Starring: Jeffrey Combs, Yvette Nipar, Brian Thompson, Jay Acovone
“Before this is over, I will drink your blood and feed on your flesh, and it will taste sweet.” (Kabal, Doctor Mordrid)
The story goes that indie studio Full Moon had originally done a deal with Marvel Comics to make a film adaptation of its Dr Strange comics. However, negotiations fell apart at the last minute and so an extensive rewrite was needed.
The result was Doctor Mordrid, a film that doesn’t share an awful lot with Marvel’s hero other than his titular medical qualifications. That’s not to say it doesn’t still have a degree of charm, though.
Doctor Anton Mordrid has been living in New York for 150 years, waiting for the promised return of the evil Kabal (Brian Thompson, best known for playing an alien bounty hunter in The X-Files), who a prophecy dictates will eventually break out of his dimensional space castle prison cell and come to Earth. Seriously.
When Kabal comes back to Earth he plans to wreck the joint, summoning his minions from the fourth dimension (which I think is actually time, but that’s probably not important).
Mordrid’s clearly not having any of that, so he rents a fancy flat and turns it into a makeshift research centre where he can study world events and try to predict when Kabal will return.
As luck would have it, Kabal returns to New York, of all places, saving the Doc a potential fortune on travel fares. After he’s resurrected by two amateur Satanists, he kills one of them and tasks the other with helping him recover the three elemental artefacts he needs to take over the world.
It’s up to Doctor Mordrid, then, to stop Kabal from royally fucking up the planet, but there’s a bit of a problem.You see, he’s recently befriended Samantha Hunt, a specialist in rituals who regularly helps the police with odd crimes.
When Kabal’s victim is discovered, Samantha recommends the police ask Mordrid for advice, but rather than consider him a valuable source of info they instead decide he’s the one who did the killings, taking him in for questioning. D’oh.
Can Mordrid get out of jail back and find Kabal in time to stop him finding the three artefacts he needs to destroy the world? Well, you’re still here, aren’t you?
Although its plot is fairly straightforward, Doctor Mordrid does like to occasionally chuck in the odd curveball to keep you on your toes with an occasional “um, what the fuck is this all about”.
A good example is the scene in which the Doc teleports himself to the other dimension, which seems to consist solely of a tiny planetoid on which a castle sits. Inside he meets an old friend whose eyes have been melted off. He cures his mate’s eyes then fucks off back to Earth again for seemingly no reason.
The final battle is also suitably mad. Taking place in a museum, it’s all well and good until Kabal decides to resurrect a giant dinosaur skeleton. Mordrid does the same and suddenly things go all stop-motion with a big dino bone fight. It’s gloriously silly and it doesn’t give a shit.
The cast is by and large decent, and certainly miles away from the gash Full Moon ended up hiring a few years down the line (I’m looking at you, Hideous! and The Creeps). By far the best example of this is Jeffrey Combs, the star of cult favourite Re-Animator, who’s brilliantly loveable as the quirky Mordrid.
If you’re looking for something short (it’s a brisk 72 minutes), cheap and delightfully butty then you could do a lot worse than Doctor Mordrid. It’s by no means Full Moon’s best offering but it’s got that early ’90s charm that should have you chuckling throughout its unabashed low-budget presentation.
HOW CAN I SEE IT?
Doctor Mordrid was recently released on DVD by 88 Films, a UK publisher who focuses mainly on the Charles Band era of Full Moon films. As with its other releases the disc contains the Full Moon Videozone making-of feature that was also included on the original VHS version of the film. You can buy the DVD here.
SHOW ME THE TRAILER: