When director Cody Knotts recently appeared on The Alan Cox Show, Cox asked him whether his new film, Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies, was anything like The Walking Dead, the popular dramatic AMC series about a group of humans trying to fend off zombies in post-apocalyptic America. Knotts, who's billed his film with the tagline "good old American violence," says he was happy to answer the question with a resounding "no."
"I am bored by watching people cry," he says emphatically in a recent phone interview. Knotts and stars Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Shane Franchise Douglas will introduce the film when it shows at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31, at the Capitol Theatre. "I want to see heads smashed. We wanted to remind people of what wrestling used to be like. It's not for children."
Knotts originally approached Douglas about starring in the film, and once Douglas agreed, a slew of other wrestlers (Kurt Angle, Roddy Piper, Matt Hardy, Reby Sky) came on board. "People knew that they could trust Shane [Douglas]," he says.
This is the third low-budget feature that Knotts has directed, and he says the challenging part with this film, which centers on a group of zombies who try to avenge the death of a wrestler, was making the stunts look real without using computer-generated images.
"We didn't use CGI," he says. "We didn't use 3-point lighting. We chose to do it that way. Everything is looking the same in movies. It's all oversaturated with the cameraman going in and out of focus. We wanted it to look like a wrestling show. We've been getting great reaction. It's meant to be a comedy and poking fun at what is popular in zombie movies nowadays with all the crying and contemplating. Our guys never ask questions."
At the screening at the Capitol, Knotts will also sell limited edition DVDs of the film that feature commentary from Duggan and Douglas, who both recorded their commentary the very first time they watched the film. Knotts will also be selling a new set of T-shirts that he says are "amazing."