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A Review

Directed by John "Bud" Cardos and starring Wings Hauser, "Mutant" is a low budget zombie chiller straight out of the mid 1980's fascination with such topics. In the same year "Return of the Living Dead" was released and "Day of the Dead" would follow the year after. So it appears as if zombies were the hot topic of their time back then when this movie came out.

It's not strictly a zombie movie in the Romero sense, this is more along the lines of a Raimi zombie, they prey after humans (in this case their warm blood) are act quite similar to zombies in terms of lack of a good sun tan and a rather crooked set of claw-like fingers etc. These zombies are all brought about by a chemical plant situated in Goodland, the small town in which all this madness takes place.

The story involves two city-slicker brothers who come to the country for a peaceful (or so they think) getaway vacation. But after meeting some of the rowdy local boozehounds, they are run off the road and are forced to walk to the nearest garage (in Goodland). However, on their hunt around the town they discover a mutilated corpse and quickly proceed to the local bar to use the phone, but inadvertently come across the same rowdy residents all over again. Fortunately for them, Bo Hopkins in his familiar Sheriff role saves them and is led to the site of the body, which is now gone, only leaving behind a small sample of a strange amber fluid.

And so it is set up, two city slickers stuck in the armpit of nowhere and the first thing they find is a dead body which goes missing leaving them in the middle of a mystery, not to mention looming terror.

It is not long before the plot thickens and Josh's (Wings Hauser) brother (Lee Montgomery) goes missing and so a search throughout the day ensues leading Josh to meet several more of the town's characters, but this search soon turns into a line of death and terror. Before he knows it, Josh is caught up in a whirlwind mess of crazed zombie-like residents who have gone wacky on the toxic chemicals in the water (somewhat reminiscent of Romero's "The Crazies" in this respect). Fighting is the only way out, but with their every move followed by hoards of blue-faced monsters, it's not going to be easy.

This low budget horror is a quaint little B-Movie that keeps you riveted. The creatures remain a mystery until near the end and the bloodlust is kept to a gory minimum to retain tension, much like keeping the setting cast in the dark of night. This, to me at least, is what was great about mid-80's low budget horror, a nice little story, ALL the lights off and a mysterious threat looming till the spine-chilling climax.

This is how a nice little horror movie should be done, not the way all these young punks do it now what with the likes of teeny-bopping, self-referential thrillers. Thank God there are movies out there like this, and then others which are similar such as "Night of the Living Dead", in this day and age where nothing scares you anymore (unless it's "Dog Soldiers", now that was scary!).

Mutant is a prize choice to make if you are into 80's horror cinema as it is clearly a product of the era and is a nice way to spend an hour and a half. Some may say it's not great, but I have to say it's a hell of a lot better than a hell of a lot of movies I've seen recently which call themselves "horror".

Don't just take my word for it, go and see this movie yourself (purchasing links are found on this site), and enjoy a time when movies could be simple, yet still send chill upon chill up your spine.

*Reviewed by MinionZombie (c) 2002*