InterVision Pictures, the offshoot of Severin Films, has a knack for locating and releasing some of the most bizarre and interesting independent films to have drifted off into obscurity. A few years back, they released Beyond the 7th Door, a film that has forever forged a home in my heart. Their newest announcement, a film 25-years-in-the-making, looks poised to win my heart over.
Coming May 14th to Blu-ray, DVD and all digital platforms is The Masked Mutilator. What is The Masked Mutilator, you say? Why, it’s just the wrestling-themed slasher that first entered production in 1994, hit a snag, picked back up in 1996, hit another roadblock, and then was just recently finished using a re-write to include modern-day bookends featuring the film’s original star.
Sounds like a wild story, right? It is, and Bloody Disgusting has the exclusive trailer for your viewing pleasure!
Yes, please. As a fan of pro wrestling and horror, sign me all the way up.
So how exactly did this wrestling-themed slasher come to be? Well, as co-writer/producer Dale Schneck tells us it involves Uncle Lloyd, wrestling management and a man named Brick.
“Back in the late ’80s I was the personal manager of a number of pro wrestlers who wanted to get into movies and television. One of those wrestlers was Jeff Beltzner aka Brick Bronsky. I submitted him to Lloyd Kaufman at Troma Pictures, and Brick landed his first feature role for them in Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD. Because Lloyd liked Brick so much, he then cast him in Class of Nuke ‘em High II & III in the lead roles.”
“I was a big horror fan and Dale had an inside knowledge of pro wrestling,” Schneck’s writing and producing partner Ed Polgardy tells us. “So we decided to mix the wrestling and slasher genres to create a hybrid movie involving wrestling-action and horror.”
Initially, Schneck and Polgardy met with other producers with money to fund the project, but nothing ever materialized. This eventually gave way to the duo putting up their own money, with the assistance of a handful of others, to get the film up and running. As is often the case with small, self-financed productions, the film ran into a number of issues that put the project on hold, even after the film was nearly complete.
“The way the picture was shot with a lot of improvisation on the set left some holes in the storyline that needed to be fixed for the movie to work,” Polgardy says. “We were 80% there for years, but couldn’t figure out how to glue it all together.”
“I had all the film elements stored in my home basement,” Schneck recalls. “And it bugged me that all the work and effort and money we put into this project never saw completion or release. I felt sorry for all the cast and crew who worked on the project and couldn’t at least show a completed film to their family and friends — I also felt a bit sorry for my wallet.”
Given that the film wasn’t entirely completed yet, the producers needed some of the cast to be on board with filming new scenes to see The Masked Mutilator through to the end. Fortunately, getting the film’s star, Tom Taylor, back into action was no problem.
“I have been working with Tom all these years,” Schneck says. “In fact, I have been developing a reality series again set in the world of independent pro wrestling, and Tom Taylor is one of the stars of that project. Tom also worked with former wrestler Doug Yasinsky (Carl the cook in our film) as Doug’s heel manager at wrestling shows.”
All these years later, this small, little wrestling-themed slasher is nearly a month away from finally seeing an official release. Polgardy and Schneck couldn’t be more thrilled.
“We’re all incredibly happy to see everything finished, so other people can enjoy one of the first real movie projects we were all involved with,” says Polgardy. “The Masked Mutilator is a regional horror film that we completely willed into being. Is it perfect…? Well, it’s a kick-ass Grindhouse picture that hits all the marks in that genre, and it’s definitely an enjoyable ’80s/’90s-style slasher movie, with teenage victims you care about, which makes you root for them to survive. So if you like that kind of gritty, action-packed movie, I really, really doubt you’ll be disappointed.”
“I personally feel that the release of The Masked Mutilator is a stepping stone to other film and television projects I want to pursue,” Schneck says. “But much more than that, I deeply appreciate that a company like Severin Films sees the value of the work we all put in, and that an audience of horror fans everywhere will now have the opportunity to see our film.”
“Nothing was easy along the way of trying to resurrect this lost project, but now I get a chill watching the completed film and can actually enjoy The Masked Mutilator as a true fan of the horror genre.”
The Masked Mutilator hits Blu-ray, DVD an all digital platforms on May 14th from InterVision. For more information, please visit Severin-Films.com.