Sunday, March 15, 2015

Short Attention Span Review: Mutant (1984)

I'm pretty sure that Mutant (a.k.a. Night Shadows) is a bad movie.  It may even be a terrible movie.  I'm also going to give it a decent grade here because I believe that it is very entertaining.  Honestly, it may actually be a good movie--fairly good anyway.  Forgive me, sometimes it's hard to tell with these schlocky horror flicks.  I am sure of this: if it is good, it's not very good, and if it is bad, it's of the "so bad that it's good" variety.  The leads are Wings Hauser and Bo Hopkins, so that definitely earns the picture some credit in my book.  I'm a big fan of Wings and I feel that his B-movie legacy is the stuff of legend.  He has also appeared in some major films, to include his amazing performance in Vice Squad, a personal favorite of mine.  Bo Hopkins was a charismatic and likable performer who always did a great job of playing Bo Hopkins.  Not surprisingly, he plays Bo Hopkins well in Mutant.  Together, Wings and Bo hold this creative shocker together despite some flaws, most of which pertain to the lackluster creature effects and make-up.  Yet there are some decent scares and the plot sprinkles a few surprises in the mix to keep us on our toes throughout.  There are a host of maniacal hillbillies that our heroes must deal with when they aren't on the run from a new breed of zombie/vampire/mutant/I'm-not-really-sure-exactly-what-the-hell-these-things-are.  These shambling mystery monsters are the result of the reckless disposal of volatile waste, making Mutant another of those "Man fucks with the ecosystem, man gets eaten" stories they taught us about in high school.  Only man doesn't get eaten this time out--it's a twist!  These things that resemble sick people wearing Alice Cooper make-up have slits on their palms that ooze acidic slime.  If they touch you and get this perilous slime on you, you get to join the club.  Hey, it's different, and it ramps up the tension considerably during the rollicking finale.  With zombies, you can fight them off so long as they don't sink their teeth into you, but with these things you're toast if they manage to touch you.  The direction from John "Bud" Cardos (the man responsible for Kingdom of the Spiders) is solid and the film zips along.  For whatever reason, I'm actually really fond of Mutant, and while some will surely view it as a failure, I'm definitely going to give it a passing grade.

Final Grade: C
I'm pretty sure that I've hung out with this crowd at a party before.

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