Twilight Time / 1992 / 91 mins / R
Back in the early 1990's, when video rental stores were in their heyday, Fangoria Magazine (the heir to Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine's title of the first and last word in horror movies) created a direct-to-video label called Fangoria Films. The goal was to make low budget features targeted directly at the magazine's fanbase with lots of gore, creatures and superstars of the genre. MINDWARP was their first endeavor and it boasted a then cutting edge premise of virtual reality and not one but two legitimate Big Names in the world of horror: Angus Scrimm (The Tall Man from the PHANTASM films) and Bruce Campbell (Ash from the EVIL DEAD series and horror fan god.) Considering how impressive MINDWARP turned out, it's a miracle Fangoria Films managed to make two more movies (including the excellent CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT) before closing up shop.
MINDWARP is a horribly written, produced and directed conglomeration of half-baked ideas stolen from THE MATRIX, TOTAL RECALL, the MAD MAX series and THE TIME MACHINE. In the year 2037, the ozone layer has long been stripped away and our planet is literally a toxic wasteland. Mankind has devolved into three basic types: on the top are "the dreamers" (humans that have sealed themselves in a biosphere and live their lives plugged into the Infinisynth computer system, living out whatever fantasy they wish), the mid-grade humans are "the outworlders" (you average Joe, or Bruce, that didn't go to a biosphere and are trying to survive in a very hostile world) and the unlucky humans known as "Crawlers" (mutated cannibal creatures, sort of like a cross between a CHUD and a Morlock.)
Our story follows Judy (Marta Alicia), a dreamer who wants to unplug from the Rekall, er, Infinisynth system and have real life experiences and also maybe find out what happened to her father who disappeared years ago. For breaking her routine, the System Operator from Infinisynth banishes her to the outer world where she meets Mad Max, er, Stover (Bruce Campbell). Before you can say "what a cute couple," the two are kidnapped by Crawlers and taken to the world below where Stover is forced to dig up garbage and Judy is taken before the Seer (Angus Scrimm), the lord of the Crawlers.
Campbell, Scrimm and Alicia give it their all but MINDWARP is so poorly written, directed and, well... everything that it is near impossible to suspend disbelief and see this as anything other than actors playing in cold and muddy sets. The irony of this film is that the very people it was made for are the very people that will immediately see right through its shortcomings. The non-horror/science fiction fan will probably be either too confused or bored by it. So MINDWARP is really a lose/lose situation.
The one thing that isn't a complete disaster is Twilight Time's presentation. The anamorphic 1.85 transfer blows the original overly dark VHS picture out of the water. Colors pop with great gusto and detail (even fine and shadow detail) is seriously impressive.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 soundtrack, on the other hand, is about as good as it can get. MINDWARP never sounded good from the get go; sound effects sounded weak, explosions had no punch and the score was poorly mixed but none of these are Twilight Time's fault, the problems lie with the original sound mix. As I said, this is very likely the best MINDWARP has ever or will ever sound.
Mark Governor's score is presented on an isolated DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track and actually sounds far better here than it does in the movie proper.
A "TV Spot" is actually a promo for video rental stores that offers a savings of $40 if you buy two VHS copies!
Unless you are a die-hard (and I mean DIE-HARD) fan of Angus Scrimm or The Bruce, there is no reason to waste time on MINDWARP.
** MINDWARP is available exclusively via www.screenarchives.com... an excellent soundtrack and film specialty site **