Doctor Strange has had a long and peculiar trip to the big screen. He’s always been one of Marvel’s most visually appealing heroes. His magic spells and interdimensional locales have made him ripe for adaptation. In fact, he even got a TV movie back in 1978. It’s clear that filmmakers have been enticed by the Sorcerer Supreme since he first appeared in Strange Tales #110. Actually, there is one film out there that was originally going to be called Doctor Strange.
Epic B-movie producer Charles Band had made a deal to adapt the Doctor Strange character back in the ’80s. However, the option had expired before production on the film could begin. Instead of scrapping all the work that had already been done, Band decided to rewrite the script and turn all the Doctor Strange elements into original concoctions. And thus, Doctor Mordrid was born.
The movie is from Full Moon Features, and anyone familiar with that production studio should know what to expect. To be fair, the production is a lot of fun. The magic effects and sets are charming in a cheesy way. The real reasons to watch Doctor Mordrid are the two leads. Jeffrey Combs and Brian Thompson are both dependable B-movie actors and they have a lot of fun here. Thompson is especially enjoyable as a scenery-chewing baddie. Combs does a good job with all the pageantry and showmanship of being a master wizard. But, the movie is a bit of a slog and doesn’t have the budget to realize some of its bigger ideas.
What Remains of Doctor Strange?
So, what remnants of Doctor Strange remain in Doctor Mordrid? We have to admit that we don’t know what original elements from the comics were intended to go into the movie. This is pure speculation. However, it seems pretty clear that the villainous Kabal was supposed to be Baron Mordo. Mordrid and Kabal grew up together and are now enemies. Kabal is trying to open a portal to the Fourth Dimension and unleash demonic minions upon the Earth. This sounds awfully close to Baron Mordo’s drive in the comics to release Dormammu from the Dark Dimension.
There is also an otherworldly being known as the Monitor who sends Mordrid to Earth to stop Kabal. The nebulous nature of the Monitor conjures up comparisons to both Eternity and the Watcher, powerful cosmic beings who have tangled with Doctor Strange more than once.
Doctor Mordrid is a nice curiosity for fans of the Sorcerer Supreme. It’s a peek into the lower budget Marvel movieverse that also houses such fare as Nick Fury and a whole bunch of Captain America flicks. It took a long time for Marvel to become the powerhouse that they are, and Doctor Mordrid is an important part of that history.