Doctor Mordrid (1992)

Charles Band, though known for his b-movies and having about the same attitude toward cinema as Roger Corman and other famous exploitation producers and directors, has always had some ambition.  That ambition often outweighs budget or the talent, either his own or those who make the movies for him, but he tries.  In this case he wanted to bring the Marvel character Doctor Strange to the big screen. 

For a time, he and Full Moon had the rights to the property, which had previously been made into a television movie back in 1978.  He wanted to update it for the 1990s and, at least initially, he wanted to do it right.  That meant a good story, sets and effects, beyond what many of his films normally featured.  This took time and, in this case, too much time, as the rights expired before his movie could be made.  However, there was still the script sitting around and, not one to waste an opportunity, he enlisted his father Albert Band to co-direct Doctor Mordrid

Doctor Anton Mordrid (Jeffrey Combs) has been tasked by an entity called the Monitor to protect Earth and the human race.  The reason we need protecting is because his brother Kabal (Brian Thompson) intends to use his powers to turn our planet into a hellscape, for no other reason than he can and he wants to.  After escaping from prison he enters our realm and begins gathering elements needed for alchemical spell in order to release his demon allies from bondage.

Mordrid, constantly monitoring what happens on Earth, becomes aware the prophecy of Kabal's return is coming true.  At this point his neighbor Samantha Hunt (Yvette Nipar), a consultant for the NYPD, begins to get curious about him.  When he is arrested for a murder committed by Kabal she assists in his escape, keeping guard on him while he works to put his brother back in his place. 

It is obvious that C. Courtney Joyner's script, based on Charles Band's outline, was still in a rudimentary stage when production began.  Doctor Mordrid is rather short and not quite the epic that Band envisioned for his Doctor Strange movie.  It is also nowhere near the budget he planned, although he does the best with what he has.  What excited me when I rented this back in 1992 was the stop motion battle in the Metropolitan Museum between the skeletons of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and wooly mammoth.  David Allen, as usual, manages some stop motion work and visual effects that make the film look like it had a bigger budget than it did. 

Jeffrey Combs isn't as manic in this as, for once, he gets to play a good guy.  Yvette Nipar is a strong sidekick to Mordrid, while Brian Thompson is always perfect for roles as a heavy.  Keith Coulouris overacts into hilarity as Adrien, one of Kabal's earthbound henchmen. 

In the end it's not as much of a mess as it could have been.  It really doesn't have time to be and, to be honest, it is questionable if Band and his studio could have pulled off a full-blown Doctor Strange film.  It would have been interesting to see, and probably much better than Corman's attempt at the Fantastic Four, but we still got a great piece of entertainment from him and from Combs.  It is just too bad that this didn't get a sequel while many lesser Full Moon releases are still churning them out. 

Doctor Mordrid (1992)
Time: 74 minutes
Starring: Jeffrey Combs, Yvette Nipar, Brian Thompson
Directors: Albert Band, Charles Band



  1. That was part of the most recent season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 so I've seen it a couple of times. It really isn't that bad but just needed some more money and a fully licensed story for it to really work. Definitely better than the Puppet Master, Demonic Toys, or Dollman franchises. Though I would say not as good as the Oblivion movies, which I really enjoy. I also mostly enjoyed the Robocop series that Yvette Nipar was in as Robocop's new partner. Again it's not great quality television but for a Canadian production in the mid-90s the effects and acting aren't really that bad.


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