I saw ‘Mindwarp’ for the first time, by accident last year on the Horror Channel. They advertised it as Dario Argento’s ‘Opera’, but this came on instead for some reason, so I decided to watch it anyway. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic land, Inworld. Everyone there is hooked into Infinisynth’s computer generated fantasies, in which they spend most of their time. Most people are happy to live this way, going ‘offline’ only to eat and use the bathroom, but a young woman, Judy (Marta Alicia), becomes increasingly frustrated by this way of life and tries to keep herself offline as much as possible.
Judy then has a meeting with the Systems Operator (Angus Scrimm; ‘Phantasm’, ‘I Sell the Dead’), who apparently controls the whole of Infinisynth through tubes in his brain and lasers from his ass. Following that, she’s taken offline permanently and left to fend for herself in Outworld, which is populated by mutated cannibals…and Stover (Bruce Campbell; ‘Evil Dead’, ‘Bubba Ho-Tep’)! Will she be able to escape this Hellish world? Will she and Stover get back to Inworld? Who is her father and will she ever find him? Does anyone even care? Well, if you don’t, then you certainly won’t enjoy this movie because that’s the plot.
I actually liked the concept of the film and, considering it was released 8 years before movies like ‘The Matrix’ and before the internet had become what it is today, it was an interesting twist on the usual ‘world in the aftermath of nuclear war’ and ‘the world living in a false reality’ movies. That being said, most of ‘Mindwarp’ is set in Outworld, which means it’s predominantly a sci-fi horror about mutants and cannibals, garnished with a healthy dose of gore and overdone special effects make-up, rather than anything else.
The acting from Angus Scrimm and Bruce Campbell was pretty good and I felt that they were very well suited to their respective villain and hero roles in Outworld. Scrimm is always a great bad guy, so for me that made the whole thing much more enjoyable. Campbell did have some silly moments (as usual), but generally he gave a sound performance. Marta Alicia was also fairly decent as Judy, though her dialogues were a little stilted and whiny in places, but that was appropriate to Judy’s character I think. However, I can’t say any of the other actors were much good, and the stupid, verging on comical, epic music didn't help them much either.
Unfortunately, as with so many movies, the ending was somewhat disappointing.
(There are some spoilers below, so don’t read on if you want to see it for yourself first.)
In what seemed a rushed and poorly thought out attempt to drag Infinisynth back into the plot, it turns out that everything Judy experienced was an elaborate hoax and she’d actually been online dreaming the whole time. Now, that sounds annoying but okay, until it’s revealed that the Systems Operator is actually her missing father who wants her to take over from him and sit in that chair with the brain tubes, shooting lasers out of her ass instead. So, now apparently Judy doesn’t have a problem with the world living through virtual reality anymore, because she’s now got god-like powers and has seen how bad things are without a Systems Operator. Except, none of it was actually real, right? Hmm…
Overall, ‘Mindwarp’ was pretty fun to watch and although it’s nowhere near as good as ‘Opera’, I didn’t mind watching it. Could it have been better? Absolutely! But it’s definitely worth seeing once and if you like strange B Movies with Angus Scrimm and Bruce Campbell in, you’ll probably love this one!