The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre (2021) – Movie Review

Last Updated on July 6, 2022

PLOT: A tag team duo gets more than they bargained for when an epic storm traps them inside a wrestling venue with a hoard of zombies. What do you get when you mix magical libre masks, a zombie outbreak, and some heavy gore? A damn good time!

LOWDOWN: Brothers Stone and Skull Manson are wrestling heels (bad guys) who lost everything after their fame, and egos got them into trouble. This eventually forced them back into the indie circuit, where we catch up with them in the present day. Now much older and working for chump change, the Manson brothers have a chance at a decent payday by doing a midnight Halloween cage match. When a strange illness turns everyone into zombies, the brothers must work together and kickass if they hope to make it out alive.

When I was into wrestling, Stone Cold was chugging a six-pack on the USA Network while Sting was bashing skulls in with a baseball bat on TNT. The Monday Night Wars were a sight to behold, and I’m glad that it was a part of my childhood. Twenty-one years later, The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre dropped into my lap, and a sense of childlike wonder (or maybe it was the rum?) washed over me. How does this low-budget horror-comedy about wrestling and zombies stand up in today’s entertainment world? Well, surprisingly, really f*cking well.

Things start off in a trashy trailer park where a scene-stealing Harley (Scott Peat) uses a first edition comic to tell his son Hurley (Charlie Shotwell) the tale of the Manson brothers and how they saved the world from a zombie outbreak. Tonally, The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre is just the right amount of silly, brash, and violent fun. It lets us know that the next ninety minutes will be a joyous occasion full of blood, guts, and some well-needed off-color humor. Within the opening scene, Harley gives his son some sage advice concerning his future dating life, “Don’t you ever, ever, ever, marry a woman stupid enough to believe that a big ol’ pulsating wart is an extra dick. Promise me that boy.” At this specific moment, I knew I was in for a good time, and The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre did not disappoint.

Skull and Stone Manson are the heart of the movie, with their persistent bickering being one of the most enjoyable aspects. Stone (Chris Margetis) is the wiser and business savvy brother, while Skull (Mike Carey) is the dimwit with a heart of gold. A healthy amount of setup and world-building sets The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre above the rest. Now, things take their time, as the zombie outbreak is a bit of a slow burn culminating in an all-out sh*tshow around the hour mark. But one of the best decisions by Margetis was to flesh out the inner workings of the indie wrestling circuit before things go big. And that’s well before we get a sly gypsy selling Stone Manson magical libre masks out of her thrift store. I won’t spoil it, but, ya, it’s ridiculous and awesome.

The comedy is the rug that ties this room together. In between the killings, we get these cheeky interactions filled with sly wit, stoner humor, and a lot of f*cking charm. Every side character brings a unique element to the wrestling world. Bas Rutten’s Evil Dutch Dekker is an oldtimer who’s tough-as-nails yet tells of the hilarious (maybe fake?) origin story of “Say, Uncle” in a perfect monologue. D.B. Sweeney has the time of his life as a sleazy promoter, who’s always looking out for himself (lovely suits, btw). Doctor Dudembrü (Adrian Pasdar) is a cartoonish quack who is a fun nod to Frank Booth, while Thump Hanson (Randy Couture) is the aged superstar whose sense of wisdom and respect keeps everyone else in check. Even when the acting comes off a bit stiff, the sheer enthusiasm makes up for any shortcomings, giving us some early Kevin Smith vibes.

Horror and comedy are a delicate mix, but The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre pulls the laughs off while embracing the gore. We get some solid practical effects that show more than they tell, aka no useless cutaways. There is a surprising amount of character development, which says a lot because I’m almost always rooting against someone just to see the red stuff. Chris Margetis and Mike Carey are a great duo who not only can kickass but play off of each other well, creating a great dynamic that had me cheering the whole way through. Mike Carey absolutely steals the show as Skull, the doofus with a big heart. He nails every goofy line, sells it like no other, and owns that hammy Chicago accent, making me feel right at home. Hell, he sounds exactly like my loud next-door neighbor, which is a nice authentic touch. Well done, Mike. Blagojevich would be proud.

GORE: The blood and gore are gruesome and over-the-top, just as you would hope.

BOTTOM LINE: The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre is a glorious and bloody main eventer. Chris Margetis and Mike Carey are the heart and soul of this flick, and I found myself fully engaged with these characters to the point where I would watch an entire series on them. Chris rocks it out as the charismatic ringleader while Mike plays the simple sweet-natured Chicagoan flawlessly. The zombie angle may be somewhat past its prime, but director Max Martini wisely leans into the world of wrestling to give it a bit of fresh air. A bodyslam of a good time, The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre is something that put a smile on my stupid face and kept it there for the entire runtime. Fill up your rum with ice, grab some popcorn and enjoy the match.




Source: Arrow in the Head

About the Author

125 Articles Published

Lance Vlcek was raised in the aisles of Family Video in the south suburbs of Chicago. He's a fan of fun schlock like Friday The 13th Part 7 and Full Moon Entertainment but also loves genre classics like Evil Dead and Big Trouble In Little China. Lance does many things outside of genre consumption, with his favorites being his homemade Chicago pizza recipe, homemade rum, and video editing. He has four Sugar Gliders, a love for beach bars, and claims Brett Morgen's favorite Bowie album must be Changesonebowie based on his soulless documentary!