Mindwarp (1991)

Fangoria was pretty much the place to go to prior to the internet to find out what was going on in the world of horror.  It had behind-the-scenes photos, interviews, previews of upcoming movies and just about anything fans of horror films could want.  It is no surprise that at some point they decided that maybe they could try their hand at making movies themselves and formed a movie studio.

It's also not surprising that they only made three films. 

While all three movies had various horror luminaries playing roles there was only one movie that truly stood out, and that was Mindwarp.  The big selling point was they got both Bruce Campbell and Angus Scrimm.  While it was definitely not Ash vs. the Tall Man, and the two really didn't share much screen time, just seeing those names on a videotape box was enough to pique most fans' curiosity. 

In 2037 the surface of the Earth is supposedly unlivable due to both manmade and natural disasters.  Judy (Marta Martin) is one of the citizens living in a complex of spartan apartments who spend most of their time in a virtual reality program provided by a company called Infinisynth.  However, she is not satisfied, wishing to find out what lies beyond the walls of her small domain.  When she invades and corrupts the fantasies of her mother (Mary Becker) she is noticed by a systems administrator who gives here what she wants.  She is seized, drugged, and left buried on the surface.

The world is one of sand and ice, with dangerous levels of ultraviolet light due to the ozone layer being destroyed.  Stover (Campbell) is one of the few humans left, and even those who are truly human have various diseases and malformities.  The worst are the Crawlers, cannibals that live deep in old landfills and mine the items that are there.  After Stover rescues Judy from the Crawlers they develop a relationship as she learns how to survive in her new world, but that is destroyed when the Crawlers capture them both, putting Stover to work in the mine and intending Judy to serve for breeding.  She soon finds out that the Crawler society is run by a man called the Seer (Scrimm), who has special plans for her.

A big reason why Campbell and Scrimm are at the top of the box art rather than Martin, who is actually the lead in the film, is because they do what they are there for.  Campbell may not be as wacky as he is in the Evil Dead films, but he still puts his physical skills to good use in a number of fights against various enemies.  Scrimm isn't asked to imitate the Tall Man, thankfully, but he also enjoys chewing the scenery as the big, bad villain.  Unfortunately Martin is the weak link in it all, delivering most of her lines in squeaky up-talk and without a lot of emotion.  

It doesn't hurt the film much since it is the type of b-movie goodness one would expect being produced from a horror magazine.  KNB does the effects and makeup, and as always they do a great job of making any movie looking like it had twice the effects budget.  The costumes and set design, particularly in the landfill mines, are amazing.  Also, set free from any hope of getting a theatrical release, Mindwarp doesn't skimp on the blood.  

Despite the involvement of Bruce Campbell and Angus Scrimm Mindwarp remains an obscure title.  This is likely because Fangoria soon discovered it was a lot easier, and probably a lot more profitable, to talk about movies than to try and make and market them.  Still, it is one of the best films from the straight-to-video times of the 1990s, and has enough creativity and excitement to make it worth the time to check out. 

Mindwarp (1991)
Time: 91 minutes
Starring: Marta Martin, Bruce Campbell, Angus Scrimm
Director: Steve Barnett



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