Blu-ray Review: Mindwarp - Twilight Time Limited Edition

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I love seeing what obscurities the boutique label Twilight Time will dig up as they expand their limited edition Blu-ray catalog. Whether it’s a vintage thriller like Blake Edwards’ 1962 Experiment in Terror or a more recent gem like Jonathan Glazer’s Sexy Beast from 2000, their selections are usually interesting. Such is the case with their recent unearthing of the Fangoria Films production Mindwarp, originally released in 1992. This is one seriously nasty, twisted little horror/sci-fi flick.

This one is a cult favorite that appeals to an admittedly limited audience. Seeing as it co-stars Bruce Campbell and Angus Schrimm, it’s bound to pique the interest of fans of their signature franchises (The Evil Dead and Phantasm, respectively). It also explores the same basic concept that would be more fully realized by The Matrix a few years later. The year is 2037 and Earth has become a wasteland. Inworlders, also known as “Dreamers,” live their lives literally plugged into a virtual reality generator run by the Infinisynth Corporation. They dream their lives away, while occasionally removing the port from their neck to ingest green, gelatinous (and presumably nutritious) goo.

Mindwarp booklet cover (191x225).jpgSo far, so good, but we haven’t yet met the Outworlders, many of whom are also known as “Crawlers.” When one overly curious Dreamer, Judy (veteran TV journeywoman Marta Martin), is cast out into the harsh, post-apocalyptic real world, the Crawlers converge. They’re cannibals, so Judy’s fate seems sealed once they’ve got her. Enter Stover (Campbell), one of the few remaining normal humans. He attempts a rescue, but the head Crawler in charge, the Seer (Scrimm), has a very personal interest in recapturing Judy.

Those with a taste for imaginatively grotesque, old school make-up effects and a high tolerance for schlock will likely enjoy Mindwarp. Most of it takes place in the nightmarish Outworld, with director Steve Barnett effectively maintaining the queasy, surreal atmosphere. People meet their death via a chute that leads to an industrial meat grinder, incest emerges as a primary theme, and it all leads to a reality-twisting conclusion. A bigger budget and better writing might’ve made it all truly memorable. As it is, Mindwarp is a bizarre experiment that never quite comes together. Fangoria Films wound up producing only two more films before closing shop.

Mindwarp cover (173x225).jpgFans should know that Mindwarp now looks better than they likely ever thought it would. The 1080p transfer is free of problems, crisply presenting Peter Fernberger’s deliberately drab, muted cinematography. Having never seen the film previously, I can’t comment on how it stacks up to previous home video releases. But this is a handsome presentation of a very ugly movie. The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo track is rock solid as well.

Julie Kirgo’s always informative liner notes make the booklet worth reading. The only special feature is an isolated track of Mark Governor’s score. But with a forgotten, seldom-seen B-movie like Mindwarp, having it on Blu-ray at all is special enough. For ordering information (and keep in mind there were only 3,000 copies pressed), visit Screen Archives.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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