Mind Ripper
Dir: Joe Gayton
Star: Lance Henriksen, John Diehl, Natasha Wagner, Dan Blom
Cert / Year: 18 - R / 1995
Format: DVD R2

The smashed and battered body of a suicidal surfer type is found at the bottom of a remote and secluded quarry, which coincidentally houses a top secret laboratory. The body is taken into the lab where the virtually dead young man is infected with a new type of virus, which will permit his body to regenerate almost indefinately. After the military stick their oar in and use the project as a means to create a "super-soldier" Dr Stockton ( Lance Henriksen), the scientist in charge resigns. Upon his departure his former colleagues tamper with the project and watch the body of T.H.O.R (Transmuted Humanoid ORganism) mutate before he promptly kills some scientists and starts to run amok in the underground bunker. The only person capable of stopping the THOR is of course Dr. Stockton.... who just so happens to bring his typically disfunctional family along with him......

You would imagine that being the son of Wes Craven, would mean that Jonathon Craven would display a modicum or at least a shadow of his father's talent. Unfortunately this is not the case and the story of Mind Ripper which was written by Jonathon Craven and Phil Mittleman is nothing more than a series of derived concepts from better films that hasbeen cheaply and poorly jumbled together in this format.

The film has the obligatory shower scene within the first five minutes, Genetic experiment conducted by a team of "maverick" scientists in a secluded and disused nuclear bunker for the purpose of creating a "super soldier" on behalf of the military... but aren't they always? Naturally of course the experiment goes awry and the scientists conducting the experiment are ill equipped to resolve the problem, thus they turn to former colleague (who of course resigned from the project months previously after he discovered the real purpose of the experiments), for help. Unfortunately the supposed super soldier is adrenaline fuelled and has developed in true zombie-esque fashion a taste for ... brain. Brain incidentally is one thing that you won't require to watch this film. Predictably Henriksen travels to the bunker to see what he can do. This is where things take a rather silly turn and he takes his son, daughter and her "boyfriend" to the secret military bunker, which obviously won't be a secret for long now. Admittedly, by this point in the film you don't particuarly care as you just hope that it will get better.

Natasha Wagner looks more like she is auditioning for a job as a "Cheeky Girl" as her rather skimpy shorts strain to accomodate her, but she offers the "eye candy" factor for the boys despite a decidedly vaccuous performance. Lance Henriksen is his typical lucid self and basically the only reason to watch the film in the first place. His is the best performance of a generally third rate and mediocre cast. The film is populated by some terribly undeveloped characters but to be honest you're not likely to care either. A screechy and dull performance by Dan Blom as the "Ripper" and the only real explanation of his being cast has to be that he is the "eye candy" factor for the girls.

The direction by Joe Gayton is derivative, bland and unimpressive. Just like the script then. One or two brief flashes of good direction are slightly overshadowed by the fact that they are ripped off from other films, primarily Alien and don't gel with the remaining tedium. This is yet another cautionary tale of genetic manipulation for the perfect soldier / weapon, which you have to admit is becoming a rather tired concept nowadays. Henriksen manages to dissappear half way through the film presumed dead but thankfully returns but that only serves to demean the film a bit more. THOR the "Mind Ripper" wails and howls like a banshee but isn't particuarly scary or frightening at all. A bald bloke with yellow contact lenses and a cheap rubbery probiscus that protudes from his throat as his "weapon" just isn't scary unless of course you are frightened of bald men.

Mind Ripper has a couple of particuarly gruesome scenes, but nothing particuarly impressive. The film so wants to be so many other films that it feels like a bizarre homage to Alien. The soundtrack, courtesy of J. Peter Robinson is almost identical to Alien but it just doesn't work here. The film overrall is neither tense nor taut as it plays out in a woefully formulaic and occasionally tedious way.

The rather predictable ending leaves it open for a sequal, but just be thankful that they never made it. Mind Ripper is perhaps wishful thinking as Mind Numbing is far more appropriate. This really is rather a poor horror thriller indeed. It is quite bad and I am surprised that Wes Craven permitted his name to be associated with it.


Live in Horror. Die in Fear

Rating: 1 out of 5

Picture 4.3 Fullscreen Generally good quality fullscreen image
Audio Dolby 2.0 Stereo Not terrible but might have benefitted from 5.1
Features Rather dull semi animated menu
Theatrical trailer
Unimpressive photo gallery
Verdict A rather poor disc, which is inkeeping for a rather poor film. Fullscreen image and stereo soundtrack which is not a good start. Being honest even if there was a special edition of this film I couldn't see myself investing in it.

Rating: 0 out of 5

Reviewed by Logan Back Top Home