‘Live in horror die in fear’
Mind Ripper is a 1995 American horror film directed by Joe Gayton from a screenplay by Jonathan Craven and Phil Mittleman.
Although originally conceived as a possible sequel to the original The Hills Have Eyes (1977) and The Hills Have Eyes Part II (1984), this concept was dropped during the two year development stage. Jonathan Craven told Fangoria‘s Dave Hughes: “I would love to see those characters come back, but we felt they deserved their own film and that Thor deserved his own.”
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The film is released in the UK on Blu-ray by 88 Films on June 11, 2018.
Nonetheless, in some markets it was released as The Hills Have Eyes III and The Hills Still Have Eyes, despite the fact that no actors, characters, or scenarios link it to those films except the desert setting.
Lance Henriksen, Claire Stansfield (Darkdrive), Giovanni Ribisi (The Grave), Natasha Gregson Wagner (Vampires: Los Muertos; Urban Legend; Modern Vampires), John Diehl (Apartment 1303; Jurassic Park III; Lost Souls), Gregory Sporleder, John Apicella, Dan Blom [as Thor], Adam Solomon, Peter Shepherd.
Set in a remote desert location, government scientists perform reanimation experiments in an underground nuclear facility. The goal is to create a superhuman. Their first subject, “Thor,” is a specimen from a suicide found in the desert. In the attempts to bring Thor back, an uncontrollable creature is unleashed.
The fragile family unit of Stockton (Lance Henriksen), daughter Wendy (Natasha Gregson Wagner), and son Scott (Giovanni Ribisi), preparing for a visit to the desert. Stockton is a former participating scientist of the experiments. Upon arrival, Stockton finds the current scientists still continuing with their work.
Thor is awakened, and the facility goes into lockdown status. Trapped inside as prey for their creation, the scientists and Stockton’s family must defeat Thor or escape from an impenetrable post. As they are picked off by Thor’s hunger for a chemical derived from human brains, their means of survival diminishes…
“There’s action aplenty that may occasionally cause you to move a couple of inches closer to the edge of your armchair, and there’s even some pretty graphic gore (but no sex as you may have guessed, and if you’re looking for laughs, forget it!), but there’s really just one problem with Mind Ripper… It’s just so f*cking average!!!” Wayne Southworth, The Spinning Image
“Although the visuals are pretty great, giving you some special effects that will make you squirm, the plot is old and tiring, offering nothing new or interesting. After about twenty minutes when you realize what kind of movie this actually is, you’ll find yourself waiting for the characters to die rather than be involved in what’s happening in the story.” The Goon, Lost Highway
“Unsurprisingly, Henriksen is the sole reason to see this picture. He once again makes good use of poor material, drawing the attention throughout. The Terminator and Aliens veteran also manages to say his dialogue in a believable manner, while others cause laughter with their stilted portrayals. At least Stansfield provides some eye candy, and male viewers will be happy to know that she steps into the shower within the first 10 minutes.” D. J. Nock, The Digital Fix
” … had a lot more action than I expected, the storyline (albeit clichéd) was interesting, and there was a darker atmosphere woven into the pacing. Yes, the lower budget is apparent, the performances are uneven, and there is really nothing new crafted inside the cliché moments, but it is still a fun way to spend a few minutes passing time with a low budget creature feature…” Mark Mihalko, The Ringmaster’s Realm
Cast and characters:
- Lance Henriksen as Stockton
- Claire Stansfield as Joanne
- John Diehl as Alex
- Natasha Gregson Wagner as Wendy Stockton
- Gregory Sporleder as Rob
- Giovanni Ribisi as Scott Stockton
- Dan Blom as Thor
- Adam Solomon as Mark
- John Apicella as Larry
- Peter Shepherd as Frank
- Sofia, Bulgaria
- Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
The film’s working title was The Outpost
Image credits: The Ringmaster’s Realm