Doctor Mordrid Blu-ray Review
Written by ZigZag
Blu-ray released by Full Moon Entertainment
Directed by Charles Band and Albert Band
Written by C. Courtney Joyner
1992, Region A, 74 minutes, Rated R
Blu-ray released on September 23rd, 2014
Jeffrey Combs as Dr. Anton Mordrid
Yvette Nipar as Samantha Hunt
Brian Thompson as Kabal
Jeff Austin as Det. Levitz
Jay Acovone as Tony
Keith Coulouris as Adrian
Julie Michaels as Irene
Doctor Anton Mordrid owns and occupies a large apartment building in New York, gives frequent lectures as an authority on the occult and is actually an ancient sorcerer sent to Earth to protect the planet from Kabal, an evil foe determined to destroy this world with an army of demons. When Kabal eventually breaks free of his restraints and begins assembling the items necessary for global domination, Mordrid enlists the help of police consultant (and tenant) Samantha Hunt to stop the maniac from building a following of loyal subjects. This proves necessary when the good doctor becomes the police's number one suspect. Can our hero clear his name and save the day? Probably.
Charlie Band is a self-described fan of Marvel Comics, and at one time held the rights to make a Doctor Strange film. Despite missing that opportunity, he passed some ideas along to screenwriter C. Courtney Joyner (Prison) and soon Doctor Mordrid was in production. Co-directed by Band with his father, Albert, the film moves at a speedy pace and maintains a light tone, even with some of the more sinister elements. Low-budget creativity wins over the rough spots of the production and is highlighted by some sweet third act stop-motion animation that would make the legendary artist Ray Harryhausen smile. The movie plays like a family-friendly adventure, although there is some brief nudity for the adults. There are some impressive sets (particularly Mordrid's apartment) and a creative use of television monitors as an additional lighting source that give the picture a larger look than the limited dollars would allow.
The cast is surprisingly strong for a low-budget genre film, led by the always-welcome Jeffrey Combs (From Beyond) in the title role. His ability to deliver wacky dialogue in a direct manner allows his character to appear both intense and sincere without coming off hokey. He shares a nice, unforced chemistry with Yvette Nipar (Phantoms) as Samantha, a woman not content with playing either sidekick or victim, and together they make a great team that could have enjoyed at least one sequel. Brian Thompson (Fright Night II) can play roles like the creepy Kabal in his sleep by this point in his career, but here he continues to deliver the goods without simply phoning it in. Genre nerds will want to watch closely for a revealing cameo from Julie Michaels (Jason Goes to Hell) as Irene, the eager servant to the dark lord.
The film is similar in tone to Band's Trancers, and that's a good thing. A broad story told on a small scale that allows for character development. Charlie Band's Full Moon output was frequently spotty in quality, but never lacked for goofy ideas. I mean this as a compliment, as the guy was clearly looking to entertain audiences, but at heart he made movies he wanted to see. It is surprising that in a world where his studio released 10 Puppet Master films and countless other franchises that this character only got one turn at bat. Who knows, maybe Doctor Mordrid is simply waiting until the 25th anniversary to return.
Video and Audio:
Presented in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, it is safe to say Doctor Mordrid has never looked better and the widescreen transfer will likely please longtime fans. Colors and black levels are respectable, and remain consistent, although the picture degrades slightly when there are optical effects, especially in the finale.
The disc offers both a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, as well as a 2.0 presentation and either is acceptable. The expanded mix is preferable with the added boost to music cues and some directional effects.
Charles Band delivers another satisfying audio commentary, this time paired with Jeffrey Combs and while neither has seen this picture in years, both are quick with a good memory of the production. These two guys clearly enjoy the work and share many fine anecdotes fans won't want to miss.
Next up is the vintage featurette Videozone (9 minutes) that covers the standard press kit formula with on-set footage mixed with sit-down interviews with members of the cast and crew. There is a bit more here, however, as we also get a look at the numerous visual effects, including the stop-motion work.
The generically-labeled Uncut Footage (92 minutes) offers a surprisingly thorough look at the content that was shot for the Videozone segment and runs longer than the film it covers.
A vaguely-titled piece called Rare Interview (12 minutes) looks at another Full Moon release, Castle Freak, and features an unexpected quartet of participants. Definitely worth checking out.
Rounding things out is a collection of trailers for various Full Moon features but, oddly, not Doctor Mordrid.
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