Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mind Ripper/The Outpost (1995)

There are films that need only to be seen as a trailer, and Mind Ripper is one of them. Watch the preview and you might not know how the film ends—although, in truth, you surely do—but you will not only have seen all the second-long scenes that are worth seeing, but you will also have enjoyed them with double the suspense and tension that the film itself displays in its entire 97 minutes. OK, maybe you might see a little less gore—actually, a lot less gore—but, you know, sometimes even gore can't save a movie. (And the little nudity that the flick has isn't even worth watching, serving as it does no purpose other than to set up a later film joke that is probably actually aimed more at the viewer than the character that is the butt of it in the film.)
Like, why did this sucker ever get made? Oh, of course: so that Giovanni Ribisi could finally have his first film role. No? Well, at least the advertisement-happy website Arrow in the Head reveals to us why Lance Henrickson took part in this piece of celluloid shit, for they quote him as having said "All I remember was wanting to get out of there. My bags were packed and I was ready to go home every day. It was horrible. I never even saw the finished film. It was one of those films that pays your alimony".
Indeed, it is one of those films you never want to pop in your DVD player, for life is much too short to be wasted on a piece of shit like Mind Ripper. Perhaps in another ten years it might get that patina of age that makes somewhat similar (but slightly older) abortions like Creepazoids (1987/Trailer) entertaining, but laughably crappy films like DeCockteau's low budget pictorial expectorate at least have the initial advantageous disadvantage of a much lower budget.
Supposedly this flick was written by Wes Craven’s son Jonathan Craven, which would explain the “Wes Craven Presents” banner that graces this abomination. But if this piece of shit was really written by the same dude that supposedly wrote the 2007 The Hills Have Eyes II (Trailer), the guy learned a lot about characterization, tension, continuity—everything—during the 12 years between the two flicks, for T.H.H.E.II is Shakespearean in comparison to this piece of fertilizer.
Actually, it is claimed that Mind Ripper was originally set to be the second sequel to the original The Hills Have Eyes (1977), but there seems little to connect the films other than a desert location and the fact that Mind Ripper is as lousy as the original sequel (The Hills Have Eyes Part II, 1985/Trailer). That aside, the film is mistitled: the mutant of the flick doesn’t rip minds, he simply eats brains.
Let's see: a bunch of scientists working on a secret project in an old nuclear bunker discover the mangled body of a guy at the bottom of a cliff and promptly use him as a guinea pig for the serum they are developing. (This, by the way, is the most believable aspect of the entire film.) By the time the project starts going haywire six months later, the good guy Dr Stockton (Lance Henricksen) has long left the project due to moral qualms. Called by his colleagues ‘cause the human guinea pig seems to be dying, he shows up with his son Scott (Ribisi) and daughter Wendy (Natasha Gregson Wagner, who actually wears more than in the photo shown here) and her boyfriend Mark (Adam Solomon); this overly contrived aspect of the plot serves no purpose other than to pad the film and bring in more possible victims as all of the scientists except for the sexy, Amazonian Joanne (Claire Stansfield) die almost as soon as Thor (Dan Blom) wakes up from his coma as an unstoppable brain-eating, muscle-bound killer mutant. (Of all the possible fodder that show up, guess who's the only one to die.) Thor has this cool claw-tipped cat prick (like the one Marilyn Chambers has come out of her arm in Rabid (1977/Trailer), but since he’s a man it's waaaay bigger) that he can extend from his throat, and he uses it to lunch on brains. The rest of the film is spent running around the dark bunker passageways and trying to kill the unstoppable Thor... sort of—no, totally—like Alien (1979/Trailer), but underground instead of in space. The flick does enjoy one totally out-of-place but effectively shocking dream sequence and (as mentioned before) some nice gore, but all together it is not enough to make the film any good. The ending picks up a bit, for the moment they finally get out of the bunker Mind Ripper turns into a comedy. The three-odd minutes needed to drive the VW bus (with Thor on its roof) the ten yards to the airplane is hilarious, as are the remaining last three-odd minutes of the film. But the comedy, like the gore preceding it, ain't enough to save this cinematic piece of poo-poo. Aviod at all costs.

No comments: