Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Mindwarp

WARNING: Spoiler Alert...everyone dies...but in very creative ways.

My digital cable company has free movies, which is great, because I'm cheap. There is, however, an old saying 'you get what you pay for.' Yeah. Well I paid with an hour and a half of my life that I can never get back. It was entertaining in that Elliot and I added our own commentary and snickered between ourselves at personal jokes that we found far more amusing and entertaining than the film itself. Then, some people may argue that is all B-Horror movies are good for, self amusement.

Mindwarp has a fascinating concept behind it. A young rebel is exiled from an alternate-reality world fed directly into people's brains to give them a different reality from the one that exists outside, a world with uninhabitable conditions and no sky, because humans destroyed it with war. Overseeing this virtual reality is the 'System Operator' who oversees every thought, every reality, every life within The Matrix--

Oops...I didn't mean to use that word.

Actually...I kinda did. The truth is that even the tagline of this film recalls the premise of The Matrix. "In the future, life will be a dream, and reality a nightmare." The Wachowski Bros beckoned us with "Welcome to the Real World."

The Matrix was made nearly ten years after Mindwarp, which leads me to think that the Wachowski Bros may have been cult-followers of Bruce Campbell or Angus Scrimm and saw potential in this horribly uneven sci-fi/horror film. With the exception of the trite script and the atrocious acting (mostly on the part of the female lead...ok, really just about everyone sucked) the core concept of the story was rather interesting.

Amusingly cast with Marta Alicia- don't worry if you don't know her...there is a reason why- Judy Apple is a restless young woman living in a sterile room with her mother. She isn't content to "Dream" in the virtual reality system called "Infinisynth," which is apparently run on an early '80s Dos system sometime after 2037. We are led to believe she is a bad-ass chick because she does push-ups and situps like some prison inmate waiting out a decade long sentence. She sustains on green goop that looks like paint-dyed oatmeal, and despises the Infinisynth system because "its not REAL." Her defiance of the system leads to her being "exiled" which involves to men in ski masks jumping her, stuffing her in a white body bag and injecting her with ambiguous-but ominous yellow stuff.

She awakes in a cold, dead, desert world at the base of a crucified skeleton in a wedding dress. Judy wanders looking for signs of life and falls into a sinkhole of quicksand. Marta Alicia's acting talents, at this point are barely being tested as she merely stands and sinks holding her hands up and screaming "Help! Someone help me!!" The scene is reminiscent of the old silent capers when the useless--er, I mean HELPLESS female stands loosely tied to a pole in ropes she could probably step out of. She's spied by two mutant men on a tractor (yes...a tractor. It's after the apocolypse...the Jaguars were incinerated) and by a mysterious man covered in fur but for all intents looked like one of the Sandpeople on Tatooine in Star Wars.

The Sandman is, of course, Bruce Campbell come to rescue the damsel from the ugly, cannibal mutants of the creatively dubbed "Dead lands." He comes not with a shotgun, or a mechanically attached chainsaw prosthetic, but with a crossbow which from a distance works great. Once he's left to battle one of them up close, however, he fishes in an iced over puddle and miraculously finds a serrated bad-ass sword...or a very conveniently placed swordfish skeleton. Either way he manages to save the useless-- er, helpless Judy. The mystery man is Stover, the last of his kind to survive on the surface under the 'burnt sky' having lost his family, and notably his wife, who just happened to be the crucified skeleton in a wedding dress. He wastes no time putting the moves on her and after one small skirmish with the mutant "Crawlers" Judy already whines that if she could go back to Infinisynth, she would. Hardly the bad-ass chick that a main character should be in an action film. Hell, Ellen Ripley faced down a space ship full of acid-blood man-eating-parasitic aliens and didn't whine until the end and by then, i think she fucking earned it.

A short passage of time is shown, but its vague so it could have been a day or a month, and "finally" Stover and Judy get it on a mere five minutes into their on screen meeting. I was so relieved, I mean...I was starting to think that Stover would NEVER get the girl cus Bad-asses like Judy don't need men. So with that issue resolved and all of us breathing easier with all that sexual tension....the Crawlers attack them while they're still in bed naked!! But don't worry, they get their clothes on in a miraculously fast blink of an eye- cut of the camera- whatever ...

What follows is an A-typical Sci-fi hostage situation. The healthy, fertile female is thrown into a makeshift infirmary to be properly prepped by the aging, now useless and bitter menopausal woman while Stover is thrown into the pits to work with the lowly Crawlers, digging for salvageable trash. Post-apocolyse, remember...they are so post-apocolyptic they don't even have shovels! He has to dig with a pipe, which you are not allowed to even think could be used as a weapon....because he has to find that baseball bat later which is far more effective than the lead pipe or the machete the other guy drops...

Shut up and roll with it. It's Bruce Campbell. He can use a baseball bat if he wants!

While Stover engages in a lot of unnecesary violence, since the Crawlers are pretty dim witted and he can easily duck and dodge them...but its a horror movie too so we need to have the blood spurting and the guts flying and the unexplained Crawler hanging from the ceiling and spurting slugs or leeches or worm entrails...he does that instead. Judy, however, seems to have passed into a long lost episode of Star Trek. Her evil female overseer is Cornelia, played by Elizabeth kent (again..no need to look for her elsewhere) and a soon to be doomed girl-child Claude (Wendy Sandow...never to be seen again...). She tries to lure little Claude into thinking she has some God-like ability to save her from despair because she's "a Dreamer from Infinisynth and you must let me go!" A compelling argument to be sure. Cornelia, however, doesn't buy it and taunts Judy with plans of putting her in "The Hatchery" which to any woman sounds pretty damn unpleasant especially when the only males to be seen are Crawlers.

Cornelia's acting and costume seem to come straight from one of the many Human-with-a-different-species-name alien planets from Cpt. kirk's days. In fact, she almost looks like a failed I Dream of Genie audition. Thankfully her role requires less range than Judy's and Elizabeth only delivers to us Overacted Spite and Underacted Mourning. Meanwhile Marta continues to deliver watered down fear with a sprinkle of 'sneezed-at Bad-ass' and bad-porn moans of discomfort. She does, though, look tantalizing in her white sport bra and panties collared and shackled in a suspended chair whose purpose was never explained outside of inciting frighteningly erotic and grotesque images of kinky Crawler sex. But hey, if Cpt. Kirk were there, he'd have tapped that ass.

Through a series of absurdly convenient events and anti-climactic battling, Judy and Stover end up in the Temple with all the Crawlers and their Priest figure "The Seer," played by Angus Scrimm. Angus, as you may recall was The Tall Man in the Phantasm series of horror movies. I can only imagine he was desperate for money or owed a favor to end up in this film, not to say that the rest of his career has been spectacular...after all...Bruce Campbell was in this too. The Seer spouts religious rhetoric about The Dreamers and likening it to heaven, then takes out Claude's eye with his long metal skeleton fingers and trows her down a shoot into what is, in effect, a giant improvised meat-grinder. Her blood flows out through a series of tubes into a water fount and into a bath tub as if she'd been juiced in a giant Cuisinart made of car parts. All the Crawlers partake of her blood (in skulls of course) and Cornelia forces Judy to drink too.

The Seer is revealed to be Judy's father- DUH DUH DUUUUN...which she should have figured out the second he started talking but has to wait for his human skin hood to come off first. Then Daddy reveals his evil plan!! Judy will bear his PURE BLOODED CHILDREN! Because an apocalypse, computer-induced reality, mutants, and a child in a meat grinder weren't enough....we need INCEST TOO!

Of course we do. Don't be silly.

And just to prove how serious he is, Daddy orders that Stover be "Calmed down" and put back to work. "Calmed Down" apparently means locked in an underwater cage in which leech-like fish can infest Stover's body. The males burrow into his brain and inject his nervous system with toxins that "feel like being tickled from the inside" and the females infest his body with their eggs. When the larva are hatched they eat his insides to get out and he's dead. So Bruce isn't going to save the day in this one. After a few repetitive scenes of Daddy chasing Judy and telling her how perfect their children would be and that she MUST see things his way, Judy gets Stover out of the cage and pries the female egg-layers off his skin...the males are, alas, still in his brain. Daddy gets pissed with Judy and says if she won't see it his way then she'll "see everything" meaning, he isn't going to take her eyes out before he throws her in the meat grinder. Then he throws her in the meat grinder.

Judy, of course, manages to catch herself-- oh, wait no....that would make her bad ass....oh that's right....her bomber jacket catches on the edge of the shoot and manages to hold her weight above the grinder. Then Stover arrives to save her!! Yay for predictability!! He hits one guy with the baseball bat and, of course, all the other Crawlers can see what an ass-kicking machine he is and back off. Then Stover takes on Daddy. He loses the bat. It lands by Judy's feet. She kicks it up. Catches it. Then wedges it.....in the meat grinder.....and stops the blade.

Yay for implausibility!!

So...I don't want to ruin it for you, but Angus gets the grind. Yes, the meat grinder that can't devour a wooden baseball bat juices up Daddy at which point, Stover decides it's a good idea for he and Judy to rule the Crawlers and he makes her drink her dad's blood.

No wait. It gets better.

As she beats him off and runs, Bruce looks up in classic wild-eyed Bruce fashion and calls "Judy, you don't understand...I love you!"

Judy escapes to the Dead Lands determined to get back to "In-World" and her Infinisynth Matrix--er...yeah....and Stover chases her madly, pleading for her to come back. He catches her, and......

Dramatic pause....

He pukes leeches and slugs and intestinal looking things all over her. It is, quite possibly, the best part of the ENTIRE fucking movie. So worth sitting through an hour and twenty minutes of horrible acting to watch Marta Alicia take a face full of viscera. Its probably the most genuine expression she makes in the entire film. And Stover has such a classic line just then. You must watch it for that. If you continue past this point...you will be shocked and appalled at the complete Twist at the end. Its so....shocking. I was shocked. Truly. Yay for bad writing.

8 comments:

ElphieWitch said...

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA!

I love you :D

Kahl said...

I simply could not let this one go by unreviewed. To be honest. If I had the time and energy to do another Stitched mag....this would definitely be my next Eiger Rating.

Let's see, the puking scene is about 2 minutes long. So that'd make it a 2/90...only two minutes REALLY worth watching. :D

Candy Man said...

I saw this at a friends house at 2 in the morning, I don't know what was going on but Bruce was in it so I didn't care. Anyways, it was the best comedy I'd seen in years. That's my review. ;)

There should be a tv show that is the opposite of ebert and roeper. All the movies have to suck horribly and if no one dies then it can't be reviewed. I'd call it "I Lost My Foot At The Movies". :D

Kahl said...

ROFL Sounds like something I'd watch. :D

But then...I watch Robot Chicken and Aqua Teen Hunger Force so...there you have it.

Candy Man said...

Have you seen the ATHF movie, the first 20 minuted had me laughing till I cried, but after that it kinda dragged on and on. It's better just to watch the episodes, cause 80 minutes of ATHF justs hurts.

Kahl said...

Nah, didn't see the movie yet. There are somethings, though I may like them, I refuse to pay $10 to see. I'll wait until its on TV for free. :p Or a friends pays for it. LOL

I should make a top 10 list of movies I am pissed I paid for...so no one else does.

#1. Ultraviolet
#2. Ultraviole-- oh....

Candy Man said...

It's nice to get half off on all movies! :D
I can't believe you saw Ultraviolet in the theatre! *throws up*

Kahl said...

Yes...I made the fool mistake of thinking, "Hmm. Milla kicked ass in Fifth Element. How bad could this be??"

Oh the pain....