The Mind's Eye
The Mind’s Eye is my kind of horror movie.
It takes the concept of telekinetic powers made horrific and popular in films such as Scanners and Carrie and then expands them and explodes them in a joyously violent and exciting way that far exceed its independent, low budget trappings.
The story is about Zack Connors (Graham Skipper) a troubled loner with very strong telekinetic powers who, when picked up by the police, agrees to enter Dr. Slovak’s (John Speredakos) weird treatment center but only so he can find his friend and lover Rachel Meadows (Lauren Ashley Carter), also blessed/cursed with the powers of telekinesis, who’s been missing and is being held by the Doc.
They find out the Doc has been juicing on their considerable powers and is getting madder and stronger. They escape his grasp but he stops at nothing to get them back. Power is pitted against power in an exciting, bloody, violent, effects laden orgy of a finale. Featuring all the exploding heads, gore, shotguns and fire you could ever need!
When the film started, having coincidentally just watched Scanners recently and with the front cover proclaiming that this was “the best Scanners sequel we never got”, I have to say, I was a little skeptical. The initial similarity to the plot of Scanners did not help either. It did take a while for the film to grow on me. Once it gets underway though it’s like some brilliant, violent, gory, low budget X-Men movie as if it was directed by Stuart Gordon.
The acting, across the board, is wonderful. It manages to be nuanced and over the top at the same time and it stays, most definitely, the right side of hammy and ridiculous. The soundtrack/score by Steve Moore, too is an absolute throwback delight.
The direction and cinematography is professional, purposeful and inventive. While it doesn't quite have many wild, imaginative flights of fancy (except maybe in the gloriously Giallo-esque pink, red, green and blue lighting), it thankfully doesn't fall into the lazy, tedious and repetitive sin of shaky handheld camera either. It captures the action perfectly and quickly but with the pleasing, and seemingly retro, idea of using a tripod or a dolly track.
If there's any criticism at all to be thrown at the film it's that the interior sets and interior locations are fairly bland. This is fine because there's lighting, acting, mad effects and everything else going on in front of the boring sets but it did take me a little while to get passed it for some reason. Funnily enough the sets/locations look like authentic, mundane residences and pretty realistic. The kind of home that sadly litters the world like beige little boxes. Beyond that and an opening that steals a little too much from Scanners, The Mind's Eye was excellent, scary, weird, action packed and a breath of fresh air.
Not to mention a kick ass Larry Fessenden cameo (every film needs one of those)!
The Mind's Eye deserves to become an indie horror success like the movies of the late 70s and 80s did that the filmmaker, Joe Begos, so clearly admires.
I don't know how, in this day and age of streaming, video on demand and a million and one, who are we kidding, shitty independent horror movies made by film students who love Re-Animator, a film like The Minds Eye breaks out of all the noise except by good old fashioned word of mouth.
It can be despairing sometimes to look around at the modern horror that gets championed or inexplicable levels of marketing dollars thrown at them. It's usually a mix of unimaginative and uninspiring possession/ghost films, crappy found footage stuff, remakes or remakes of crappy found footage possession movies. As a horror fan it can sometimes feel like all the devilish fun and madness has been taken out of horror films.
Of course there is also the other end of the spectrum with films with names like Vampire Biker Zombie Ass Hole Dinosaur Babes that have always been around but basically are never able to live up to their name and while they may deliver some graphic and cheap exploitation thrills, never find that sweet spot in the middle where they are serious, scary, weird horror movies but also insanely fun and mad.
In the 80s we were blessed with tons of films that found the sweet spot. Films like From Beyond, Evil Dead 2, Phantasm and so on.
Well, look no further, The Minds Eye, finds that sweet spot.
The Mind's Eye is out on Blu-Ray, DVD and VOD today October 4th, find the links below!
- A Look Into the Eye of Madness Featurette
- Commentary with Writer/Director Joe Begos
- Producer’s Commentary featuring Joe Begos, Josh Ethier, Graham Skipper and Zak Zeman