stunts and no CGI was used. Rowdy Roddy Piper even put one of the zombies, wrestler G.Raver, in the hospital after smashing him in the head with a cooking pot in the kitchen scene!
Movie soundtrack features music by Dead in 5, Reverent Skye, Ken Hampton, and 2011 Italian Golden Globe winning composer Marco Werba.
“Pro Wrestlers Vs. Zombies” primarily was filmed in Parkersburg, West Virginia, with locations at the former Wood County Jail, Fort Boreman Park, City Park and several restaurants.
I have to caveat this by saying that not only am I a huge horror nut, I also happen to be a lifelong professional wrestling fan. That being said, I absolutely LOVED the experience of this film! Just based on the title you’ll be able to tell if you’re going to love this or totally hate it. I don’t really see much in between.
There is some great wrestling action here and TONS of zombies… fast zombies at that. During a post screening Q&A session, I asked director Cody Knotts why he chose to go with fast zombies as opposed to the more traditional slow version and he said it was purely because the wrestling action needed to be fast. And this flick doesn’t skimp on the blood / gore factor. It’s outstanding! It’s not that super realistic gore that you may get from the Saw series or The Walking Dead, but there were definitely buckets and buckets of blood used.
The plot was a tad flimsy and there were moments where I was sort of scratching my head with some of the choices the actors made, but it’s really not a flick to be taken all that seriously. And while there was some dialog and acting that was less than stellar there are a couple of moments where I saw some really outstanding and dare say dramatic acting. There’s a scene toward the end where Shane Douglas is meeting up with some zombified family members where there’s some legit acting going on. And a meeting between Piper and another wrestler is downright heart wrenching.
If I had to pick a side, I’d say this is probably more for wrestling fans than it is for pure zombie fans, but that’s not to say zombie folk won’t get a kick out of it… they will. Just make sure you go in with proper expectations and you’ll enjoy yourself.
As I said before, I was lucky enough to attend the Cleveland premier of the flick and in addition to the screening I got to meet a couple of the actors and director Cody Knotts. Both Hacksaw Jim Duggan and The Franchise Shane Douglas were amazing to meet in person and took the time to talk to each and every fan that was there for the VIP event. This event was the week prior to WrestleMania and both Shane and Jim spent more than a few minutes chatting with me about the wrestling business and their thoughts on their pro wrestling careers. So cool!
Prior to the screening, Cody, Hacksaw and The Franchise got up and introduced the film which I captured for your viewing pleasure. Not a ton of info in here, but it sets the stage nicely for what we’re about to see.
Below are some pictures I took at the event. They include some of the artwork for the film, some stills that were available for purchase and pics with me, The Franchise, Hacksaw and Cody Knotts. Talk about an amazing evening.
As Cody Knotts said in the intro video, don’t take this one too seriously. It’s been described as Rocky Horror meets pro wrestling and that’s exactly what it is. I went to the screening alone and as I said really enjoyed it, but I would have had a much better time with some like minded wrestling / zombie nerds. The plot can be difficult to follow at times but the blood and guts make up for some plot holes. I LOVE the fact that just like The Walking Dead, no one here is safe… even big name wrestlers.
This is really geared toward a wrestling audience more toward a true zombie audience so if you’re not a wrestling fan it may fall a little flat for you. That said, if you’re a wrestling fan you’re absolutely going to love this. It’s got the the over the top blood and gore of Rocky Horror and Evil Dead with the gritty wrestling action that made promotions such as ECW thrive. If you’re lucky enough to attend a screening with cast and crew present your experience will be that much better.
For more information on Pro Wrestlers Vs. Zombies, please check out the links below!
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/Pro.Wrestlers.vs.Zombies
- Twitter: @WrestlersVSZomb
- Official Site: prowrestlersvszombies.com
Special thanks to Cody and the rest of the cast and crew of Pro Wrestlers Vs. Zombies for making a fun flick and making my experience truly once in a lifetime!