Mindripper (aka Outpost)
Scientists have created a virus in an underground lab and find some guy dying in the mountains so inject him with it. Months later he starts to mutate and picks off the staff. Meanwhile Lance Henriksen’s doctor had resigned and is looking forward to a camping trip with his son, daughter and her boyfriend, but after a distressed call from his old colleague he decides to check on the facility.
Mind Ripper? The only ripping going on is off better films: the basic story of a mutant getting even more mutanty and a trapped facility is The Thing; the facility and staff (bonkers general, action woman) is Day of the Dead; but the absolute cream comes from Aliens. The sound is the same for a start! The gentle hum in the background, echoed random drum beats, motion sensor blip-blip, sudden blares of trumpets… it’s so blatant I bet you could listen to Aliens, watch this and it would fit!
That’s not all they take from Aliens though. The creature (with a spike for a tongue, like a second jaw from you-know-what) sneaks around the ducting (oh, that’s more Alien… but he’s got a Bruce Willis Die Hard vest. Whatever, stick ‘em on the list! Picky? You bet I bloody am.), they manage to fit in multi-camera P.O.V. and a facility in lockdown. There was even a bit where they realise the thing is above them, and past victims are still alive, hung on a wall in a “nest” of cabling until it chooses to eat their brains.
Urgh. It’s all joined together by inane dialogue and a childish plot. Early on an alarm goes off as the comatose experiment starts to go wrong and they ring Lance immediately! I mean, they barely even check why the pissing alarm is going off. They just pick up the phone. And he comes! What the…
Ok, good points. Erm… hold on. Let me think. Oh, the make-up on Barney isn’t bad. That’s the creature. They call him THOR (Transmuted Human Or-Ganism), but I preferred to call him Barney. It made it funny. And there’s a brief moment toward the end where I couldn’t think where they’d stolen that bit from, so I have to concede they came up with it all on their own. They even switched off the Aliens soundtrack, bless them. Then they almost redeemed the whole thing with a really sick joke, but… no. They prefer a happy bonding moment instead. They definitely screw it up at the finale when they escape the facility, but so does Barney. How he got out, God knows.
Thank goodness for Lance Henriksen and Giovanni Ribisi, who are predictably good. To be fair the others aren’t terrible, but if you’re given shit to say you may be accused of being shit yourself. There is the father/son bonding sub-plot which is just cringeworthy, but not as much as the shoehorned in teen angst.
Avoid, avoid, avoid, avoid. This was a Wes Craven production so I should have known. By produced I think he handed over a pile of his favourite movies to a 12 year old kid (we’ll call him “director”) and told him to re-enact the best bits.
The DVD is hilarious from the normally dependable Anchor Bay. Bad framing, grainy quality, but somehow they thought it was worth DTS. But the best bit are the film notes. They make it sound like a classic! They called the script “elegant”. And it “recalls The Thing and Hollow Man”. I see the link with Hollow Man, but that came out five years later.