In his 2011 action movie Hobo with a Shotgun, director Jason Eisener depicted a hyper-violent imaginary universe. Now, the filmmaker is detailing a — mostly — more real-life world of mayhem with the six-episode professional wrestling docuseries Dark Side of the Ring, which premieres April 10 on Viceland. Made in collaboration with producer, and fellow wrestling fan, Evan Husney, the series details some of the wrestling world’s more troubling tales while also, in Eisener’s words, “honoring the lives and sacrifices” of the performer-athletes involved.
“As a kid, I grew up watching wrestling,” says Eisener. “I was a huge fan of Hulk Hogan, and The Undertaker, and Jake ‘the Snake’ Roberts. About eight years ago I started looking at wrestling again, and I started reading these stories from behind the scenes that were just so insane and larger than life. Me and my producing partner, Evan, our love of wrestling has probably what has made us best friends. We thought, man, it would be so great to one day be able to examine the desperate lengths that these wrestlers went to, to protect the mystique of wrestling. That’s what I found so fascinating. I can’t think of any other art form in the world where the performer has to live their character into their everyday public life.”
Dark Side of the Ring includes episodes about the tragic history of the Von Erich wrestling dynasty and the mysterious death of Frank Goodish (a.k.a. “Bruiser Brody”) who died as a result of stab wounds he received when preparing for a fight in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
“It kind of went unreported,” Eisener says of Goodish’s death. “So, we dug into it. To think that he was taken away from the wrestling world and it kind of went unheard was really tragic. We became so close to it, and found ourselves being obsessed with every detail we could find about Bruiser Brody, and what happened in that locker room when he was killed.”
Eisener reveals he has plenty more dark tales to tell should season 1 prove a success.
“The first stories that we thought of we didn’t even get them in this first season,” says the director. “It’s definitely a series that could continue on and on. There’s plenty more stories to dive into.”
Exclusively watch the trailer for Dark Side of the Ring, above.