Back in August of 2007, Protozoic conducted an interview with Steve Barnett, the director of Mindwarp. It seems that Mindwarp is going to get screened at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin Texas this Octorber 2! I can’t imagine what seeing Mindwarp on the big screen is like. If you are in Austin then, be sure to check it out.
Here are the details:
October 2, 2008
Also read more about the screening here.
For more information visit www.originalalamo.com.
Ever so often a B-movie comes along that goes beyond its modest budget and genre trappings to do something more, something unexpected, something prophetic and just sometimes even better than the films it predicts. The virtually unknown Mindwarp (1990), directed by Steve Barnett, is one of these movies. Showing a debt to author William Gibson and pre-dating films like The Matrix (1999), directed by Andy and Larry Wachowski, unlike the The Matrix, Mindwarp does not fall prey to romantic triteness. Whereas The Matrix naively suggests that the global-everyman (or nondescript-mannequin as played by Keanu Reeves), could fight and change the system, Mindwarp realistically posits that ideals put into practice are more apt to fail than they are to succeed. The Matrix remains at its best, like Star Wars before it, a cultural event, and at worst, a hackneyed intellectual hodgepodge told and sold with martial arts and leather trench coat cool. Mindwarp conversely is never easy to swallow. Hiding its compelling story in high-concept gore, the film features the legendary talents of both Angus Scrimm and Bruce Campbell. With its supergroup cast, you would expect that the film would be as well known as Scrimm’s and Campbell’s respective calling cards, Phantasm (1979), directed by Don Coscarelli, and The Evil Dead (1981), directed by Sam Raimi. Yet the film has yet to even see a proper DVD release. And it needs one desperately along with a commentary from its director Steve Barnett. For now Mr. Barnett, who is no longer directing but is working as a vice-president of post production at 20th Century Fox, has kindly answered a couple questions here.
How did your involvement with Mindwarp come about?
After editing trailers and features for Roger Corman’s Concorde Pictures, I directed BACK TO HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD for him in 13 days. Rodman Flender, the executive on that film, recommended me to the producers of MINDWARP. This was the first movie for Fangoira Films and they needed someone who could bring it in on time and looking like a real movie. I had a pretty good take on the material, and I took a chance in telling them that the script was a terrific yarn that fell apart in the second half. I guess they agreed, since they hired me. I worked with writers Mike Ferris and John Brancato (aka Henry Domonick) and the producers to get the story working better in the second half and then beating it to within the confines of the very limited budget. My wife had turned me on to William Gibson cyber-punk, and this show fit into that world very neatly. Ferris and Brancato created a wonderfully twisted world (five different worlds actually) filled with bizarre and memorable characters. I managed not to screw it up too badly.
Continue reading Interview with Steve Barnett, Director of Mindwarp (1990)