Mindwarp (1992) / The Other (1972) Blu-rays Review: Happy Halloween from Twilight Time

Holding up to the classic cry of “Trick or treat!” youngsters are apt to beckon homeowners to handfuls of candy and razors with, Twilight Time has given us two vastly different horror titles for the year of 2013: the 1992 splatterfest Mindwarp, followed by the creepy 1972 thriller The Other. And indeed that’s just what we get here: a trick and a treat. Now, every now and then, a niche label is bound to release something that will generate a big amount of “Huh? What?” from its regular consumers. Much like the folks at Criterion have puzzled completionists with their addition of two (two?!) Michael Bay films to their catalogue, Twilight Time has decided to include amongst its library here a cheesy, gory, made-for-video horror flick with Bruce Campbell. It’s a trick and a treat, kids!

Mindwarp, as you have probably guessed, has been released by Twilight Time to no doubt satisfy its growing number of horror fans – who have gobbled up previous genre-specific releases such as Fright Night, Christine, and The Fury (all of which have sold out). In the early ’80s, indie horror filmmakers began to milk a newfound cash cow: the direct-to-video market. Produced by the short-lived Fangoria Films group, Mindwarp is just one of many forgettable cheapo splatter schlockers produced solely for diehard, jaded gorehounds. Masquerading as a science-fiction film throughout, the heavy emphasis on gruesome blood and guts (courtesy the gurus at KNB EFX), the film centers on third-billed Marta Martin (as Marta Alicia), who leaves her computer-run paradise world of virtual reality to find a post-apocalyptic wasteland full of mutants, cannibals, and Bruce Campbell. Angus Scrimm is the bad guy – who doesn’t bother really showing up until about an hour in. Director Steve Barnett also brought us Hollywood Boulevard II and Scanner Cop II, if that tells you anything.

In The Other release this month, we find a horror tale of the psychological kind. Based on the bestselling novel by I Married a Monster from Outer Space star Tom Tyron, The Other centers on a pair of young identical twin boys in rural New England in 1935. Niles and Holland (played by real-life twin brothers Chris and Martin Udvarnoky, respectively – who never appeared onscreen again after this) enjoy a quiet, playful life on their family farm. Niles is the quieter, kindly of the two – while Holland has a vicious sadistic side, and is prone to play practical jokes on neighbors and family alike. Their grandmother, a Russian emigrant (Uta Hagen), has been teaching Niles how to use his god-given psychic powers, but things take a turn for the worse when various accidents – some of which are deadly – begin to happen. Diana Muldaur is the sorrowful mother of the boys, Jenny Sullivan (Barry’s daughter) and a young John Ritter are part of the household, and Victor French is the handyman in this eerie addition to “The House That The Bad Seed Built” by director Robert Mulligan.

As per usual, Twilight Time brings us two very stellar HD transfers for two completely different thrillers, with The Other being the superior of the two in every which way. English DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks accompany each release (Mindwarp is a Stereo track, The Other is in Mono) and include optional English (SDH) subtitles. Each title includes a trailer as a bonus feature: The Other includes its original theatrical trailer, while Mindwarp includes a trailer from a pre-release promotional screener – complete with the dealer’s bonus offer for purchasing two retail copies at the tail end – and is incorrectly listed as a TV Spot on the menu. The Other also contains an isolated audio option highlighting Jerry Goldsmith’s score. Both releases also feature liner notes on their respective titles as written by Julie Kirgo.

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Luigi Bastardo

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