Back in the 80´s, i used to watch a lot of wrestling on TV. Everytime i watched Hulk Hogan strike down any wrestler, i felt a lot of joy. The same thing when you watched The Ultimate Warrior, or even " Macho Man " Randy Savage do their special tricks, i would cheer infront of the TV. The 80´s, up until the 90´s had a lot of fun wrestlers such as The Bushwackers, the only ones during that time who looked like Redneck Alabama folks, with a very unique walk. WWE used to be one of the things i always watched on weekends. As the 90´s went on, a lot of wrestling stars would show up in Hollywood films, and especially Hulk Hogan. Who has not seen his films Surburban Commando or Mr Nanny? He did do some other acting in such films as No Holds Barred back in 1989, that actually felt more like a connection to his wrestling career. Speaking earlier about Randy Savage, you might remember seeing him in the comedy film Ready To Rumble from 2000. This film really tried to bring in a lot of wrestlers such as Sting, Bam Bam Bigelow, Disco Inferno and many more. But the wrestling industry realised the potential that wrestling stars had on the big screen, so WWE Films produced a lot of action, and horror films as well. One of the films i remember especially is the 2006 horror film See No Evil, directed by Gregory Dark. This is a slasher film that used a lot of classic ingredients from similar films, and the most fun part of See No Evil is to see wrestler Kane as the killer character Jacob Goodnight, killing anyone who gets in his way. See No Evil may not bring anything new to the table, but that´s not the point either. If you enjoy slasher films with a lot of brutality, then See No Evil is Worth checking out. There is a sequel, but i personally prefer the first film. During spring this year i was hearing some buzz online about an independent horror film that would have wrestlers in a film called Penance Lane. This caught my attention of course, and i decided to pick up the film on DVD. Is this one of the better horror films i have seen this summer, or is Penance Lane as forgettable as Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 1?
Crimson Matthews ( Tyler Mane ) arrives in a small American town, looking for a job and to start a new life after being in prison. As he gets a lift to town, he helps local girl Sherry Roddick ( Scott Taylor-Compton ) from being avused by her boyfriend. She thanks him personally, when he goes in to have dinner at Sherry´s mother Jan Roddick´s ( April Bogenschutz ) diner. Since Crimson is looking for a new job, he ask Jan about the note outside her diner. It turns out that local pastor Father John ( John Schneider ) needs an old house to be fixed, and she helps him set up a meeting with Crimson. Father John hires Crimson right away, and there is a lot of work to be done. But this house have some secrets hidden, that Crimson is about to find, as he begins to fix up the place.
One of the biggest surprises for me personally, is how well this film have captured the American small town society. You have characters here that i bet a lot of Americans will say that they have seen, in small towns. And i appreciate that this film does not try and and add clichés of typical American people, and make them look like ordinary people instead. I think this helps the characters of this film become more interesting, since you can feel that they are just as ordinary as the people we all meet in smaller towns. But there is a secret about this small town, and that is one interesting twist that i especially appreciate, that i did not expect. In the beginning of this film, you might think that this is another paranormal horror film, that we have seen so many times before. But the plot actually becomes more clear, as the film goes on, and feels more like a mixture of Wes Craven infuences. Let us get into the characters for a bit. Lead actor Tyler Mane ( retired professional wrestler ) actually fit well with his character Crimson Matthew, who just got out of prison. At first you might think that Crimosn is leaving everything behind his past, but is he really ? Wonderful actress Scout Taylor-Compton ( who i guarantee you recognize from Rob Zombie´s 2007 horror film Halloween ) plays the female character Sherry. She may not be seen a lot, but Scout knows how to make her character fit in with the plot. Legendary actor John Schneider ( who most of you remember from the classic TV series The Dukes Of Hazard ) is one of the big surprises for me with this film. He is actually better than i expected, so that is without a doubt positive. I have to mention wrestler and actor Booker Huffman, with his character Shooter. He nails his performance right on target. Penance Lane is a horror film that is not groundbreaking in any way, but this is a good looking film and also have a clever twist into the story. I also have to mention that i enjoy the secret that this town holds, that helps the plot become more interesting. Director Péter Engert shares his passion for Wes Craven with Penance Lane, and do it with a effective combination of old school horror ingredients. Worth picking up on DVD, if you appreciate this genre, and wrestling stars as well of course.