1990s R-Rated Sci-Fi Violent Action Spectacular Could Disappear

By Matthew Flynn | Published

Fortress, a pulse-pounding science fiction action film directed by Stuart Gordon and released in 1992, may have earned itself a cult following but could be lost to posterity. Gordon, who had previously written and directed Re-Animator and From Beyond, created a unique world that deserves the attention of modern viewers but now is unavailable to stream or watch on video on demand.

From The Mind Of Stuart Gordon

Gordon drew inspiration from Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City, California, to develop the oppressive visual style of Fortress. The choice of a supermax prison with more than 1,000 solitary confinement cells was appropriate for Gordon, who wanted the film to be a commentary about the shift in the goal of prisons from rehabilitation to punishment.

A Major Star Is Involved

Set in a dystopian future, the plot revolves around John Henry Brennick and his wife Karen, who find themselves in a maximum-security prison for violating the one-child policy. The story unfolds as they strive to escape and protect their unborn child.

Fortress features recognizable stars like Christopher Lambert (star of Highlander and Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes), who insisted on performing his own stunts, Loryn Locklin, and others. It was shot at Warner Bros. Movie World in Queensland, Australia.

A Financial Success

Fortress garnered a mixed reaction from audiences and critics alike. Despite being a financial success, critiques varied from applauding its energetic imagination and striking visual style to dismissing it for its poorly constructed storyline.

Over the years, Fortress has had several releases. It was initially available on VHS, Laserdisc, and DVD in various territories. However, it has not been restored, and no proper physical media release has been offered in years. Physical media plays a crucial role in the world of films. It provides an unparallel level of quality, control, and permanence that digital formats often fail to offer.

In Need Of A 4k Re-Release

The richness of physical media formats, especially 4K releases, offer higher quality visuals and audio that enhance the viewing experience. Equally important, fans aren’t subject to the caprices of streaming platform execs who can choose to drop films on a whim.

Given its cult status and the standing Fortress has with some die-hard sci-fi fans, a restoration and 4K release would not only honor its legacy but drastically enhance its visual and audio experience. The film’s striking visual style, as noted by critics, could be exceptionally amplified in 4K resolution, revealing intricate details and creating a more immersive viewing experience.

Even B-Movies Need Preservation

A 4K restoration of Fortress could also serve to correct any age-related deterioration present in the original physical media releases, ensuring that this dystopian tale is preserved for future generations of film enthusiasts. Additionally, this could provide an opportunity to include new special features, interviews, and perhaps even director and cast commentaries, offering fans a deeper insight into the filmmaking process and the creative decisions behind this unique movie.

Fortress Deserves A Second Chance

Without a proper restoration and release, fans and those interested in just checking out the movie could have to resort to watching low-resolution versions taken from old VHS tapes that get posted on YouTube. Before long, Fortress could be yet another interesting sci-fi movie from yesteryear that is spoken of more than watched and only available as a bootleg or at collectors’ prices at conventions.