Something Strange – Doctor Mordrid: Poor Man’s Doctor Strange
Anton Mordrid (Jeffrey Combs) is a wizard from another dimension, who is sent to earth to protect the planet from his mortal enemy, Kabal (Brian Thompson), an evil alchemist who grew up with Mordrid but took the path of darkness and is determined to release the demons from hell on Earth. After 150 years, the signs of Kabal begin to appear and Mordrid, with the help of NYPD consultant Samantha (Yvette Nipar), must fight Kabal to save the world. Kabal must collect certain items to complete the spell, and Mordrid attempts to foil his plans, with the final showdown taking place at the Cosmopolitan Museum.
Sometimes the movie that comes out isn’t the movie it started out to be, which is kind of the case with the 1992 movie, Doctor Mordrid. The low-budget superhero/horror film was made by father-son team, Albert and Charles Band. Charles owned the film rights to Doctor Strange, but the option on those rights expired before he could start production, so instead of throwing it all away, they adapted the script to use original characters. The movie even had some early concept art done by Jack Kirby.
The film is hampered by its budget and the technology available at the time using what would now be considered cheesy special effects like flashing lights and “OK” stop motion animation. Mordrid’s costume is very 90s, with an all-blue monochrome high-waisted suit, with a matching cape and a magic amulet (very similar to the “Eye of Agamotto”). The script is simple with little to no depth, but like many films of its era, it has a certain charm. There are some interesting clues for plotting points that are never really explained. Mordrid often holds a picture of himself and a woman and stares with longing eyes; who is the woman and what is her story. Jeffry Combs makes a good Mordrid, he’s always had an “otherworldly” aura about him, so it’s not too far off to think he’s from another dimension, but I don’t think I could imagine him as Marvel’s Doctor Strange. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast isn’t as good. Samantha Hunt isn’t bad, but her dialogue, especially between her and Detective Tony Gaudio (Jay Acovone of The beauty and the Beast) is clunky and doesn’t feel authentic, which is a shame, because I love both of these actors. Brian Thompson is pretty much a one-note actor who still plays the same kind of villain. He’s found his niche and is sticking to it (good for him), but that leaves the characters he plays as one-dimensional with no real depth, and Kabal is no different. The actor looks good shirtless and just to make sure the movie appeals to teenagers, there’s an unnecessary scene with a topless woman played by Julie Michaels.