While growing up in Italy, Charles Band was a huge fan of Marvel comics from the 60s and 70s. He's often said that one of his favorite characters was Doctor Strange, the Master of the Mystic Arts. Years later at Empire Pictures, Band was working on a project with comic book legend Jack Kirby called Doctor Mortalis. After Empire went under in the late 80s, Band decided to readapt Doctor Mortalis into a Doctor Strange movie. Stories have circulated, however, that the film was either a straight adaptation or was inspired by the character. Regardless, this fantasy film involving sorcery and fantasy would be a dual effort between Band and his father Albert. Full Moon regulars such as Jeffrey Combs, C. Courtney Joyner, and David Allen would also be along for the ride. So, get ready to expand your mind as we explore the 1992 fantasy film, Doctor Mordrid.
Doctor Anton Mordrid (Jeffrey Combs) is a centuries-old sorcerer who's been tasked with protecting the Earth from evil forces. At the same time, an evil sorcerer named Kabal (Brian Thompson) plans to release his demon spawn upon the world. Meanwhile, Samantha Hunt (Yvette Nipar), a research consultant for the police, takes an interest in Mordrid given his reclusive nature. Mordrid keeps tabs on what Kabal is doing, namely that he's gathering alchemical materials to perform a spell. To confirm his suspicions, Mordrid goes to another dimension to find the gateway keeping Kabal's demons at bay. There, he finds all but one of the guards dead, the survivor Gunner (Ritch Brinkley) informing Mordrid of Kabal's plan. Eventually, Sam ends up getting involved when Mordrid is falsely arrested for murder and she learns about his true nature. It all culminates in a huge wizard's duel between Doctor Mordrid and Kabal.
Whether or not this was originally a Doctor Strange movie, Doctor Mordrid is still entertaining in its own right. Jeffrey Combs is perfect casting in the lead, lending the part tons of personality and charisma as he usually does. Brian Thompson, much like in Cobra, plays an entertainingly over-the-top villain, relishing in how larger than life his character is. Yvette Nipar makes for a good counterpart to Combs, having pretty good chemistry with him and taking charge when needed. The story is fairly simple, though there are some backstory and background information that could've been expanded upon. Richard Band's score here is easily one of his best, adding a sense of mysticism and wonder to the film. There's also some cool stop-motion animation from the late great David Allen, including a fight between two dinosaur skeletons. Doctor Mordrid is certainly one of the more unique Full Moon films.
However, there are some moments where you can tell that they were hampered by budgetary limitations, namely the visual effects. While the opticals for the spells aren't terrible, they are noticeably lacking and don't pop the way they should. Also, with a runtime of 74 minutes, the film goes by fast, but it feels like there could've been more. While many other Full Moon films like Puppet Master, Subspecies, and Trancers became long-running franchises, Doctor Mordrid never became one. It's disappointing because there's potential for future installments with Mordrid and Sam taking on all sorts of magical threats. Regardless of whatever lost potential there is, this is still one of the best films in Full Moon's catalog. The performances are great, the pacing is brisk, the story is simple, and there are some neat visual effects. Overall, Doctor Mordrid is an enjoyable fantasy film for fans of the genre.
Buy Doctor Mordrid from Full Moon's website: https://bit.ly/34WDbDz