The Film (1.5/5)
Fangoria Films seemed like an amazing idea when I first heard of the concept as a kid. America's Number 1 horror magazine getting into the production, and distribution of actual horror films I thought to myself,how could it possibly go wrong? Fangoria Magazine especially when I was younger was like my bible into horror in my early years as I was discovering the genre, and I figured their expertise combined with actual productions would prove to be a boon to horror.
I was very very wrong.
Early on Fangoria would attempt to produce films under the banner of Fangoria Films the first of these films would be the subject of this review Mindwarp, they would follow it up a year later with Children of the Night, and finally Severed Ties before scraping the production side, and going into hiatus for 3 years before coming back as a distribution company to put out worthy horror titles. The first of these was a terminally depressing, but at lease very interesting little twist on the zombie film called I, Zombie by the director Andrew Parkinson.
Mindwarp, however, would be the first film from Fangoria, and from the outside looking in it looked at least decent, aside from the Fango seal of approval the film starred Fangoria Fan Favorites Bruce Campbell of Evil Dead and Maniac Cop fame, and Angus Scrimm known to readers from the Phantasm cycle of films. The film looked to be a interesting blend of sci-fi and horror. It also appeared to be loaded up with some nice gory set-pieces that were sure to please the magazines readers, and yet the film never fully comes together.
The film stars Marta Alicia as Judy, a woman who lives in the year 2037 inside a colony of forced dreamers. These people are the lucky individuals who post-apocalypse get to hold up in a specially designed facility, plugged in Matrix-style, and spend their lives in an almost permanent dream state. However, she is discontent with her existence, and makes it known to the operator in the virtual world. One morning, her Mother re-enters the dream state, ignoring her attempts at a real world conversation. This frustrates Judy, and sends her back into the virtual world as well. However, Judy has the mental ability to cross into other people's dreams, and when she enters her Mothers dream she ends up killing her in the dream, and in reality.
She is found immediately guilty of the murder, and sent into the outside world that is filled mostly with radiation exposed humans called Crawlers, and a few humans who were able to thrive outside in spite of the radiation. One of them is Stover (Bruce Campbell), and he will pair up with Judy to help guide her through this post-apocalyptic world. Unfortunately, for the the pair they will soon find themselves kidnapped by the Crawlers, and forced to fight for their survival in their underground world.
The film at 91 minutes is a reasonable length of time for a horror feature, and yet still feels overlong by the time it's all over. The film begins inside the Inworld, where Judy gets into the situation where she accidentally kills her Mother, and is forced into the outside. It felt like Barnett was going for some kinda of 2001-Solaris ambiance during this sequence by slowing things down, and making everything take it's time, but in the end it drags the movie down to a crawl when it should be getting you interested. .
I have always said that even a bad film could be saved by a decent performance. I have even used Bruce Campbell in the past as an example of a performer who could bring such charisma to a film that he could turn the bad to something at least watchable at least during the moments he is on screen. Unfortunately, not even Bruce Campbell can turn this film around. The film finally seems to come together in the third act with some pretty decent story beats, but it is a little too late to make up for all that happened before.
The film has an interesting, albeit, cliched premise, some nice ideas, and even some cool visual flourishes. It just seems to be bogged down by a film that can never decide which direction it wants to go in. Overall, you get some pretty cool violent set pieces, Bruce Campbell and Angus Scrimm, and some pretty cool ideas, that may suffer in execution are at least worth a watch.
Twilight Time's AVC encoded 1080p 1:85:1 transfer is absolutely a mixed bag with the early Inworld moments fairing quite well, while the later exterior pieces, and "Crawler" studio sets fairing much less well in comparison. The infinisynth imagery, and films earlier moments during Inworld are nicely detailed with fine color reproduction. The latter stuff looks fine, but is much softer and grainier than what came before, and looks much more "soap opera" in comparison.
We have a solid DTS-HD Master Audio track in English. The dialogue comes through nice, and clear as do the FX and score. I did not detect any issues with pops, cracks, or hissing. Overall a decent track.
We get the usual Twilight Time isolated score for the film, a TV spot, and a booklet of Julie Kirgo liner notes. You know what would have been awesome ?ANYTHING with Bruce Campbell.
Mindwarp is a film that has a lot of interesting ideas running through it, it has a few moments of really great imagery, but overall fails to come together as a cohesive whole. The A/V restoration from Twilight Time I have to believe does it's best with what I have to believe was very limited source material to begin with, but still comes up a bit short. The extras are limited to a TV spot in addition to the Twilight Time standards. NOT RECOMMENDED.