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After being forced off the road by locals, the two brothers Cameron end
up at the nearest town -Goodland- but there's nothing good awaiting
them, besides the aggressive rednecks, they'll also come face-to-face
with some "nasty" residents.
With all the bad reviews i've read, I was expecting yet another boring 80's movie but that's not the case. At times it may appear slow paced but despite that it remains effective, capturing your interest.
Good acting. Good make-up. Good score. Not a lot of blood being spilled, just chemicals, transforming residents into zombie like creatures. A little gem, worth watching. It certainly worked for me.
I first saw this as part of the bottom half of a double bill in the mid-eighties. The headliner was Ghoulies but this was a lot better than that. I watched it again recently and it holds up well after all the years. So, if you are looking for a good old fashioned zombie movie that doesn't depend on gore and more on the characters stuck in tricky situation, well then, give it a go. You could do worse.
This movie, sadly, went unrecognized. I am a fan of B movies mainly because they view a part of out mind we haven't or may never see or think about, an almost creative part. Anyway, this movie was pretty good in my view. However, I think they should've stuck with the name Pestilence because that sounds so much more deadly than Night Shadows (sounds too much like a haunted house movie) or Mutant (sound too much like a mutant monster movie like Spawn of the Slithis or The Being). Anyway, if you really like zombie movies, especially any of the Night of the Living Dead trilogy (yes, it is a trilogy) or Dead Alive (aka Brain Dead), you might really like this movie.
Maybe it is the fact it was scored so low that it surprised me. Everyone talked how bad it was so I just had lower expectations, but in general I thought this was a good horror movie. About a guy and his brother in a town down south, they run into trouble with the local rednecks right away. Then the younger brother disappears at the boarding house the two stay at. The older one then tries to find out what happened to his brother and what is happening to the town. I always like the mysterious town scenario so that is another reason I like this one. Some gore, but most of the killings are a bit to hard to see. I did not let it ruin the movie for me as it did for some of the others who have commented, still though you will notice it is particularly bad in the finish. However, overall I thought it was a good horror movie with a relatively good cast and all. I loved the scene where little Billy gets it...was not expecting that.
If like me you think zombies should be seen and not heard (spouting
silly one-liners) and prefer them plodding about exhibiting only the
most primal, instinctive deadly behavior (not blabbing about what they
are going to do) then this movie is for you.
Like the original Night of the Living Dead, this is a low budget indie which relies more on suspense and action than on grandiose special efx. The zombie make-up is excellent, however. It's creepy, and it's uniformly applied. No flesh-colored necks under pancaked faces here, or rubbery slop on their faces. This one was done with care.
The story starts slowly, but hang in. There is enough action to kick it off, but it takes a while to realize how good it'll get. Although there have been dozens of zombie flicks made over the years, less than a handful have succeeded at being suspenseful throughout. This one fits in there with the original Night of the Living Dead and Fulci's Zombie.
Wings Hauser is great, as is Jody Medford, in roles reminiscent of the original Invasion of the Bodysnatchers. Bo Hopkins and Lee Montgomery help round out a very likable and capable cast.
And yes, as a disgruntled viewer pointed out, there have been a glut of toxic spill zombie films. They began with Return of the Living Dead, which was released a year AFTER this one.
The only negative (and it's glaring) is the badly lit transfer to DVD. Sadly, the scenes affected most are the climactic ones. This one definitely deserves to be remastered. If that happens, I'll be first in line to buy another copy.
The citizens of a small town start to disappear, and the few remaining people discover a local toxic company has had a toxic spill that has turned the people into blood thristy mutants or zombies. Technically well made, the story is familar though. Scary and exciting in a few scenes, but the film strives to be scary throughout and misses the mark by a little bit. Still a worth while film, but no classic. 7 out of 10. Also, the effects are good. Available on video as Mutant. It played in theaters as Night Shadows.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If anyone out there wondered what a gore-eschewing, spooky atmosphere
emphasizing, modestly produced, yet still capably acted and directed
backwater Hickville, USA-set cross between "Macon County Line" and
"Night of the Living Dead" would be like, this surprisingly sound
lethal toxic mutants running murderously amok downhome horror feature
will answer your questions quite nicely. All the staple Southern-fried
drive-in movie ingredients are present and accounted for: two clean-cut
young Northerner brothers are treated with utmost inhospitality by the
belligerent local yokel residents of a tiny armpit stick burg they're
just innocently passing through on a cross country road trip, some
nefarious cost-cutting company surreptitiously dumps illegal
radioactive gunk in the forest which in turn causes a few townies to
transform into blue-faced nocturnal zombies with rapidly diminishing
blood who kill hapless folks for their precious life fluids, a
skeptical recovering alcoholic sheriff (an excellent Bo Hopkins in his
umpteenth redneck lawman role) refuses to believe in any of it until
it's too late, only a token sweet, sympathetic odd gal out
barmaid/school teacher nice lady (the quite fetching and appealing Jody
Medford) sides with the boys, and things eventually get distressfully
out of hand, leading to a rousing last reel appearance by the National
Guard to save the day in the nick of time.
Yeah, nothing about this particular flick manages to be really surprising or original as far as the story is concerned. However, sometimes the story alone doesn't make a film good; the performances and execution matter a lot, too. Luckily, said execution, specifically Al Adamson protégé John "Bud" Cardos' punchy, right'n'tight proficient direction (Cardos also gave us the superior 70's killer animal winner "Kingdom of the Spiders" and the not half bad sci-fi/horror offering "The Dark") and tireless, ever-reliable B-movie composer Richard ("Parasite," "The House on Sorority Row") Band's eerie, understated score, run on all cylinders with bang-up effectiveness. The performances are all on the money as well: the always intense and compelling Wings Hauser and the affable Lee Montgomery are strong and personable as our luckless sibling outsider protagonists, burly Marc Clement makes for a fabulously hateful villain as a bellicose hillbilly bully, and both Jennifer Warren as a smart, perceptive doctor and Cary Guffey (the little tyke who gets abducted by the aliens in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind") as an ill-fated teenager who in the single most nail-biting moment gets attacked by the mutants in an abandoned high school bathroom contribute fine support. And, most unusual in an 80's horror picture with this premise, the expected graphic splatter gets refreshingly downplayed in favor of an at first sinisterly ambiguous and quietly unnerving flesh-crawling creepy tone which later thrillingly gives way to several stirring, zestfully staged shock scenes and action set pieces.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Pretty standard material that's given a decent treatment with a lot of
HEART is what I say about Mutant. Big corporation dumps toxic waste in
a small town which turns the residents into mutant zombies. Wings
Hauser is an out of towner that has car trouble and teams up with a hot
teacher and the drunk sheriff to find out what's going down after his
Surprisingly little gore save for some decent air-bladder-under-latex-prosthetic mutating effects and some bloody squib shots and squirting wounds. Also, the zombies have cool "toxo-powers"--they can burn through windows with their acidy toxic fingers. Actually, this movie works as a thriller pretty well if you dig the "shambling zombies gang up on folks" scare tactics. Pretty solid film overall with good acting. 7/10.
Similar movies that are better than Mutant, in my opinion: C.H.U.D. (it's a good movie!); Zombie 3.
Movies that Mutant kicks the crap out of: Night of the Comet; Rabid.
The cover box called this movie 'Mutant' so I knew it wasn't going to be
about flower arrangement (good) and it starred Wings Hauser (could be good
but then again he could overact mightily) and it was very cheap might be
awful) but as it was a wet tuesday I bought it. Much better than I
Wings was restrained, Bo Hopkins good as usual and the other cast members fine. The two female leads were particularly good. They all took part in your usual chemicals contaminates town turning folks into murderous zombie type things sort of plot but the photography was atmospheric, the music creepy or emotional as appropriate, the make up scary and it all built up slowly but surely to a suspenseful ending.
The ordinariness of the setting makes it more frightening. It could be happening in the next town to you!
Two brothers vacationing through the south of the country are obligated to spend the night in the small town of Goodland after their car breaks down. Once there, they learn that a chemist industry is throwing highly toxic garbage on the rivers and the soil, and this product is turning normal people into blood-thirsty mutants.In many ways, Night Shadows is similar to Night of the Living Deads, only with better special effects and more action. The involving score gives the right tone to the film´s tense atmosphere. For a low-budget picture, it has good performances from the main actor Wings Hauser and from Jody Medford as his love interest. Given it's a horror movie, surprisingly Mutant isn't bloody or violent, instead it concentrates in creating suspense, when it's what we don't see that really scares.The death of Hauser's brother is a perfect example of how to give the chills without recurring to gore.Director John Cardos makes good use of lighting and photography,especially during the final minutes, when the mutant attack happens in the middle of shadows and fogs, and the survivors (Hauser and Medford) have to barricade themselves inside a bar.
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