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Invasion of the Mindbenders (1987)

Starring Roy Thinnes of the 1960s series “Invaders” and “The X-Files.” This is another Canadian production. 

Finally, I was able to find this movie, and after the first 30 seconds, I thought perhaps I may be wasting my time…  This is an extremely low budget… cheap… and ridiculous movie…  it has really bad over-acting, bad sound, bad editing, cheap production values, and is attempting to be some sort of “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” silly teen comedy… and essentially fails at this, but…

I had fun watching this shitty movie.  Anyone who has seen “Interface” (1985) perhaps might be interested in this. This high school (like any high school) is having problems with a few students, and the principal (Roy Thinnes) has this guy from the “Behavior Modification Research Institute” try out a new system which uses sound to control behavior of students. This is not so far fetched, one can go to youtube and punch up videos which have certain frequencies on them which are designed to do exactly what is being presented in this movie.   The movie’s not that smart though, but this technology does in fact exist, and there’s a whole bunch of things people have used it for, and I’ll leave it to you to listen to them and decide or imagine what could likely be out there in real life… They are going to shut down the student radio station (because they don’t like rock n’ roll anyways) and broadcast these subliminal sounds over the speaker system to make students docile and suggestible. The main characters are the student D.J.s at the radio station and of course rebel goofballs who wear headphones all the time so they are immune to the mind control and decide the faculty have to be stopped. 

As soon as I saw the Max Headroom poster on the wall in the high school radio station, I had to see where all this
was going.  This movie is trying to do more than what they really have the resources for (decent actors, decent sound recording equipment, a good camera, money to buy props, etc) and it’s dumb, but the script isn’t entirely idiotic, and while the ‘actors’ are over-acting so much it’s ridiculous,  it moves along and the story itself is actually fun but I cannot make any kind of 'universal recommendation' for this, many people will be absolutely annoyed with the astoundingly bad over-acting which is really the worst part of this shit film.  There’s some insane things that happen that in the context of such a low budget film that are quite amusing.  It IS idiotic, but it can be fun to watch as often even the worst of the worst produced 'satire' can still be for some reason. 

There’s little things that happen here and there, and lines here and there which are actually commendable, and since this is not a Hollywood production, you get something that strays a little from something you might see from Paramount, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox or whatever. You get terrible acting, but better over-acting than weak acting. In this case it works a little better, though I can see this being annoying to some people out there. It’s rebellious at heart and subversive at heart, and even though this isn’t even on the level of Class of 1984, or Class of 1999 for that matter, it’s silly concept of brainwashing students, where rock and roll is the antidote, and turning them into mind-controlled robots carries this movie exactly where you’d want it to go.  This is terribly made, and that could be enough all by itself. They set someone's head on fire... for real, and that could be worth seeing... 

There’s some good ideas (at least fun ones) in this, and like Interface (1985), if you can handle the ridiculous performances and bad production value, there’s some fun to be had here. Clearly this film is lacking in professional quality, it’s like watching somebody’s first attempt at filmmaking, where they borrowed money from their uncles and used their credit card, but the difference here as it so often is from independent movies from the 80s is… it’s still on film!  Film somehow makes this all the more viewable than something people make today with an HD video camera. This is what you’d call a ‘crap movie’ but one still worth watching if you’re interested in old 80s obscure movies, and still want to be entertained. I was surely entertained, and actually had fun, I didn’t even fast forward anything. Personally I wanted to see what they were going to do with the ‘mind control’ plot with the computer programs, the subliminal tones, and how the kids rebel. Like Interface (1985), it’s all pretty pretentious, but there’s still something there trying to say something or do something subversive, funny or crazy with the premise. Sometimes even Troma Films don’t even have that, that silly edge which one might describe as ‘punk’ or rebellious, we’ll call it ‘80s satire.’  It’s not anything profound exactly, it’s simply trying to be outrageous and if it’s not only crazy but has something like allegory, or any kind of social commentary, no matter how pretentious, it can still all be worth it. This is a stupid movie most definitely, and it does try a little too hard to be funny, and attempts to be other movies out there that it isn’t, that it couldn’t be if it tried, but in spite of this, it’s still interesting to watch what they do with it. 

This isn’t exactly “so bad it’s good” but there’s enough “bad” that either I kept watching because I wanted to see just how hard they would try, or just what was it they were trying to do. In some sense what is here is in Class of 1999, only instead of cyborg teachers, it’s simply this mind-control plot. This isn’t the only movie of it’s kind, and I’m guessing it is trying to be one of these other kinds of movies, but it is still satire, so in a world where it seems nobody even gets what satire is, perhaps I’ll take what I can get.  Any movie which attempts to make statements like this, like what you might see in movies like “They Live” is still worth watching in my opinion, because there are so few of them, no matter how ‘bad’ they really are. 

There’s a lot of trash out there pretending to be ‘satire,’ and there’s satires that are so trashy they get sidetracked from their central purpose.  This might be considered a 'must see film' if you've decided to go out and film your very own movie, look at what's working and what isn't, a perfect teaching tool for those attempting this sort of comedy.  The production value can end up being so bad, it's hard to believe, and yet, I've seen worse from LIONSGATE. There are even big budget films that can't manage a story as coherent as this one, which is even more depressing.  You have been warned, but if you're into weirdness, this is worth a look. 

I'm going to have to make a solid list of movies like this, they seem to be of their own category, like Interface (1985), The Tower (1985) and a few others which have absolutely terrible production value--the worst, bad acting, and ridiculous plots, but there's something so weird about them, they're actually worth watching.


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  3. ...interstellar travel (humankind go to future)...whether in 6,000 years of History slowly we have came here; with religious throwing sand in Progress gears (religious destroyed the Library of Alexandria, religious damned to Galileo Galilei because he said that Earth it´s moving, religious piteous religious, recently, have bribed "scientists" who said, again, that religious fallacy of "the Universe rotates around of a immobile Earth"...); since now with exponential Progress³ of Science and Technology... WHAT AFTER 1 MILLON YEARS WILL THERE ARE?...One thing, will there are NOT: poor nor ignorant, and therefore...WILL THERE ARE NOT RELIGION... Other thing, will there are: WILL THERE ARE TECHNOLOGICAL Or is that someone believes that Human, being how it is...go itself conform to some unjust limit?... We will eat the speed of light and the distances of the Universe with fried potatoes.

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