Interview with Vampiro Ian Hodgkinson and Michael Paszt

A bona fide sex symbol of the 90’s, especially in Mexico, he survived the glamorous-but-harsh rock star lifestyle, becoming a better person and a better parent.

Ian Hodgkinson, 53, better known as lucha libre legend Vampiro, reveals his heartfelt and inspiring journey in the roller coaster ride called professional wrestling.

The documentary “Nail In The Coffin: The Fall and Rise of Vampiro” (Epic Pictures, 88 minutes) is directed by Michael Paszt.

Chavo Guerrero Jr., Jeff Jarrett, Konnan, Karrion Kross, The Misfits, John Morrison, Dorian Roldan, Rosemary, Sexy Star, Sting, Matt Striker, AAA Triplemania are in the doc. More pro wrestling and lucha stars, too.

Overcoming drug addiction as an adult and sexual abuse as a teen, Hodgkinson quickly rose to prominence in the Mexican lucha libre scene.

Born, raised and residing in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, Hodgkinson began his pro wrestling career in his mid-to-late teen years. A promising ice hockey goalie, he opted to trade his hockey skates for pro wrestling boots during that time. His punk rock look and attitude clashed with his hockey endeavors.

After some pro wrestling training and some wrestling matches in Montreal, the skinny, tough, dread-locked combatant embarked on a move that changed his life.

At age 22, Hodgkinson traveled to Mexico City, connecting with CMLL. His look, very unique, made him an instant star, a rebel who clicked with the ladies.

Sporting long, sleek dreadlocks, black and blue hair, dark face-painted marks, dark lipstick, several tattoos, he became Vampiro Canadiense (Canadian Vampire) because he liked vampires and looked like one, too.

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Later with black hair and white facepaint, he resembled a cross between punk rock horror band The Misfits, who he worked with in WCW; pop R&B duo Milli Vanilli, who he worked with as a roadie/security guard; the crow Sting persona in WCW and a cool vampire.

Vampiro starred in CMLL in Mexico, WAR in Japan, WCW in the states, WWC in Puerto Rico, All Japan, TNA Wrestling, AAA in Mexico, Wrestling Society X on MTV, Juggalo Championship Wrestling (ICP), and Lucha Underground. He’s wrestled, done commentary and works behind the scenes.

Success in the ring while battling his demons outside it, Vampiro, the wrestler, delivered a reckless, aerial and physical mode, earning 20-plus concussions, a broken neck and multiple other injuries.

Hodgkinson, the person, is a complex individual, living, working for his teenage daughter, Dasha.

Raised by a single mom who we see in the documentary, he is now a single dad, doing his best for his daughter, who is featured in the documentary. The doc includes footage of he and her (as a child and a teen).

In my audio interview, Vampiro Ian Hodgkinson and Director Michael Paszt talk “Nail In The Coffin: The Fall and Rise of Vampiro.”

Elements of his real life retrospective reminded me of the movie “The Wrestler,” starring Mickey Rourke.

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About “Nail In The Coffin: The Fall and Rise of Vampiro”

Semi-retired professional wrestler Ian Hodgkinson reveals the harsh realities behind the glamour of being in the world of wrestling as the famous Vampiro.

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A Lucha Libre legend, Hodgkinson tells the astonishing story about his meteoric rise to fame in the 90’s and how it almost killed him. Yet none of that was as back-breaking as his current life – working behind-the-scenes as the Director of Talent for Lucha Libre AAA in Mexico City and Lucha Underground in Los Angeles, while simultaneously raising his teenage daughter, Dasha, in remote Northern Canada as a single parent.

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Unlike many professional wrestling documentaries before, director Michael Paszt has constructed a fascinating and heartfelt look at a wrestler who has overcome and continues to battle with physical injuries, sexual abuse, and drug addiction. Not to mention the wild stories of working for Milli Vanilli and wrestling alongside the punk rock band The Misfits, Vampiro’s stories are multi-faceted and completely enthralling.

Told through an engrossing collection of home videos and personal interviews with his closest friends and family, “Nail In The Coffin” is an intimate and genuine look into a single father grappling with fame, the pressures of professional and personal responsibilities, and his own mortality.

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“Nail In The Coffin: The Fall and Rise of Vampiro” (Epic Pictures, 88 minutes) celebrated its world premiere at Fantastic Fest in 2019, receiving rave reviews. The film released in limited theaters on Friday and is available on major VOD/Digital platforms beginning Tuesday.

“Nail In The Coffin: The Fall and Rise of Vampiro” is an incredibly inspirational true story that shows us no matter how many times life tries to beat you down and break you apart, you need to rise up and conquer your demons in order to survive,” Patrick Ewald, CEO of Epic Pictures (U.S. Distribution) said in a release. “And now, as we are faced with incredible challenges all around us, I can’t think of a more relevant film to remind us of the resiliency and power of the human spirit.”

Check out the trailer.

“Nail In The Coffin: The Fall and Rise of Vampiro” is directed by Michael Paszt. Produced by Pasha Patriki and Paszt, associate producer Maye Ornelas and executive produced by Gregor Habsburg, Jacquelyn Frisco, Ian Hodgkinson, Marisela Peña, Dorian Roldån, James Fler, and Andrew Thomas Hunt. Cinematography by Patriki and edited by Danny Palmer.

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Jim Varsallone covers pro wrestling, something he’s done since his college days in the late 1980s. Now in his fifth decade of coverage, he currently follows WWE (Raw, SmackDown and NXT), AEW, Ring of Honor, Impact Wrestling, MLW, WOW, FSCW, and the South Florida indies. He also writes MMA — mostly profile stories and video interviews with American Top Team talent in South Florida. As for pro wrestling, he writes feature stories and profile pieces, updates upcoming show schedules in South Florida, photographs the action and interviews talent (audio and video) — sharing the content here and via social media on his Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channel: jim varsallone (jimmyv3 channel).
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