I’m not sure if Wings Hauser was ever a ‘name’ star, but back in 1984 he fronted this interesting little offering that somehow found its way onto cinema screens.

Certainly low budget (and looking it), Mutant does have a couple of neat ideas and detours slightly from the zombie norm, although it is far from a classic.

Having worked up through the industry with bit parts in the likes of The Fall Guy and Magnum, PI, Hauser is given the chance to grab leading man status here and to be honest he isn’t that bad.

Hauser plays Josh Cameron, who along with his brother, are on a driving vacation.

After a run-in with some rednecks, Cameron’s motor ends up in a river and the two brothers are forced to walk to Goodland, a real Hicksville, USA type of place.

But there seems to be very few, if any, people around and things seem a little strange.

The situation gets bleaker when brother Mike (Lee Montgomery) stumbles across a dead body in an alley, only for it to mysteriously disappear when they contact the police.

Soon enough both Josh and Mike realise that this is definitely not a place they want to be as a story taking in toxic spills, zombies and a bit of human munching unfolds.

The first thing that has to be said about Mutant is that it takes a good while to get going – there is plenty of preamble involving the brothers, rednecks and ‘you’re not from around here’ type dialogue.

Things do get a lot more hectic towards the climax, as the Camerons are joined by a sheriff (Bo Hopkins) and a teacher (Jody Medford) as they look both for answers and a way out.

The effects are strictly low-grade stuff, and the zombie kills are strictly of the ‘shooting’ variety – anyone expecting any crowd-pleasing decapitations or the like will be sorely disappointed.

In a strange way though that adds a credible edge to proceedings, as while there is plenty of cliché on show nothing is played for laughs.

One major problem this suffers from though (or it may just have been the copy I viewed) is that, once again, everything is so damn dark, leaving you struggling to establish exactly what is going on in a number of sequences.

There is also an effort to throw in a ‘warning’ of an ending that does not really work.

The acting is OK (I have certainly seen worse) and that is pretty much a feeling that enthuses the whole film.

Mutant is far removed from ‘must-see’ material, but equally I have sat through a lot, lot worse.

 

AKA Night Shadows

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.