CUFF DOCS 2020: ‘The Last Villains – Mad Dog and The Butcher’

Posted in CUFF Docs 2020, Festival Coverage by - November 24, 2020
CUFF DOCS 2020: ‘The Last Villains – Mad Dog and The Butcher’

When wrestling fans think of Canadian families in the business, they inevitably begin with the iconic Hart family, mainly due to sons Bret and Owen and their extended runs near the top of the card in the old WWF (now WWE). But before the Harts impacted the WWF’s audience, there was another Canadian patriarch that was in a WWF ring. That was veteran journeyman and legitimate crazy man Maurice “Mad Dog” Vachon. Growing up on a farm with a large family in rural Quebec near the American border, they had 11 siblings. Maurice and Paul “The Butcher” Vachon were sons to a hard nose Montreal police officer. Learning to defend himself with his fists from an early age, Maurice became the “Mad Dog” before even stepping in ring. And Paul followed his lead and became a wrestler shortly afterwards.

Director Thomas Rinfret flips between present day interviews with Paul, the only surviving Vachon family member who wrestled. He narrates passages from his own books “When Wrestling was Real Pts 1-3”. There is also vintage footage of the family to tell the story of the Vachon clan. Rinfret does a good job covering the majority of the bases on a family that, by now, for a lot of people, have been victims of time eroding their impact, showing us just how famous and beloved both Maurice and Paul were in their in ring days. There are also little gems and anecdotes that make The Last Villains so endearing.

The film also deals with other offspring of Paul’s that are very much estranged due to Paul’s many years of travel and general vagabond ways, but stays engaging throughout because of the character that is Paul himself.

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"Kirk Haviland is an entertainment industry veteran of over 20 years- starting very young in the exhibition/retail sector before moving into criticism, writing with many websites through the years and ultimately into festival work dealing in programming/presenting and acquisitions. He works tirelessly in the world of Canadian Independent Genre Film - but is also a keen viewer of cinema from all corners of the globe (with a big soft spot for Asian cinema!)
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