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Mind Snatchers, The

Entry updated 4 April 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (1972; vt The Happiness Cage; vt The Demon Within). International Film Ventures, Ltd. Directed by Bernard Girard. Written by Dennis Reardon and Ron Whyte, based on Reardon's play The Happiness Cage. Cast includes Joss Ackland, Ronny Cox, Ralph Meeker, Birthe Neumann and Christopher Walken. 94 minutes. Colour.

US Army private James H Reese (Walken) has an altercation with guests at a party given by his girlfriend Lisa (Neumann) which ultimately results in his arrest for assault. Reese comes to the attention of The Major (Meeker) after being diagnosed as schizophrenic. The Major is in charge of an Army programme dealing with Psychological matters, and feels Reese will be a good subject for the work of Dr Frederick (Ackland) – a Scientists researching methods of controlling pain in the terminally ill via brain implants that stimulate the pleasure centres. Frederick hopes that Reese's aggression may be dealt with by such means. Taken to the doctor's remote house laboratory, Reese meets Sergeant Boford Miles (Cox), who is terminally ill. Boford receives the brain implant but goes berserk, raping a nurse. When Reese then tears away the wires to the implant, Boford dies from the shock. Reese escapes briefly but is recaptured and given the implant. He himself refuses to push the button that activates his pleasure stimulation, but The Major does so and turns Reese docile. At a concluding news conference, Reese is presented as "cured" while The Major secretly works his controls from behind the scenes.

The Mind Snatchers is a low-budget production that occasionally shows its origins as a stage play; it explores some of the later themes of A Clockwork Orange (1971) and is of modest note as an early screen credit for Christopher Walken. [GSt/DRL]


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