Nail In The Coffin Movie Review
by Julie Perez
I’ll admit to walking into the documentary Nail in The Coffin: The Fall & Rise Of Vampiro in a pessimistic state of mind. Truth be told, I wasn’t extremely excited to watch how a white man thrived in a sport that was made famous by Mexicans. Spoiler alert: I was pleasantly surprised by the end of the film. Ian Hodgkinson is a semi-retired professional wrestler who is also known as Vampiro in the professional wrestling world. This documentary is made up of various home videos and interview footage of himself as well as of his family and friends. It feels like an intimate and heartfelt look into a career that took so much from Ian Hodgkinson.
Vampiro was born from a rough upbringing, constant trouble-making and an adoration for Sid Vicious. Not long after Ian watched a wrestling match on TV, he found himself in Mexico and taking the Mexican wrestling space by storm. Though the documentary makes it very clear that the women adored Vampiro, I wish they would have dug a little deeper as to how the die-hard fans and other wrestlers felt about him. They definitely hit on the subject at the beginning of the documentary, but not enough for me to truly understand how he was received by other wrestlers. My hope was that they would eventually ask him directly about how he felt coming into a Mexican space and taking off in it.
All of that to say, I appreciated the fact that we do see that Ian clearly respected the space that he walked into. He was fully aware that the sport and its Mexican participators were to be respected. Once the documentary made that clear, it was easier to invest in Ian and the person he is. His journey has not been easy and wrestling has taken things from his life that he will never get back. At one point, he admits to being addicted to sleeping pills and pain pills until he finally became sober. Via old home videos edited within more current footage, we get to see the damage that wrestling has done to Ian’s body; which just feels like further proof of everything Ian gave to his career.
Nail In The Coffin feels like a passionate love letter to a man who gave so much to a beloved sport. We get to see the strain the sport took on his relationship with his daughter and how hard Ian’s tried to repair it. We follow his journey from loving the sport, to absolutely hating it and that may be the most heartbreaking part of the entire documentary. Ian clearly struggles with appreciating how much Vampiro gave him and with feeling so worn down physically that he hates having to get back in the ring.
If you’re a fan of professional wrestling, then this is the documentary for you. It gives you a true insight into what the athletes go through behind-the-scenes and it’s bound to give you a higher appreciation for their work.
Nail In The Coffin will be available on VOD starting Tuesday, September 8, 2020.