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John’s Horror Corner: Mutant (1984; aka Night Shadows), a toxic waste zombie movie.

October 3, 2019

MY CALL: This B-movie movie isn’t particularly good or bad—very middle of the road. If you’re patient with weak special effects backed by an enthusiastic filmmaker, then it’s serviceable. The more of a “bad movie night” you desire, the better this will serve you. MORE MOVIES LIKE Mutant: For more alternative zombie movies, try The Curse (1987), Flesh-Eating Mothers (1988), The Boneyard (1991) and Zombeavers (2015).

At the start of their vacation, two entitled popped-collar brothers have a rough car-crashing encounter with the hillbilly locals. Now injured and without a car, Josh (Wings Hauser; Tales from the Hood, Watchers III) and Mike (Lee Montgomery; Ben) are stuck in a small southern town where businesses are closing, half the town is sick, and people are disappearing. Even Mike disappears their first night there!

As Josh goes about searching for his brother, more strange things occur. There’s a break-in at the local doctor’s office stealing all the blood, a child with leech-like mouth-slivers on her hands is found dead, and folks infected with something behave like zombies! These zombies have terrible make-up, their skin pulsates a little (not an impressive effect, at all), and they are hungry for blood. And what’s to blame? Toxic waste!

Like so many bad horror movies before, the local doctor (or scientist in some movies; e. g., The Nest, Mimic) seems to be an expert of numerous fields including genetics, invertebrate biology, microbiology and hematology. The alcoholic sheriff (Bo Hopkins; Dusk Till Dawn II, Tentacles, Phantoms) and a cute school teacher also come to Josh’s aid.

This movie opened with some guy using a dropper to collect some oozy discharge milky goo from the lawn of an old McMansion estate. This goop gets a lot of attention, it oozes from these zombies’ hands, and like The Toxic Avenger (1984) contact with these mutant zombies burns the flesh.

We see some madcap hammed-up zombie acting. These mutants roar like dinosaurs and come at you with their hands in the air as if a 7-year-old was doing his best monster impression. It was especially amusing when the bald redneck zombie breaks “zombie character” to catch a falling fellow zombie (after he’s shot). I’m also not sure why they’re so slow in most scenes, when we saw a zombie sprint earlier in the movie like a 28 Days Later (2002) rage zombie way ahead of his time. But, to be fair, these are really minor criticisms given that these mutant zombies drink blood through their palm-vaginas. Yes, that statement is hardly an exaggeration!

This movie isn’t particularly good or bad—very middle of the road. If you’re patient with weak special effects backed by the enthusiastic filmmaker director John ‘Bud’ Cardos (Kingdom of the Spiders, The Dark, The Day Time Ended), then it’s serviceable… maybe. The more of a “bad movie night” you desire, the better this will serve you.

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