Doctor Mordrid DVD Review
Directed by Albert and Charles Band
Written by Charles Band and C. Courtney Joyner
1992, 74 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 17th February 2014
Jeffrey Combs as Doctor Mordrid
Yvette Nipar as Samantha
Brian Thompson as Kabal
Jay Acovone as Tony
Pearl Shear as Sara
If ever in need of classic good vs evil sci-fi entertainment, the nineties isn't a bad decade to turn to. And Doctor Mordrid is a fine example of why. A traditional superhero B-movie with all the flashy, low-budget sci-fi conventions and trashy dialogue of its championing fifties predecessors, it's an entertaining movie that deserves a new audience. Thank you, 88 Films.
Ancient sorcerer Doctor Mordrid (Jeffrey Combs) has been given a mission. He must put a stop to his former alchemist classmate Kabal, who, after escaping imprisonment, is planning to unleash demons on earth and destroy it. With humankind hanging in the balance, the arch-enemies enter a race to obtain the Philosopher‘s Stone needed to cast the undoable spell and unleash the demons from hell. To help him in his quest, enter cult researcher Samantha.
The war of the warlocks makes for a simple but enjoyable story, fuelled by the characters’ eternal rivalry and the fantastical elements of the wizarding world. Complexity isn't its forte, but despite not veering far from the predictable plot path, the battle is captivating from start to finish and the inherent cheesiness can’t help but charm its way through.
Performances outweigh expectations too. This is Combs (Re-animator, From Beyond) at his very best, and he plays the suave, good-natured sorcerer down to a tee. Brian Thompson had gained well-established muscle-man status by the time he played Kabal, and proves to be the perfect villain. Even Yvette Nipar's character Samantha is fairly plausible.
There's no gore or excessive violence - a dinosaur skeleton coming to life and eating a civilian is about as savage as it gets - but so-good-its-bad sorcery effects keep the scenes animated. A bigger budget could have really fulfilled its special effects potential, though. Some of the magic spells that zap across the screen are thoroughly cringe-worthy.
Still, it's a rare example of how low budget doesn't have to sacrifice good acting, and if you're after an undemanding 75 minutes of fun and amusement, Doctor Mordrid is well worth your attention.
Video and Audio:
It's formatted in a standard definition picture (PAL 1.33:1), so fans of widescreen may be disappointed, and the soundtrack is standard Dolby Digital. The sound dipped in and out a few times but this could be due to a dodgy print. Otherwise, it looks like a fine restoration that's tidied up some grainy picture issues - even if it doesn't do some special effect faux pas any favours!
True to 88 Films' blueprint, there's a Trailer Park where you'll find a spatter of trailers in addition to the Doctor Mordrid original trailer. A Videozone area is admittedly more interesting though: there's a look behind the scenes and interviews with director Charles Band and some of the cast and crew, as well as a 20+ minute window into stunt performance, set design and animation creation.
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