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Mr Insanity sounds like the title for a horror movie or a novel of some
type to be hitting the stands. It is neither. Mr Insanity is a
professional wrestler based out of Mansfield, Ohio, who has been active
on the Independent scene for some eight years. During this time he has
gained the reputation of a hardcore brawler or "extreme
wrestler" as fans today call those cut from his bolt of cloth.
Rather than using holds like a Roland Bock, Lou Thesz or Big Daddy
Crabtree, he prefers to slam and brawl, hitting people with everything
in sight. His matches are invariable bloodbaths where he and his
opponent are so soaked, they look like they spent time in a Friday
the 13th movie.
And what does this have to do with horror films?
Plenty, as you will see.
If you go back into the past, there are many examples of wrestlers
playing in monster films, suspense films and horror films. Harold Sakata
(best known as the hat-throwing Japanese villain out to kill James Bond,
as Odd Job) played in various horror films, his last being Impulse in
the early 1970's, where he was done in by a psycho killer he attempted
to blackmail. Primo Carnera, the disgraced boxer turned wrestler, has
many movie roles, including Mighty Joe Young, where he and fellow
grapplers lost a tug of war to the gigantic ape/forerunner to King
Kong. Kiwi Kingston played The Frankenstein
Monster in the Evil Of Frankenstein, terrorizing Peter Cushing.
Bruiser Ian Miur was a giant in Time Bandits. The late Pepper
Martin played a hit man or psycho killer in a number of movies. Terry
Funk had a part as a wrestler who won a bout from beyond the grave in
the tv show Beyond Belief. Rocky Maivia has made an
attempt at acting, following his hit as The Scorpion King. Tough
Tony played in an indy film called Odd Noggins, shot in Alabama
and centered around headhunter aliens in a plot shot off a
shoestring budget, yet all things considered, came out well. Then there
was George Steele as wrestler Tor Johnson in Ed Wood, a grappler
turned actor playing a grappler turned actor. Then, further down the
line, we have the real Tor Johnson.
(Editors note: And let's not forget, in Mexico, for a while, every
wrestler, from El
downwards, has played in his/her own string of [monster-]movies [Santo-bio
- click here].)
Enter Mr. Insanity.
In late 2003, production began on a low-budget film titled The Dead
Don't Stay That Way, in which this wrestler was contracted to
perform . He ended up being an integral part of the movie both in front
The Dead Don't Stay That Way was a film involving zombies, with
fitting killing, blood and special effects. Though Dawn of The Dead
would have nothing to fear from the competition, the movie did make the
rounds, plus was successfully crossmarketed as a horror film to the
horror fans and to the wrestling fans, due to Mr Insanity having a key
role. In the midwestern states such as Ohio, Michigan and Indiana, where
he was regularly seen in the ring, it was also sold at matches.
There have been talks about entering it into some foreign film festivals
down the road.
Again, while it was not essentially Oscar-winning material, the action
he saw in the film has landed Mr Insanity in yet another role, this time
with fellow wrestlers Brain Damage, Deranged and others also playing
parts (Gotta love the names). The yet-untitled project is supposed to
start shooting in November.
Likewise, Mr Insanity is looking at the production end of a script
titled The Last Bell Call, a quasi-religious horror tale
revolving around a wrestling ring. In this plot a young wrestler
constantly disrespects two older wrestlers until one finally snaps and
decides he is going to kill him in the ring, which he does. Prior to
this, a born-again wrestler has been attempting to save the whole locker
room from their sins and of course the upstart grappler has nothing to
do with it. He then wakes up in an empty arena, in the center of the
ring, confronted by ghosts, demons and shadows from the past. He has
died and gone to the fiery pit, but the flames have not yet arrived.
Tentative shooting to start in 2006.
Thus Mr Insanity might well be torn between a world of indie film and
wrestling. Will he find time to do both.
"Yes," he answered in simple form when asked.
And which world does he prefer?
"I really do not want to say outright as I love both, man I have
always loved wrestling. When I was a kid I saw all the bad guy wrestlers
and wanted to do that, so I did. When I was a kid I grew up watching
monster films and loved them too, so I ended up getting involved with
"I am a big fan of Dario Argento," he explained. "I also
love the old Goblin scores."
Mr Insanity may also be seen as a spectator, attending various horror
film festivals, especially those in the Cleveland area. Plans are being
made to market The Dead Don't Stay That Way and for him to do
some signing sessions upcoming in some of these.
To add to the confusion and the competition, Mr Insanity may be in for
an unexpected fight in both worlds. Just as The Dead Don't Stay That
Way was released, another director out of the nearby Coshocton area,
released an indy zombie film of his own, titled The Dead Don't Die.
In it was featured rival wrestler, Joe Joe Little, whom Mr Insanity has
faced in the ring in various towns in the past.
An odd and purely unintended coincidence.
Maybe the two wrestlers and their respective armies of the undead can
all get into the ring someplace in a massive battle royal. It might even
make the plot for a new film.