Wednesday, September 24, 2014

DR. MORDRID (1992)

DR. MORDRID (1992) 

Label: Full Moon Features

Region Code: All
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 74 Minutes
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.9, Dolby Digital 5.1 
Video: 1080 Widescreen (1.78:1) 
Director: Charles band, Albert Band
Cast: Jeffrey Combs, Yvetter Nipar, Jay Acovone, Brian Thompson

DOCTOR MORDRID stars the always fantastic Jeffrey Combs (RE-ANIMATOR) as a wizard sent to Earth from the fourth 
another dimension to guard us against the evil Kabal (Brian Thompson, X-FILES). Kabal has been imprisoned for centuries but has escaped and is now on Earth where he plans to unleash a demonic horde - it's up to Mordrid to save us all. 


Mordrid lives in New York City in a sweet apartment festooned with ancient relics and shelves of books on demonology, sorcery and alchemy. There's definitely been a few pages torn from Marvel's Doctor Strange playbook as Mordrid astral projects himself to other dimension where he communes with an entity known as The Monitor. The sorcerer also wears a magical cloak and derives his power from a mystical amulet.

Combs classes up every movie he appears in and this is no different. His turn as a slightly cold demeanored sorcerer battling evil is good stuff. The effects work is standard for an early nineties Band directed film with plenty of low budget in-camera and visual effects but they work quite nicely. The miniature and stop-motion effects from the late David Allen are a lot of fun - from the floating prison to the animated dinosaur skeletons it's just fun stuff.

Brian Thompson who played the menacing alien bounty hunter in nine episodes of the X-FILES appears as the evil mulleted wizard Kabal and he strikes an imposing figure. On Earth he enlists a couple of metal-heads burnouts to do his bidding. The dude is a dud but his female companion at least offers up some fun nudity to the proceedings. 

They do squeeze in a love interest into the story in the form of TV actress Yvette Nipar as Samantha Hunt a NYPD special consultant and Mordrid's neighbor with an interest in the dark arts. The performances are pretty decent with Combs playing it quite cool while Brian Thompson gets to chew the scenery as the villainous sorcerer. 

The film was co-directed by Albert and Charles Band and moves along nicely but is quite short at just under 75 minutes with a rushed ending. Points deducted for a final battle that was less than epic but for a first time watch without the benefit of nostalgia this was quite an entertaining watch . 

BLU-RAY:
The picture quality is nicely crisp and with good color saturation, the print used for the HD Master is in great shape with very little wear and tear, just a smattering of white specks. I am not certain but I believe this was shot in the open-matte format and has been cropped for this release to create a proper widescreen presentation. which means we lose information on both the top and bottom of the frame but the framing is done quite nicely. Would love it if they would offer both the cropped and original open matte versions like we saw on the EVIL DEAD Blu-ray. 

None of the Full Moon Blu-rays have offered HD audio and the disc is no different. The film relies on a capable English Dolby Digital presentation with both a stereo and surround option. It handles the dialogue and effects quite nicely and Richard Band's score comes through cleanly but I would love to see Band's score get a DTS-HD Master Audio option with an isolated music track - that would be fantastic. This particular score is quite familiar to me and is used for a lot of the FM promos. There are no subtitle options provided. 

Onto the special features we have a lively commentary from Charles Band and star Jeffrey Combs that is never dull - these two keep it interesting with tales from set and the origin of the story. The vintage Videozone featurette has interviews with co-director Charles and Albert Band, stars Jeffrey Combs, Brian Thompson and Yvette Nipar plus visual effects artist David Allen parsed with behind-the-scenes footage and clips from the film.

The Uncut Behind-the-Scenes footage starts with outtakes from a vintage promo and then into extended filming of the Videozone segment including some for what appears to have been for the making-of BAD CHANNELS. It's pretty neat to hear these segments being set-up and to hear the interviewer ask the questions with flubs and interruptions intact. The David Allen stuff is awesome as he explains the process and we see some fun shots of him setting up the stop motion shots used in the film.   

The William Shatner Interview with Jeffrey Combs, Stuart Gordon and Barbara Crampton can also be found on the CASTLE FREAK Blu-ray and is fun, it's just weird to have Captain Kirk interviewing these three. Finishing up the extras are HD trailers for REEL HORROR, OOGA BOOGA, TROPHY HEADS, and UNLUCKY CHARMS. 

SPECIAL FEATURES: 
- Audio Commentary with Jeffrey Combs and Charles Band
- Original Videozone featurette ( 9 Minutes) SD
- Rare William Shatner Interview with Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton (12 Minutes) SD
- Uncut Behind-the-Scenes Footage from the Full Moon Vault (133 Minutes) SD
- Trailers HD 

VERDICT:

With the exception of the TOURIST TRAP release and the mystery of the missing five minutes I think that Full Moon have done a fine job of remastering their films for the HD crowd. A fun watch oozing with sorcery and that special brand of b-movie charm. 

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