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The Hills Have Eyes Part III: Mind Ripper (1995) - Blu-ray Review

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The Hills Have Eyes Part III: Mind Ripper (1995)

Turns out that the fucking hills, blistering hot in the sinking desert of the southwest, STILL have eyes.  They just don’t have Michael Berryman wandering across them anymore, but - like most genre flicks made in the 1990s - they do have rampaging genetic experiments stomping across their sands looking for scientists to kill.  

"It’s a murderous hunt by-the-numbers in this B-grade horror flick that, in spite of its strong cast, goes nowhere rather quickly"


Horror maestro Wes Craven wasn’t quite done with The Hills Have Eyes series after the second film crashed and burned.  While that film faded fast from the public’s view due to its production woes and its resulting insanity , this one - originally released on HBO - somehow keeps finding an audience. Maybe that’s due to it having only the slimmest of threads connecting it to the other films or maybe it’s because Mind Ripper, a change in the title coming from production fallouts, comes straight out of left field with its barbed tongue that will pierce skulls and suck brains dry.  

Or perhaps it is all the Marvel Comics references that run through this mutated horror film.  Set in an underground bunker in the middle of the desert, this film does seem to wear its influences rather tightly.  The creature at the center of this madness is named Thor and, created by a team of nuclear research scientists hellbent on mass-producing top secret super soldiers for the military, is a direct result of a serum gone bonkers.. {googleads}

Regardless of its inspirations, Mind Ripper has gone on to earn a slight cult following of its own that does indeed accept that this film is the third in the series.  The idea for this mutated monster just took awhile for Craven and his son, Jonathan Craven, to come up with as an experiment - who killed itself - is brought back to life thanks to a juiced-up serum designed to make mutants out of men..

Starring Lance Henriksen, Giovanni Ribisi, John Diehl, Natasha Gregson Warner (Natalie Wood’s daughter), and Claire Stansford (hubba, hubba, hubba), Mind Ripper settles into its story of being hunted by one of the weirdest mutants in the desert rather quickly as James Stockton Henriksen), the creator of the serum, is called back the underground bunker to put an end to his creation.  He tried to ward them not to do it, but his team wanted the glory and, now, they are paying for it dearly . . . with their lives.  

So, as a sort of last minute family outing, he flies his son, his daughter, and her boyfriend to the desert to be hunted by the monster that was created the second they shoved the needle deep into its skin.  And this mutating monster, evolving throughout the film, is completely pissed off. You would be, too, if your tongue was now barbed and your hair fell out while your eyes started to bulge and turn yellow.The Hills Have Eyes Part III: Mind Ripper (1995)

It’s a murderous hunt by-the-numbers in this B-grade horror flick that, in spite of its strong cast, goes nowhere rather quickly.  There are some cool make-up effects on the mutant involving his tongue and eyes and the practical gore is always appreciated, but this one is just this side of slight when it comes to essential viewing.  That being said, the 2K transfer is a nice touch for fans of this forgotten flick.

Suck on this!  The Hills Have Eyes Part III: Mind Ripper is now available on blu-ray thanks to a brand new 2K scan of the original interpositive from Code Red DVD.

2/5 stars

The Hills Have Eyes Part III: Mind Ripper (1995)

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Ronin Flix Exclusive / Mind Ripper / The Outpost

Home Video Distributor: Code Red DVD
Available on Blu-ray
- December 5, 2020
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: None
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

The late great Wes Craven (Scream) planned to produce the third in his classic The Hills Have Eyes franchise and let his son Jonathan take the directorial reigns but a last minute title change gave us Mind Ripper instead of part three of mutant family sagaI.  Starring the legendary Lance Henriksen (Aliens) as a scientist who accidentally resurrects a fully blown brain-hungry cannibal during some re-animation experiments, 1995's flick is a more supernatural slant on the slasher formula than the demented desert terror of The Hills Have Eyes. Even so, fans of slice and dice delirium can expect plenty of stalking, suspense and splatter theatrics in this all-time classic of video rental violence, now finally unleashed in HD from Code Red DVD.

Video:

The 2K 1080p transfer is pretty great, pumping up the lines, the shadows, and the colors.  However, this isn’t the best looking production in the world. Go in knowing that. But the work here sure beats any prior release of this horror film on the home video market.  Don’t go in expecting much texture, though. The effects shots are really the only moments of good texture. Most of the picture looks a bit dull and lifeless; the colors don’t pop as much as one would expect them to.  Again, the make-up looks strong and the shadow levels are passable but there’s little filmic quality to the transfer. This is the fate of these low-budget affairs.  

Audio:

Fortunately, Code Red DVD has done their best and gives us what details there are to mine out of the print with a solid DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

There is a theatrical trailer.

  • Theatrical Trailer

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 2/5 stars
  Video  3/5 stars
  Audio 2/5 stars
  Extras 1/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

2/5 stars

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The Hills Have Eyes Part III: Mind Ripper (1995)

MPAA Rating: R for sci-fi gore and some language.
Runtime:
108 mins
Director
: Joe Gayton
Writer:
Jonathan Craven, Phil Mittleman
Cast:
Lance Henriksen, Claire Stansfield, John Diehl
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
The Government Created Him. Now They Must Destroy Him.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Loose ends come back to haunt you."
Theatrical Distributor:
Multicom Entertainment Group
Official Site:
Release Date:
October 8, 1995 (TV premiere)
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
December 5, 2016.
Synopsis: Government scientists attempt to reanimate a corpse they found in the desert, but end up inadvertently creating a monster.

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The Hills Have Eyes Part III: Mind Ripper (1995)

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