Looking for good post-apocalyptic movies I stumbled upon Mindwarp, a hidden gem of the nineties that instantly became one of my favorite movies. I mean, how could you not love a movie that combines so many potent elements and starring none other than Bruce Campbell? It’s incredibly gory, unsettling, dark and at the same time intense and a bit schlocky. And when you add to this virtual reality you get one hell of a movie. A movie that you simply cannot guess where it will take you. I don’t want to spoil this masterpiece for you so I’ll refrain from any references.
Mindwarp seamlessly transitions from a cyberpunk/futuristic environment to a post-apocalyptic/horror one in just a couple of scenes. We follow our heroine as she makes her journey from a clean, sterile and simplistic environment into an unforgiving world full of danger, trash and remnants of the past civilization. Six years before The Matrix, she took the red pill and went down the rabbit hole. This awakening to me is eerily similar to the realization that the world we live in now is actually both The Matrix and The Wasteland at the same time.
And once you realize what’s going on, there’s no going back. Once you realize that most people choose to stay ignorant and in this teenage phase in order to “enjoy” the uncomplicated existence, your world changes forever. Which brings us to the community featured in the second part of the movie. Does it seem a bit familiar? Do those religious overtones and the need for a leader/messiah along with a menial task ring any bells?
Welcome to the world of tomorrow! It is the year of our lord Satan 2037 and humanity finally achieved its dream. It polluted and destroyed the surface of the Earth sufficiently to make it almost inhabitable. Most of the population spends their time in virtual reality pods with unlimited freedom to anything they want. This is where we find young Judy who’s tired of this way of life and craves the real-world experience. She should be careful of what she wishes for because the real world might turn out to be her worst nightmare…
I know that all this might seem familiar and there are many movies with the similar setting. However, there’s something about Mindwarp that sets it apart from all of them. It’s strange to think that The Lawnmower Man, the movie that brought virtual reality to the mainstream was released the same year. While we’re talking about similar movies, Tron and Brainstorm were the pioneers in this genre of virtual worlds where people are able to interact with each other. After Total Recall, released in 1990, we start seeing more and more similar movies. Movies like Strange Days, Virtuosity, Johnny Mnemonic, ExistenZ and The Thirteenth Floor.
When it comes to the portrayal of a post-apocalyptic society, Mindwarp is eerily similar to another one of my favorite movies Mad Max: Fury Road. And to finish this name dropping I also have to mention Hell Comes to Frogtown. It’s a B movie masterpiece that you simply have to check out. One thing that all of these movies don’t have are pretty graphic and sometimes even disturbing scenes of violence and mutilation. They fit in quite well with the nightmarish atmosphere that prompts the serious philosophical questions about the future of humanity and the way we live our ways now. The lack of humor only emphasizes this.
However, we have to remember that this is still a low-budget B movie. This means that the main story is somewhat formulaic and characters a bit stereotypical. However, there are some pretty surprising twists and turns to be honest. The special effects range from laughably cute to really good. Bruce and Angus were great, however Marta could have been better. Finally, this is one of only three movies released by the cult horror magazine Fangoria. The other two being Children of the Night and Severed Ties.
Director: Steve Barnett
Writers: John Brancato, Michael Ferris
Cast: Bruce Campbell, Angus Scrimm, Marta Martin, Elizabeth Kent, Mary Becker, Wendy Sandow, Brian Brill
Fun Facts: Bruce Campbell met his wife Ida Gearon in the set of this film. According to his auto-biography, Campbell approached her with the excuse of wanting to learn how to sew. Something that he actually needed to learn because of his role.