By Clark Collis
Updated August 02, 2016 at 08:11 PM EDT
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Writer-director Joe Begos’ new film The Mind’s Eye is a deliberately retro-looking, synthesizer-scored horror film about telekinesis. Hey, that sounds a lot like Stranger Things: “About a year-and-a-half ago, everybody was like, ‘Oh, you can’t make a telekinesis movie with a synth score, what are you thinking?'” laughs Begos. “It’s like, ‘Well, I guess I was ahead of the curve because Netflix just dropped [a fortune] on exactly what you’ve just described!’ It would be nice if Netflix was like, ‘Hey, we’ll pay a bunch of extra money to get you on our service early, so people can watch Stranger Things and then it will immediately say, ‘You’ll also like the Mind’s Eye!'”

Alternatively? “Give me a episode of season 2, goddammit!”

The Mind’s Eye stars Graham Skipper (Re-Animator: The Musical) as Zack Connors, a young man with telekinetic powers who is desperate to rescue his similarly gifted girlfriend Rachel Meadows (Darling star Lauren Ashley Carter) from the hands of a deranged scientist with the very Cronenbergian name of Michael Slovak (John Speredakos from Wendigo). The idea for the film came to Begos while he was doing press for his first film, the alien movie Almost Human.

“Everybody was asking me what I wanted to do next and I was asking myself the same question,” the director says. “I really latched onto the idea of a telekinesis movie because I like going into some genre of horror that I really loved that we hadn’t seen in 30 years. It blows my mind that nobody’s making awesome, violent telekinetic horror movies! Or awesome violent alien abduction movies! It’s like, ‘I want to go make this movie!’ So I was talking about it on the press circuit: ‘Yeah, I want to make Scanners meets Death Wish.’ When the press tour was done I was like, ‘I don’t want to make any other movie now! That’s my next f—ing movie.’ So, that was the origin of it — me just talking out of my ass about what I wanted to see.”

Joe Begos

The Mind’s Eye has a cast list that essentially reads like an Ocean’s Eleven for indie-horror. In addition to Skipper, Carter, and Speredakos, the film also boasts appearances by Noah Segan (Starry Eyes, Some Kind of Hate), Matt Mercer (the Contracted franchise), Jeremy Gardner (The Battery, Spring), Brian Morvant (Pod, Darling), Josh Ethier (the real-life editor of both The Mind’s Eye and Almost Human, in which he also appeared), Shudder curator Sam Zimmerman, and horror director Larry Fessenden (Habit).

“There are a lot of these movies that come out where it’s like, ‘Oh, let’s get all of these horror names in it,'” Begos says. “But it’s like, ‘Oh, they have a cool look, and were in a couple of movies, but they’re not really that good as actors.’ In this, Lauren is just so goddamned good, Graham is just so goddamned good, Jeremy, Matt, Noah, Larry. I’m just so happy with everybody in the cast. It worked out great.”

Joe Begos

At this year’s Comic-Con, Begos promoted The Mind’s Eye at a Hall H panel devoted to indie-horror. The problem? Trying to find a clip from his gory movie that was appropriate enough to screen at the event. “I really wanted to show this awesome crosscut between a hand-to-hand bathroom fist-fight and a telekinesis showdown in the hallway that results in some stabbings and some exploding heads,” he says gleefully. “We needed to cut out an effect and bleep a swear word. We needed to make multiple edits to make it family-friendly.”

The Mind’s Eye is released in theaters, on VOD, and iTunes Aug. 5.See the trailer for the film below.

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