Mind Ripper? Wasn’t that the sign the council put up round here about 25 years back? Oh no, sorry, that was “Mind THE Ripper”, back when Peter Sutcliffe was doing the rounds. No, Mind Ripper is a sci-fi/horror movie from 1995, sometimes called Wes Craven’s “The Mindripper”, and… Hold on! Where are you all going? At least have the decency to hear me out!
A former scientist decides to take his repulsive teenage children up into the mountains en-route to a camping holiday to visit his old workplace. It’s a lab, housed in an abandoned nuclear bunker, from which he resigned a while back for ethical reasons, and they’ve now begged him to come back and look at what they’ve done; turned a half-dead guy they found out in the desert into an indestructible WWF wrestler whose tongue now looks like a dog’s cock sticking out of a horse’s twat. By the time they arrive, he’s gone on the rampage, killing off the scientists now trapped inside The Outpost…
So what do you think? Does it sound a bit like Aliens? Well that’s because it is, essentially anyway. Mind Ripper has also been compared with The Thing, a pretty flimsy comparison sure, but I suppose it is in a way – but only a bit. Even flimsier is the film’s working title, The Hills Have Eyes Part 3 (an obvious, much too obvious attempt to cash in on Craven’s involvement as executive producer) – yeah, there’s a family out in the desert being menaced by some fucked-up fuck-up but the similarity ends right there. So it’s hardly original and it’s really nothing special either. Anything decent about it, such as acting, special effects, things like that, are immediately neutralised by the absolutely pathetic script (co-written by Craven’s son, Jonathan), which is so stereotypical you can practically guess the characters’ next lines before they speak them. And you’d need a mousetrap to catch the story’s one potentially intelligent, philosophical element - that the man who these scientists made immortal was a suicide and is now doomed to live forever - as it comes and goes within the blink of an eye. And then there’s the characters. Those fucking average characters. Average characters being chased around an average setting talking average shit doing average things. Wankers!
Yeah, from the word go I decided I hated that family, that almost (because they could never succeed at anything) average family. It’s a pity, actually, that they’re a single parent family, because if this was a proper nuclear family we could encase them in cheap concrete and bury them on the future site of a primary school for the underprivileged. Lance Henriksen is the father, and what a pathetic father he is. Don’t be fooled by the fact that he destroyed his family (sadly he never finished them off) by getting it on Mind Ripper’s sexy Ripley rip-off, because I expect all he wanted to do was hold hands. He’s that much of a dithering old twit. He acts as a chaperone for his twenty-something teenage daughter – her good looks are no compensation for her dullardry – but as he can’t even do that right, you know he has absolutely no chance of controlling his juvenile delinquent son. Well, he’s hardly a true delinquent because he’s much too fucking crap. He spends his time listening to nu-metal, letting unfunny sarky comments drop from his weaselly little mouth and generally acting “weird, maaaan”. Honestly, if I was his father I would have said, “Fuck the NSPCC!” and given him the fucking slipper, or even the cat-o’-nine-tails, rather than had that old typically (averagely so) middle-class, “When are you gonna grow up and become a man, son,” pep talk with him.
Not that I’m giving Mind Ripper a real slagging (despite what I’ve just said!) because, like all movies of this type, it is kinda fun. But it’s nothing special either, being the kind of movie you might watch on Channel Five when you’re waiting to get from now to bedtime. 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 fucking AVERAGE!!!
Aka: The Outpost, Wes Craven Presents Mind Ripper, Wes Craven’s “The Mindripper”, Hills Have Eyes Part 3