Welcome back to Credits Subject to Change here on B-Movie BFFs. As we speed towards the Main Event tonight (with an exhausting 5 PM EST start time), join me for a little pregame in the Piper’s Pit as I do my very best to curate the filmography of the Hot Scot himself, Roddy Piper!
Piper is one of my favorite childhood favorites in the ring and in B-movie fandom. The man never saw a weird script he didn’t like. There’s so much to choose from and we can only ever scratch the surface. With Netflix and YouTube productions get better and better, who knows what kind of over-the-top malarkey the late great Hot Rod would be giving us right now. Alas! We still have the memories. And memories would never taint your viewing of these films. Right?
Cannot have a list without John Carpenter’s subversive, visionary sci-fi hit. Mild mannered but shredded construction worker John was dropping anticonsumerist dispatches and saving our butts from alien invaders way before Independence Day. And he got to be buddies with Keith David! Eternally jealous. Not Roddy’s first film (that was the almost too meta for words Body Slam), but certainly his most memorable, most mainstream, and the one that shot him on the road to the Cult Movie Hall of Fame.
Hell Comes to Frogtown
Bless this movie’s heart. Only the second most memeable film of all time, it’s possible to feel neutral about Frogtown…but it’s a lot more fun to totally hate it for what it is or love it for what it wants to be. Retroactively, it’s a bit like Mad Max: Fury Road, only with more horrible mutant frogman suits and none of the political nuances. But, Roddy as Sam Hell (coming to Frogtown) can’t be missed and along with They Live this is still essential watching for aficionados!
This one is was a little newer to me and represents a personal bias: this movie, also staring the sultry, sexy Tawny Kitaen, Trevor Goddard, and eternal villain Juan Fernandez, is basically a soft remake of The Lady from Shanghai. With Roddy in Orson’s role. Which I love. So, a dramatic role with romance. Romance? And no… fighting? With Hot Rod AND Trevor Goddard? An introspective narrative? No one is going to accuse this of being a particularly good movie but I appreciate Roddy for coming in to make something for us fans that also happen to enjoy Lifetime TV movies. Always thinking of us!
The Mystical Adventures of Billy Owens
So Roddy’s career in wrestling and film post ’90s got a little weird. It would be a long day to detail the (many, many) ways in which it got weird between Hell Comes to Frogtown and Bash at the Beach ’99 (and just try to guess which was worse, I dare you), but suffice it to say Roddy’s output got a little… toned down. Unfortunately, there’s only a couple of truly memorable television and movie cameos from this period and Roddy probably wanted it that way, but special ups to this charming knock off of the evergreen Harry Potter series. This movie might have faded into obscurity if it weren’t for Obscurus Lupa’s aggressive and hilarious memeing of Roddy’s hamtastic performance and for that alone it’s worth your time.
Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies
So, Hot Rod’s final movie was a Netflix feature called The Masked Saint which, while not exactly good, is an earnest film about a pastor that becomes a lucha vigilante after the crime rate rises in his sleepy southern town. We could talk about that movie… or we could talk about Pro Wrestlers v. Zombies. Considering the site you’re on right now, I think you know why we’re here. This movie is chocked full of wrestlers across several different rosters like a Capcom Vs. game, features necromancy, revenge, carnie swindling, and… well, just what’s on the tin. It could be a personal best for anyone featured in it, but we’ll give it to Roddy for even agreeing to help Shane Douglas out of his own mess and for channeling a hybrid of his They Live/Sam Hell to get a little rowdy with some Fangoria magazine zombies. Full circle!
We’re out of time! Thanks for allowing me to interrupt your usual programming but rest assured I’ll be back with more wrestling recommendations, coincidentally right around the time of the next Big Event!