Doctor Mordrid (Jeffrey Combs) is a sorcerer from the Magic Dimension who has been sent to Earth to stop the evil sorcerer Kabal (Brian Thompson), who wishes to unleash his hellspawn upon the world. Aiding Mordrid is Samantha Hunt (Yvette Nipar), a police consultant with a passing interest in the supernatural.
Some concept art was made by Jack Kirby.
This film provides examples of:
- Astral Projection: Wizards are capable of leaving their bodies behind so that their spirit can fight elsewhere. Their projection is immune to harm, though it does leave their bodies vulnerable.
- Behemoth Battle: Kabal and Mordrid animate a Tyrannosaurus and Mastodon skeletons respectively in the final confrontation at the museum to slug it out.
- But Now I Must Go: The all-knowing Monitor commands Mordrid to return to the Magic Dimension after the villain's defeat so that the wizards' existence doesn't become known to humanity, though Mordrid returns right before the credits roll to be with his Love Interest.
- Captain Ersatz: Doctor Mordrid (played by Jeffrey Combs) is Doctor Strange; the villain Kabal is more or less Baron Mordo. This is because Jack Kirby designed the character as an homage to him.
- Combat Pragmatist: Mordrid. Having a hard time magically hurting the demonic warlock trying to unleash literal hell with fate of the world at stake? Throw Wizard Duel chivalry out the window and just have your multi-ton skeletal pachyderm charge and gore him.
- Dragon Their Feet: After Kabal is defeated by Mordrid, his one surviving minion, Adrian appears to try to kill Mordrid's comatose body while his spirit is still outside his body.
- Evil Sorcerer: Kabal.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Again, Kabal. Brian Thompson is known for his deep, powerful and thundering voice.
- Eye Scream: Mordrid travels to the Magic Dimension to inspect the Hellgate, which is only guarded by a single man who has had his eyes burned out by Kabal. Mordrid uses his Healing Hands to restore his eyesight.
- Fanservice: Kabal appears to be about to bed his female minion, but he really wants to sacrifice her flesh.
- Fossil Revival: During the climax, Kabal animates a Tyrannosaurus skeleton to keep Mordrid from interfering with his ritual, prompting Mordrid to animate a Mastodon skeleton to counter it.
- Groin Attack: Near the end of the movie, Samantha kicks Adrian in the nuts while he was temporarily frozen in time via a magic spell from Mordrid and when the spell itself had worn off, Adrian had fell down to the ground while aching in a complete state of excruciating pain.
- Hell on Earth: The Evil Sorcerer Kabal's goal is to unleash his horde of hellspawn from where they are locked up in the Magic Dimension.
- Hollywood Satanism: Adrian.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Mordrid finally kills a distracted Kabal by having the animated Mastodon skeleton gore him with its tusk.
- Maybe Ever After: The film ends with Mordrid joining Samantha for a Christmas dinner between the two of them. Though it appears they feel something for each other we don't know how far their relationship will go.
- Obliquely Obfuscated Occupation: Samantha gives her job as "researcher" for the police department, which could mean just about anything.note
- Philosopher's Stone: The stone is one of the elements needed by the villain to open the sealed Gates to Hell.
- Villains Blend in Better: Kabal can't be said to blend in all that well on Earth, but he certainly grasps how to operate there a lot faster. In a very short period of time he manages to figure out where to get all the materials he needs and which individuals to mind-control into getting them for him, recruits two willing humans to his service, frames Mordrid for murder, and is well into casting his world-ending spell before Mordrid catches up to him. In contrast, Mordrid has spent a hundred years on Earth preparing for this very situation but gives up even trying to maintain The Masquerade the moment he's arrested, with the result that he spends most of the second half of the film either in the custody of or on the run from the police and only barely manages to catch up to Kabal in time to stop him.
- We Can Rule Together: Kabal gives Mordrid the standard "join me and we'll rule this world together" offer, though with more cause than most examples as they used to be sworn brothers. Mordrid naturally refuses, pointing out that wizards have no right to rule humanity.
- Writers Cannot Do Math: Mordrid explains that he's spent a hundred years on Earth preparing for Kabal to break free and attack. This sounds fairly impressive, but thanks to the time differential between the Magic Dimension and Earth, this means that Kabal was only actually locked up for a little over two weeks before managing to break loose and enact his plan to destroy Earth.
- Wizard Duel: In the climax, the heroic sorcerer Mordrid and the villainous sorcerer Kabal do battle in the halls of the Museum of Natural History. Further complicated because Mordrid is only present through an astral projection, so Kabal can't assault him directly while Mordrid can do everything right back to him. This prompts Kabal to animate a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton and have it attack random people to make Mordrid back off, but Mordrid fights fire with fire by similarly animating a Mastodon skeleton to hold off the dinosaur while he deals with Kabal.
- Year Outside, Hour Inside: Time passes differently in the Magic Dimension; Mordrid's visit to check the Hellgate lasts no more than perhaps five minutes, but he's gone from New York for a week.