A somewhat sad and depressing look at a man who is still young and whose body seems at least 10 years older than it should be. The nail in the coffin reminded me of the wrestler Mickey Rourke, except this one is real.
A documentary about the life of professional wrestler Vampiro and how he went from a very popular wrestler in Mexico to a behind-the-scenes agent and coordinator.
Full disclosure : Wrestling was never my favorite thing to do. Even as a kid, I was never interested in the WWF (now WWE), but it always had a certain appeal to me with its supermax, steroid mega-personalities and chest pounding. Although I was never a wrestling fanatic, I always showed up and supported the wrestlers when they came to the movies. I clearly remember seeing Hulk Hogan’s first big movie, No Holds Barred, and I’m still a big fan and follower of all WWE movies featuring their Superstars, from John Cena to The Edge. These movies are for me. So with the advent of this raw documentary Nail in the Coffin, I met a wrestler I knew almost nothing about, a man named Ian Richard Hodgkinson, whose wrestling figure is a vampire, or a Canadian vampire as he was affectionately known in Mexico and South America. This film immerses you in the midst of today’s wrestler, most of whom are retired, who now works behind the scenes as an agent, coordinator, and choreographer (and sometimes announcer), keeping him just as busy as he was when he was young in the ring. As a vampire, he imitated dark Gothic punk rock and, as fate would have it, made a name for himself in Mexico, where lucha wrestling was – and still is – in vogue. He came with his looks and fearsome dreadlocks, and gradually evolved as a wrestler, but somehow he developed into an iconic hero with a romantic appeal to South America, whose zealous devotion to his wrestling idols was similar to a North American fan’s love for a rock star or movie star. The vampire has had a great race and we see him rise for a while and move to WCW, where he reaches his peak and is offered a multi-year $9 million contract, which he turns down because he has a family. In 2019, we see that Ian is broken and suffers from all sorts of past injuries that make him dependent on painkillers, and we learn that he has developed the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease from all the concussions. He has a 24-hour schedule and very little time to relax and spend time with his daughter, but the conclusion of the film is that he doesn’t want to stop struggling, which is increasingly affecting his health.
A somewhat sad and depressing look at a man who is still young and whose body seems at least 10 years older than it should be. The nail in the coffin reminded me of the wrestler Mickey Rourke, except this one is real. It is almost painful to see this man submit to an unnecessary punishment that will almost certainly end his life prematurely. He knows it, too, and it’s sad to see him limping along in pain after a wrestling match and then going to his doctor, who keeps telling him to stop while he still can. The film has heart, and while Ian is not the funniest or cutest subject to build a film on, it offers a somewhat insightful look at a man who refuses to do something he clearly no longer enjoys. Filmmaker Michael Pasht uses a few films from Ian’s library to give the film some context.
Epic Films / Dread’s recent Nail in the Coffin Blu-ray contains many special features, including bonus interviews, segments from Lucha Underground and more.
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