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Mind Ripper aka The Outpost aka The Hills Have Eyes III (1995)

The Government Created Him. Now They Must Destroy Him.

Yay! Thanks to the fine folks over at Bloody Disgusting, I can finally watch the movie I've always wanted to watch again since I first caught it on TV about 12 years ago. This piece of work is called Mind Ripper aka The Outpost aka The Hillls Have Eyes III. It fails as an installment of The Hills Have Eyes, it fails as a Wes Craven output (then again, what were we expecting - he is only ....."presenting" the thing)... but it works as a nifteh, funny movie that I am deeply nostalgic for.

A group of three (3) scientists find a wounded young man in the middle of the American desert (well... some American desert). They inject him with a curious, uhm, injection - and soon after, the doctor who developed the. uhm, injected stuff leaves the project, as he is not okay with the way the other scientists are treating the subject.

Funnily enough, as coincidences go, on the day of leaving for his holidays with his family, the good doctor receives a phone call informing him about difficulties with the subject... his former subject.

Luckily, the movie is fast: 20 minutes into the movie, we already get our explanation for what what happened when. The military tried, as usual, to create a super-human soldier* by means of scientists**. Actually, they injected the guy they found with some sort of virus... which is now running wild in the subject, changing and transforming him.

...into something that leaves eyes behind.

In the meantime, we get some characterisation through father-son-interaction. Teenagers were allowed to smoke back then, and parents were allowed to get a little louder with their kids.

Cut to annoying daughter of scientist with her even more stupid and annoying boyfriend. "I want to pleasure you forever..." - we all know where that leads ***

For some reason I cannot fathom yet, the dysfunctional semi-family is heading towards the military headquarters - in which the three scientist/military-guys (and gal) are making a desperate run from something they can't understand. Whilst the family is happily walking into the former nuclear testing facility.

A former nuclear testing facility owned by some nice company named GenTec. I tend to inherently trust companies with names like GenTec. They can only have the best of humanity on their minds, surely? They wouldn't ever give in to scientific curiousity... or lucrative offers of high sums of money for more practical experiments. Surely not.

Gods, watching this movie is a pure delight. The camera is at times abysmally bad, very simple and... uhm... old. It's a cheap 90s B-movie in the tradition of 80s B-movies. It screams DTV-release with every fibre of its being. But I love it dearly. I just liked it when I accidentally caught it on TV more than a decade ago, and occasionally remembered it fondly. But now, I love it.

This is happening to the infected man's mouth, for example. In case you can't realise what it is, it's a tooth/claw at the end of a long, tentacle-like, penis-like thing that the mutated soldier can shoot out of his mouth - to feed on other people's "minds" (we freely assume he includes "brains" in that rather broad and metaphysical concept).

They also had computers back in those days when I was but a wee little babe.

Inevitably, the group splits up, because, you know, you're safer in small, uncoordinated groups when in some creepy, apparently deserted surroundings that shouldn't be deserted.

At the beginning of the third act, we get the explanation for all the weird stuff that has been going on on the defunct military base.

The thing that makes this movie special is the mutant/monster - "Thor" (TransHuman Organism). He has a background story, he even has character and a personality. He is changing, and he doesn't know what is changing in him or into what he is changing... and it causes him pain. We get a little twist here, one that makes Thor even more tragic than he already is... and then he loses himself in desperate rage.

Cut to our rag-tag group of heroes, off to save the day. With brains. Because they figured out that our anti-hero needs brains... or rather, certain parts of them.

We get some 15 minutes of filler "plot" (brother-sister-bonding, talks about dad, a useless dream sequence, drama, guilt etc.) before things really start again. Our refugees need to find the kids' father's hand, because only his hand is authorised for the main door (?)

One thing: This movie has far too many survivors. Far. Too. Many. Survivors. On the other hand, it has a nifteh monster that I've liked for the past 12 years.

Plus, I approve of monster-rape (one of the reasons why Evil Dead is such an endearing movie).

I mean... this movie just has it all. A nifty monster with character background, Lance Henriksen, death by monster, death by electricity, 80s visions of computers... far too many survivors... Still, a mightily entertaining flick. And I don't just say that out of pure nostalgia. I actually enjoyed watching this flick, even though the death-count is below acceptable.

6.75/10 sudden onsets of baldness. I love this movie.

*Black Science. Remember?

** Scientists are always working for governments and secret organisations and believe in Evil(TM).

*** Tcha. Better luck next time, mate. We got fooled with that.

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