Before Scott Derrickson’s ‘Doctor Strange,’ There Was ‘Doctor Mordrid’

Director Scott Derrickson’s Doctor Strange is officially headed to theaters in the U.S. on November 14, 2016. However, this isn’t the first time someone has attempted to make a major motion picture featuring Stephen Vincent Strange.

After writer/director Philip DeGuere, Jr. attempted to get a television series off the ground back in the late 70s — the end result being the 1978 TV movie Doctor Strange — rumor has it that the property ended up in the hands of Charles Band and Full Moon Features. This was during the days of Albert Pyun’s Captain America, and the Dolph Lundgren version of The Punisher. In other words, hopes probably weren’t very high.

For the uninitiated, Full Moon is the studio that brought the world Puppet Master, Subspecies, and the killer film series Killjoy. While the B-movie fan dwelling in this writer’s soul would love to have seen what Charles Band did with the property, the company ended up losing the rights before the project came to fruition.

Instead of ditching the idea altogether, Charles Band and his father, Albert, rearranged a few of the finer details, changed the title, and eventually released the underrated 1992 direct-to-video effort Doctor Mordrid. As Moviepilot points out, the folks at Full Moon Entertainment recently released the flick for the first time on Blu-ray.

Instead of Sherlock star and fangirl favorite Benedict Cumberbatch, the film starred veteran character actor Jeffrey Combs, probably best known for his roles in Re-Animator and director Peter Jackson’s horror/comedy The Frighteners. The film follows the adventures of an otherworldly scholar named Dr. Anton Mordrid, a man who’s tasked with preventing the villainous Kabal (Brian Thompson) from taking over the mortal realm.

The film is packed with all sorts of nifty sorcery, cunning alchemists, mysterious amulets containing mystical powers, and, of course, a Doctor Strange-esque hero battling a demonic baddie with designs on complete world domination. It’s surprising that Band and Full Moon didn’t get a visit from Marvel’s lawyers at some point.

Despite the film’s obvious budgetary constraints, Doctor Mordrid was the closest thing fans had to a proper Doctor Strange movie at the time. Since comic book flicks weren’t major Hollywood commodities at the time, you pretty much had to take what you could get. However, in this writer’s humble opinion, Doctor Mordrid is still as fun today as it was back on VHS in 1992. Of course, the film will probably serve as nothing more than a curiosity piece for those raised on The Avengers and The Winter Soldier.

Scott Derrickson’s adaptation of Doctor Strange, meanwhile, is slowly but surely coming together. In fact, according to CNET, the filmmaker shared a little pre-Christmas surprise with fans of the superhero on Twitter. Cumberbatch fans, prepare yourselves accordingly.

If you fancy B-movies, love Jeffrey Combs, or enjoy pre-X-Men comic book cinema, then give Doctor Mordrid a shot. The film is thoroughly entertaining, and it may satisfy your Doctor Strange-oriented cravings until Derrickson’s film hits the big screen in 2016.

[Lead image via Full Moon Entertainment]

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