At first glance, the horror genre and wrestling may seem like opposites. However, look up some of the most well-known horror conventions across the country, and likely, you’ll discover that they’ve hosted pro wrestlers alongside genre icons. This makes sense, according to Gerard Durling, co-owner of IWTV, because like a good horror film, wrestling matches rely on narrative, character, and even some of the genre’s theatrics.
IWTV is an independent, on demand wrestling channel, which just debuted its first horror film, The Death of Krule v. Matt Tremont. We chatted with Durling about IWTV’s recent foray into the genre and future plans to keep it going.
This interview was edited slightly for clarity.
1428 Elm: How did you get involved with IWTV?
Gerard Durling: I’m one of the founders of IWTV. The company is partnered with Smart Mark Video, which is an independent professional wrestling distribution service that has existed since the 90s. They’ve been doing this for years. We got together on this subscription platform. The trend of how to consume video has changed. I also own my own video marketing and programming company called Coal Creative. Through there, we were able to start building these apps.
1428 Elm: At various horror conventions, there’s always one-two pro wrestlers in attendance, signing autographs. There’s some overlap between the fanbases. What link do you see between wrestling and horror, if any?
Gerard Durling: More in pro wrestling, there are larger than life characters. At a horror convention, you might see someone like The Boogeyman. For people who go to horror conventions, they may remember the days they watched WWF. There are a lot of pro wrestlers now who are horror movie fans and wondered what it would be like to be their own version of a monster, the bad guy, or a villain in the movie. Wrestlers, on all levels, I think borrow from the horror genre. It would be more of an interesting introduction for the horror fan to want to watch the wrestling.
We did a movie with Krule. He’s nearly seven feet tall and looks like Jason. Then, you have a wrestler like Max the Impaler. They’re totally different, with dreadlocks and face paint. They look like a Viking warrior. If you see them in person, there’s an aura to them. If you’re a child, they may scare you like a horror movie. I think it also has to do with character development. You see it in professional wrestling and horror movies.
1428 Elm: Horror and wrestling also have the theatrical element to them.
Gerard Durling: Every wrestling match has its own built-in story. You tell a 10-minute story.
1428 Elm: IWTV just debuted its first horror film, The Death of Krule v. Matt Tremont. Tell me how that project originated.
Gerard Durling: With IWTV, we livestream a lot of death match wrestling. For the unfamiliar, it’s more like hardcore wrestling times ten where they’ll use glass, barbed wire, a lot of blood. There’s a common misconception that the blood is fake. For the most part, in almost every scenario, it’s real when you see this type of wrestling. There’s no way to fake getting cut with glass. It’s really happening.
While going to these shows all the time, I thought, if I brought a friend to this, they’d find it to be the craziest, scariest thing they’ve seen. I thought, why don’t we try to talk more to a horror movie audience, a horror fan, who might not know what this is? We had an opportunity to work with Krule, who visually is a horror movie monster. When we looked at the calendar year, we wondered what we could do to merge death match wrestling with Krule and a horror movie. We thought Halloween was our spot to do something like this. Looking at Krule, we want to keep doing more with him in this style, maybe outside of wrestling. There seems to be an opportunity to grow pro wrestling by doing stuff in this space.
1428 Elm: You appear in the film. What was the experience like?
Gerard Durling: I was really in it briefly. I don’t like being in front of the camera any longer. I used to be a pro wrestler, but now I like to be of assistance behind the scenes.
1428 Elm: Can you talk about the filming process generally and the timeline?
Gerard Durling: Most everything was filmed in one day. It was October 6. This came out on October 31, so it was edited in that window of time. Meanwhile, my company, Coal Creative, moved the next week after filming. There was about a two-week editing window for our guy, Will McHale. We really didn’t get to see the final product until the day of because of how strenuous it was. That said, we did something like this before with Coal Creative. They’re a production company that handles normal clients. We did a wrestling match with them before. We sort of worked on the fly with the wrestlers. They guided the story along as we worked through the day. It turned out really well.
That said, I don’t think it would have worked so well for the film, if we didn’t have Matt Tremont and Krule. Krule specifically has this mind for cinematic scenes with his monster character. Krule worked alongside Will, building scenes out. It was also Krule’s property that we worked on. He had a cemetery on his property and acres of land. He’s a horror movie monster with his own horror movie land. [Laughs]. It was such an interesting space in Georgia. It was the perfect little town to film something like this in. We started at 11 am and wrapped around 11 pm. We filmed the death match last.
1428 Elm: How did you get Matt Tremont on board?
Gerard Durling: Matt was actually our world champion after Krule had been written out due to injury. Matt became our champion, so when Krule came back, his target was set on Matt Tremont. Without a doubt, Matt is one of the best death match wrestlers in the world. He’s always been a huge part of IWTV. He has his own promotion with us, H20 Wrestling. We’re also doing a weekly show in his building called Uncharted Territory. Matt has been a big part of the success of our network. I thought he and Krule were the perfect hero/villain roles for each other.
1428 Elm: The movie will continue to play out in season 5 of Uncharted Territory, your weekly live pro wrestling show. Without spoiling anything, how will the film factor into the show?
Gerard Durling: It’s already started. In episode 1, Krule brought Tremont back from the dead. Tremont is currently wearing a mask similar to the Krule mask. He will be having his first death match this week in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He used to be the bulldozer, but now he’s the killdozer. He’s aligned himself with Krule now, and they’re going to kill everyone. [Laughs].
1428 Elm: What is the easiest way for people to watch the movie and Uncharted Territory?
Gerard Durling: You can get all of that and every death match through IWTV. We live stream every week. It’s $10 a month. IWTV is on Roku, Apple TV, and all of the typical apps that you’d find streaming networks on.
1428 Elm: Anything else you want to add or mention?
Gerard Durling: We touched on it already, but I’m looking at what we did to this point. Our hope with The Death Of is to utilize that to shop around the idea of doing this on a bigger scale. I think we proved what we can do in just a day. If we had more time and a bigger budget, imagine what we can do with Krule. Krule will probably start going to some horror movie conventions and start meeting the horror movie world. We want to see what we can get away with in terms of what kind of shows he can put on for people while there. He’s a crazy person. We made this to introduce him to this world. We want people to know who he is. What he’s doing in our space is horrifying, and he deserves to get outside of this space and do something bigger.
1428 Elm: Thank you so much for chatting with us, Gerard! We’ll keep an eye out for more of Krule.