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The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre (2021)

A Bloody Zombie Flick with Some Sweet WWF Moves

Score 3/10 - Not Recommended

Posted by Samuel Glass | April 7th, 2022

Okay, before I get flamed for the low rating, let me just say this: The title is phenomenal. But if you’re not currently a wrestling fan, or you haven’t imbibed a shitload of beer before and while you’re watching this, or a combination of both, you’re probably not going to get into it. At least not the way I’m guessing the filmmakers intended. And “keeping it 100”, I really haven’t been into the scene since Mike Graham and Steve Kern were a tag team. Never heard of them? Google them. And don’t tag me for the fact that the biggest wrestler I’ve ever been indirectly connected to was Hulk Hogan (we both graduated from Robinson Senior High in Tampa, FL.) .

The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre comes on like it wants to be the equivalent of Return Of The Living Dead, for fans of WWE, NWO, or ECW.. And I guess, in a manner of speaking, it is. Except that it’s lacking the wit or the tight direction given ROTLD by the late, great Dan O’Bannon, who probably would’ve known how to “pimp up” this messy, uneven comedy. Rooted in the form of a comic book being read by a kid named Hurley (Charlie Shotwell), narrated in part by his peckerwood redneck dad, Harley (Scott Peat), the story begins as we join the titular bros, Stone and Skull Manson (Chris Margetis and Mike Carey, respectively).

The “ultimate badasses” of Heeldom have fallen on hard times since their belt-winning days, playing for hicks at a crappy little space in Santa Fe. I know we’re meant to get to know the Mansons, their wives/girlfriends, and their colleagues, both friends and “frenemies”, but that’s one of the problems. There’s entirely too much “Brothers” and not enough “Midnight Zombie Massacre” to be had, which really doesn’t kick off until about the third act.

In any case, one of the Brothers’ “friends” is a dealer nicknamed “Big Wang” (Sean Dillingham). (Yep, it’s that kind of movie.) And today, Wang is dealing everyone’s favorite zombie movie trope, bad drugs! He’s the juice supplier for the local big boys, and we ain’t talkin’ “orange juice”. And therein lies the ringer: this batch can somehow turn users into slobbering fiends, who develop a case of the munchies…for human flesh! But seriously, when your movie has exactly four names that non-wrestling fans may recognize: Randy Couture, D.B. Sweeney, Bas Rutten and Adrian Pasdar, that’s going to equal trouble of the home rental kind.

There’s entirely too much “Brothers” and not enough “Midnight Zombie Massacre” to be had, which really doesn’t kick off until about the third act.

As you’ll probably hear me repeat a zillion times, horror-comedies aren’t an easy thing to pull off. So I can at least give director Max Martini (Captain Philips) and writers Margetis and Carey (yes, they wrote it, too!) credit for trying. Making Stone the straight man and giving Skull the jokes, in the form of Yogi Berra-type malapropisms, may have sounded hysterical on paper. But it’s a gag that lost its freshness pretty much after The Three Stooges did it. And Yogi made it funny because he was sincere about not knowing he was doing it.

At least there’s Sweeney and Pasdar, chewing the scenery for all they’re worth, which livens up the proceedings considerably whenever they show up…which is unfortunately far too little. I really did want to like this, but once again, if you aren’t a ride-or-die wrestling fan, and yet you might be curious, I’d say go for it. Just be sure you have Return Of The Living Dead or John Gulager’s like-minded Feast at the ready as backup.

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