Friday, January 29, 2021

Tough Love and Tough Breaks: Masked Mutilator (2019)

Masked Mutilator (2019)
Rating: **1/2
Starring: Christine Appino, Brick Bronsky and Chet Cole

Originally a lost and unfinished 90s slasher, unearthed and reworked with a wraparound shot and taking place in the present year of 2019, Masked Mutilator is as cheap as a multi-generational B-Grade horror flick can get, but it isn't without its good points. Reeking cheesy good points, but good points nonetheless.

The scene starts with a present day podcaster interviewing people who went through group home tragedies and he invited a few who happen to be survivors of a rather unusual yet devastating incident back at 1994 dubbed as the Home of Horror. Here we cut to the 90s where Vic Mangino (Jeff Sibbach), a rather infamous professional wrestler who went under the name Masked Mutilator until he accidentally killed an opponent in the ring, is working as a house parent at a group home, handling the rather troublesome youths with his brand of tough love and be the kind of imposing authority figure needed to discipline them to the right track.

Problems arise when the state starts to waver its support for the home despite handing Vic more kids to look after, which meant the home is steadily losing funds to support everyone staying there. No soon after, a masked man starts to show up and brutally beat the teens dead one by one. Perhaps it's Vic? Finally losing it after struggling with his own personal demons? Or maybe it's one of the kids? Tired of living under a strict household and getting their butts handed to them on a regular basis? 

In all honesty, there's nothing that groundbreaking about Masked Mutilator as a story and much of the movie's interest is from the fact that this was a forgotten film brought to life for the modern audience in a Frankenstein monster-esque fashion. Because of the way it's shot, edited and re-written, what we have here a rather short film that skips from one point to another, breezing over character development and plot details for a hammed up direction tainted in really janky acting. It can be laughable for the unintentional hilarity despite the plot dropping deep matters like the state of foster systems and its effects on troubled wards, so you could say that it is darn entertaining even if it's stumbling and missing a lot of opportunities to better itself.

Wrestling-themed slashers are a very very few bunch and observing familiar titles that fall into this category such as the equally fun Wrestle Massacre (2018) and Wrestlemaniac (2006), the running theme of this slasher breed is that they focus more on "tooth-and-nail" murders, as in they limit the use of murder weapons as much as possible and prefer to fill the kill count with more physically-inclined slayings. At that, the kills here involve a lot of beatings and smack-downs and Masked Mutilator makes it work by bloodying it all up and throwing in a few wrestling moves into the slaughter. The climax itself even packs a brawl-out that sits comfortably within vintage WWE programs, with Sibbach clobbering up a slasher who, in turn, is also ready to deliver a pile-driver or two against whoever stands against them or is in the way. Eagle-eyed wrestling fans could also spot some familiar faces from the industry such as Brick Bronsky as a buffed-up kid who likes to work out (and is also this film's director), and Doug Yasinsky as the cook of the house who suspiciously disappears around the last act.

To simply put it, if you're not looking for an overly gory, extravagant bodycounter and is simply in the mood for something silly, fairly bloody and moderately fun, then Masked Mutilator is waiting for you in the ring. Come on by and give it a round!  

1 male had his neck snapped
1 male repeatedly beaten, neck snapped
1 male had his face beaten against a support beam
1 female strangled to death
1 male bearhugged to death
1 female kicked on the head (flashback)
1 male had his neck snapped
1 male strangled with a chokehold
1 male killed, method unknown
Total: 9

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