In the post-apocalyptic world of 2037, the world relies on computer fantasies to entertain themselves. A glitch sends our heroine, Judy, to a far-off wasteland to battle monsters called Crawlers. A young rebel named Stover(Bruce Campbell) saves her, but the pair are later captured and brought underground by the Crawlers to face the Seer(Angus Scrimm), who rules this future world.
Mindwarp is one of only three films that were produced by Fangoria Films. Started in 1990 with the goal of financing one feature film a year, they followed this film up with 1991’s Children of the Night and Severed Ties in 1992.
The apocalypse that this film presents is one of where the ozone layer has been destroyed, leaving the world covered with radioactive death zones. There, outworlders are the non-mutants and the crawlers are, well, pretty much C.H.U.D.s. Then there are dreamers, who live in the sealed Inworld, who spend their days plugged into the Infinisynth computer, living out their virtual reality fantasies.
That’s where we meet Judy, a dreamer who lives with her mother. She wants a real adventure, which starts when she accidentally kills her parent during a simulation, which gets her exiled to Outworld. She’s saved by Stover and faces the machinations of the Seer and his consort Cornelia, who tries to infect her with a parasite. That fails, leading to a ritual where the Seer smashes Cornelia’s daughter Claude in a meat grinder.
Stover spends most of the movie saving Judy and then getting recaptured. He gets attacked by leeches while the Seer lets Judy know that he’s the father she’s been missing all of these years. Now, he wants to use her to breed the next generation of humans who will lead the Crawlers. She escapes and saves Stover, but if you’ve been paying attention, he just gets captured again.
This leads to another ceremony with the meatgrinder, leading Judy to shove her dad inside it while Stover goes mad from leech infection and begs her to stay behind before vomiting leeches all over her. That’s just a fakeout ending, as Judy has never left the cyberworld and her real father — the Infinisynth System Operator — tells her that he wants to give her his position of power.
That’s another fakeout, as Judy wakes up back in her room with her mother, still alive. Oh 1990’s wannabe cyberpunk straight to video movies! At least one good thing came out of this — Bruce Campbell met his wife, costume designer Ida Gearon, on the set.
Mindwarp was written by the team of John Brancato and Michael Ferris, two former Harvard Lampoon editors who went on to write Watchers II, The Unborn, The Net, The Game, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Terminator Salvation and Catwoman, amongst others. Since ending their partnership in 2015, Ferris has written two episodes of The Simpsons. I guess having David Fincher as your director is the difference between The Game and every other film on their IMDB resumes.
There’s some gore, Angus Scrimm looking young in a safari shirt and Bruce Campbell getting beat up a lot while everyone runs around in a salt mine and screams one another’s first name a lot. You can watch Mindwarp on Amazon Prime or on Mill Creek’s new Sci-Fi Double Feature blu ray disc, along with Brainscan.
DISCLAIMER: We were sent this movie by Mill Creek, but that has no impact on our review.