Tuesday, September 27

Impressions and Captures of Tango Entertainment's rare Mind Ripper (1995) DVD

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An irritated Lance Henriksen semi-stars as an irritated father and scientist on the verge of a family vacation is instead called upon to calm a mishap at a top secret mountainside biological research outpost where he once worked. A human guinea pig has went on a rampage, killed some of the researchers, and is now loose somewhere in the facility. Naturally, he's not told of these details; so his daughter, her boyfriend, and slacker son (Giovanni Ribisi in his first feature role) tag along into unknown danger. After several failed attempts to contact those inside, Lance and familia unwittingly walk into the mutant's dark and dreary stalking ground.

Even if you haven't technically seen Mind Ripper (The Outpost), you've probably already been bored by something similar in the past. It's one of those lukewarm '90s sci-fi/horror programmers where most of the cast wear identical uniforms while running about in extremely dark and generic industrial sets in a trite predator/prey plot that all serve to keep the production's costs as low as possible.

It's been done better before and there's no real reason to grant a recommendation. Director Joe Gayton, who recently co-wrote the fun Dwayne Johnson vehicle Faster with his brother, simply points and shoots trying to mask blatant limitations. The "monster" amounts to some pissed buff dude brainsucker with slow transmutations who conveniently keeps his cranial feasting PG-13. Henriksen's brooding performance screams wanting to get the fuck outta there and Ribisi is merely passing time waiting to become a millionaire. Claire Stansfield fits the bill of a strong, unremarkable attractive lead actress that seems destined for television nicely. If you must, pair this one with the similar Legion (1998) or ditch both and seek out Bruno Mattei's ridiculous terminator rip-off run amok in a factory Shocking Dark (1990).

Even if you've seen Mind Ripper, you've probably never ran across Tango Entertainment's DVD. I never even knew this flick was released stateside on DVD before finding this disc over the weekend. After buying it simply because of that, it turned out this release appears to be out-of-print and quite scarce. Tango's intended full frame interlaced transfer is serviceable with no noticeable compression problems. In contrast, Anchor Bay's British disc is matted to 1.85:1 widescreen. The source seems to be a video master broken into six chapters with no scene selection menu.

Audio comes in Dolby Stereo, but it's clear and matrixes well into surround. The only extra is Mind Ripper's trailer and an assortment of non-horror trailers from Tango's catalog. This release certainly isn't worth the high prices seen on Amazon or eBay, but it's a nicely modest disc with nothing shouting budget title (even going through the trouble of making an animated intro to the main menu). At least if you find it cheap, mine was $3, you could eventually flip it just out of rarity.          

1 comment:

Explosive Action said...

I have the UK Anchor Bay and will NOT be watching it again. Man this was boring. And the boyfriend character was atrocious. Not even Lance could save this dreck.

Lance interviewed in Fangoria #191: "Mind Ripper was done in Bulgaria, and all I remember was waiting 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."

...do you dare tread upon the staircase?
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