Enter… Zombie King, a high-camp, low-budget melange of masked wrestlers, hokey dialogue, spurting blood and gratuitous nudity, made its world premiere at Toronto’s Bloor Cinema on Nov. 21 and 22. Shot Toronto in three weeks during December 2002, Enter… Zombie King makes about as much sense as all the expensive high-concept schlock currently cluttering up the multiplexes but is a hell of a lot more fun.

The primary inspiration behind Enter… Zombie King is Mexican professional wrestling, or lucha libre (known for masked fighters and fast, acrobatic, high-flying moves) and the relentlessly formulaic genre of films it inspired. The movies starred lucha libre heroes as themselves, dividing their time between wrestling each other and fighting an exotic array of villains, including aliens, vampires, zombies and Martians. Enter… Zombie King director Stacey Case discovered lucha libre in 1997 and has previously directed a series of short films starring Arriba, the Parkdale Wrestler. One of the Arriba shorts, BBQ Brawl, was screened before the main show.

The plot of Enter… Zombie King — such as it is — revolves around the efforts of masked heroes Ulysses (Jules Delorme), Mr. X (Sean K. Robb), the Blue Saint (Raymond Carle) and his sister Mercedes (Angela Clarke) to discover who is responsible for a series of lurid zombie killings in the nearby forest. Suspicion falls on another masked wrestler named Tiki (Rob Etcheverria, aka wrestler El Fuego), who happens to be driving around to local wrestling shows with a U-Haul full of zombie wrestlers. Tiki, however, insists his zombies are tame and someone else is responsible for the killings. There is also a subplot about the Blue Saint’s desire to avenge the death of his father, the Original Saint (a reference to the enormously popular lucha libre star El Santo), who was killed by the Murdelizer from behind.

Eventually our heroes are led to the hideout of the bear-like Zombie King (Nick Cyjetkovich, aka wrestler Sinn) and his henchmen, the Murdelizer (Jason Bareford, aka Pittsburgh wrestler J.B. Destiny) and the French Vixen (Jennifer Deschamps), who is trying to breed untamable zombie-human hybrids as an army for the Zombie King. Heads and bodies are soon flying everywhere and gross-out gore, cheap laughs and bad accents abound (Tiki sounds like he’s doing a bad Cheech Marin impression, and the French Vixen’s accent practically drips cheese curds and gravy). The wintry weather is played for laughs too — a bikini-clad Mercedes goes out to sunbathe in the middle of a blizzard and someone else comments “What strange weather — 90 degrees out and it’s snowing.”

The film also boasts a fine array of Toronto locations — pivotal scenes take place at Sunnyside Pavilion and the top of the Centre Island log ride, local wrestlers from the Squared Circle Pro Wrestling Gym and a primo Canadian indie-rock soundtrack featuring the Tijuana Bibles (who also make an appearance in the film) and the Sadies, among others, There’s also a great cameo by Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart as the sheriff.