Doctor Mordrid: The Official Nerfed Llamas Review – Wherein We Discover That Glitter Glue Is Used In Dimension Warping Spells!
I had initially intended to review Dollman Vs. Demonic Toys today, but circumstances have pushed that off a few days. I’ve been viewing most of the Full Moon flicks that I’ve reviewed this month via their streaming service, and Dollman Vs. Demonic Toys (which I have reviewed Dollman & Demonic Toys already) is not currently available on the service, but it’s getting added on Thursday. The show must go on, and since my month long celebration of all the things Full Moon Features is still going through this week, I have selected a different feature for today: Doctor Mordrid! Originally conceived as a film version of Marvel’s Doctor Strange, the plans fell through and Charles Band salvaged the film by creating an original concept using the same backdrop of magic and sorcery but with newly conceived characters and story. The end result is a one of a kind sorcery film that stands out as a unique film from the horror and science fiction films that Full Moon is best known for.
What is Doctor Mordrid: Doctor Mordrid is the story of a noble sorcerer, Anton Mordrid, who has been protecting earth from the threat of evil sorcerers for over 100 years. When Kabal, an evil sorcerer from Mordrid’s past, makes preparations to perform a spell that would bring an army of demons from another dimension to help him conquer the earth, sorcerer supreme Doctor Mordrid and his new confidant Samantha must spring into action to try and save the planet! Created by and co-directed by Charles Band (creator of Full Moon Features and many of their franchises) and Albert Band (I Bury The Living, Robot Wars), from a script by C. Courtney Joiner (Trancers III, Lurking Fear), Doctor Mordrid stars: Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator, Trancers II), Yvette Nipar (Ski Patrol, Walking Tall: Lone Justice), Brian Thompson (Cobra, The Extendables), Jay Acovone (Conflict of Interest, Beauty and the Beast), Keith Coulouris (TMNT II: Secret of the Ooze, Annie’s Garden), Julie Michaels (Roadhouse, Point Break), and Ritch Brinkley (Rhinestone, The Man With One Red Shoe).
What I Liked: I loved the sets on Doctor Mordrid. It is immediately apparent that a lot of time was spent designing and creating the intricately made sets on this film. Mordrid’s inner sanctum is an amazing open concept apartment that is part library, part museum, and part bachelor pad. There is a huge world map hanging on the wall, a massive console with multiple TVs hooked in together, and a ton of magical items and secret doors. The museum set, replete with full scale dinosaur skeleton exhibits, also look marvelous. Everything that went into the visual design of this filmed universe is well thought out and equally well implemented.
Jeffrey Combs, Yvette Nipar, and Brian Thompson put in solid performances as the leads. Jeffrey Combs gives a subdued and nuanced approach to the good doctor. Always calm and in control, Combs’ Mordrid is a wise sorcerer who has compassion for the humans that he protects. Yvette Nipar has to fight the odds as Police Consultant Samantha Hunt. Nipar brings an eagerness and tenacity to the roll that makes it easy to like her character instantly, and gives the viewer a regular point of view to walk them through the wilder and more magical aspects of the film. Brian Thompson is a consummate villain and overall bad ass as the evil sorcerer Kabal. Thompson sells the stone cold attitude of his character in each scene, and keeps your attention focused on his every move. All in all, Combs, Nipar, and Thompson make this film a treat to watch.
The special effects are particularly well done and have aged exceptionally well. From teleportation to hand blasts even to battling animated dinosaur skeletons (a la Ray Harryhausen), Doctor Mordrid is teaming with effects in nearly every shot. Considering the low budget for this film, a ton of good work was put in by the effects team. They did a fantastic job with what they had to work with.
Also, the soundtrack by Richard Band is well done, and possibly the most heroic score he has ever done. Whereas I am use to the sci-fi, horror, and period style scores that Band contributes to many of the Full Moon films, it was a particular delight to here a score from him that sounded like it could have been for a big screen super hero flick. It’s good stuff and is available on CD to purchase.
What I Didn’t Like: The main thing that I would criticize is the dialogue. I’m aware that a lot of b-movie’s have campy dialogue, but that’s not the issue in Doctor Mordrid. For this film, the dialogue tends to be very unnecessarily exposition laden, essentially telling you exactly what you are seeing while you are seeing it. Instead of campy dialogue, C. Courtney Joiner went for a more serious tone, which is fine except for the fact the some of the dialogue sounds like he didn’t have much faith that the audience was going to be able to figure our what was happening on the screen. Otherwise, I didn’t have any other major complaints.
Bottom Line: Doctor Mordrid is a well filmed magic and sorcery film that is a welcome departure from the horror and sci-fi genre films that Full Moon is best known for. Much like Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death, Doctor Mordrid shows Charles Band and his team spreading their wings and confidently flying into new territory. There are some hiccups along the way, especially in regards to the dialogue, but the cast, the sets, special effects, and the wonderful score make any small quibble I may have with the film fade away. Frankly speaking, I’d love to see a sequel for Doctor Mordrid, just to see where they could take such an interesting and dimension traveling sorcerer too. Perhaps he could find himself mashed up with another Full Moon franchise. It’s fun to daydream, but I digress… I highly recommend Doctor Mordrid, which is available on Blu-Ray, DVD, and via Full Moon’s streaming service.
Check out the trailer for Doctor Mordrid and see if you would like to animate dinosaurs with the good doctor: