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Bloodstained Memoirs (DVD Review)

6 Dec, 2012 By: John Latchem

$19.98 DVD
Not rated.

Documentaries about professional wrestling tend to fall into two broad categories: exposés about how brutal the industry is, or tributes sponsored by a particular promotion.

Bloodstained Memoirs falls somewhere in the middle. It’s an independent production that isn’t interested in down-and-dirty secrets, but rather hearing from a handful of well-known wrestlers from the past few decades via a series of interviews. There’s no overarching point here, other than the insights gleaned by getting the wrestlers to open up about their own careers.

The production style is rather static, with each interview conducted via a single camera angle that never changes, and no interaction with the interviewer other than his off-camera voice. This simplicity and intimacy probably will limit its appeal primarily to casual or hardcore fans of wrestling.

You get the usual revelations about how wrestling can lead to serious, sometimes permanent injuries. Different crowds expect different things, but ultimately it’s about putting on a show for them. Some wrestlers take it too far in trying to hurt their opponents rather than putting on a good show. For most wrestlers, going on the road is the least enjoyable part of the career. And backstage politics almost always suck.

The subjects are mostly “hardcore” wrestlers such as Rob Van Dam and Jimmy Snuka, rather than the more commercial superstars such as John Cena or Hulk Hogan.

A lot of the questions are rather uninspiring, such as asking a wrestler to compare rival promoters Vince McMahon and Eric Bischoff (though McMahon is described in a lot better light than media reports or his on-screen persona would have us believe).

A common theme that emerges is what drives these guys, despite all the pain and hardship, is the thrill of entertaining their fans.

As if to hammer this point, the filmmakers don’t even bother interviewing Mick Foley. His segment consists almost entirely of footage of his interactions with fans at a book signing.

And Chris Jericho exclaims that feeding off the fans is the key commonality for any performer; for him that means his wrestling career or his life as a musician playing concerts with his band, Fozzy.

The DVD includes additional interviews, a match between Snuka and Foley, and a featurette about editing the movie and preparing videos for the film’s online debut as an app.

About the Author: John Latchem

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