November 13th, 2008

CREATURE WITH THE BLUE HAND (1970) **

Crazy Klaus Kinski strangles a nurse and escapes from the nuthouse and hides out in the castle owned by his twin brother, also played by Kinski.  A black cloaked killer also arrives at the estate and starts bumping people off using a blue claw with retractable razorblade fingers.

 

This German made Edgar Wallace adaptation is anchored by not one but two eccentric performances by Klaus Kinski.  It’s always fun to watch him ham it up and two Kinskis equal double the fun as the scenes where either Kinski chews the scenery make for good times.  While the murder sequences are light on the red stuff, they are still fairly stylishly staged and shot.  The brief look inside the insane asylum is cool as you get to see lots of nutjobs with a varied assortment of mental deficiencies.  (I especially liked the woman who chronically strips.)  

 

Unfortunately all of this is thoroughly bland and not very involving.  All the police procedural stuff where the badly dubbed cops try to put together the pieces of the plot are decidedly less interesting than all of the scenes of the crazed Kinski trying to prove his innocence.  The revelation of the killer’s (make that KILLERS’) identity, while a surprise; was poorly done and by the time everything was sorted out, I could honestly say that I didn’t particularly care one way or another.  Still, any movie that gives you two Kinskis for the price of one can’t be all that bad.   

 

AKA:  The Bloody Dead.  AKA:  The Blue Hand.

MINDWARP (1992) **

In the post-apocalyptic future, everyone lives underground and jacks themselves into a Virtual Reality world to escape.  Judy (Marta Alicia) is tired of all that VR crap and yearns to escape to “the real world”, which is basically just a desert wasteland.  The computer grants Judy her wish and she’s taken topside where hungry mutant cannibals roam.  There she runs into a nomad named Stover (Bruce Campbell) who reluctantly agrees to escort her back home.  Naturally, they get abducted by the mutants and are held prisoner by the “Seer” (The Tall Man himself, Angus Scrimm) who rules over the mutants with an iron fist.  (Make that an iron CLAW as that’s what he uses to scratch people’s eyes out.)  It’s not exactly a warm family reunion for Judy as her pops wants to breed with her in his “hatchery” so he can repopulate the Earth.

 

Mindwarp was the first film from Fangoria Pictures and while it does feature horror icons Campbell and Scrimm as well as excellent effects by the boys at KNB, it’s definitely not a horror film.  It actually has more in common with your typical run-of-the-mill Sci-Fi Channel Original than anything else.  That said, there is some quality shit to be found in Mindwarp.  Those leeches that crawl through people’s skin and work their way into their victim’s brains were pretty tight and the gore quotient was fairly high.  But for every cool thing the film had going for it, there was a long, dull stretch where not much happened.  Nevertheless, Mindwarp is still the best Total Recall/Mad Max/Hills Have Eyes rip-off of 1992. 

 

Campbell’s unmistakable charisma carries the flick along way as he can do battle with men in rubber suits like no one else in the business.  It’s the Campbell-less Virtual Reality-heavy scenes that really drag the film down.  At least the film’s dark message (VIRTUAL reality is sometimes better than actual reality) helps to separate Mindwarp from the plethora of other VR themed Sci-Fi movies from the same era. 

 

Cornelia (Elizabeth Kent), The Tall Man’s second-in-command gets the best line of the movie when she calls Judy a “brainscrew bitch!"