horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi, thriller

April 10th, 2017 Movie – Mutant (a.k.a. Night Shadows)


Once again, we have the wonderful problem of movies with the same titles at different points in their life. See, when I saw the title for this movie, I was worried that it was something I had already watched, though that movie itself was under a different title. See, I thought that this movie was the Roger Corman movie, which would later be known as Forbidden World. However, this movie was actually originally called Night Shadows when it first came out but then changed it’s name when it was released on video. So let’s see how good of a movie we have today as I watch Mutant.

The plot: A man is walking around an old house during a foggy night when he stops and collects a sample of strange liquid from the ground before heading down into the basement. He continues looking around until he discovers a body but as he turns to leave, he is attacked and killed by something and his lifeless corpse is dropped to the floor, with steam coming off of his face and neck. Some time later, Josh and Mike Cameron are driving down a country highway when Mike starts goofing off and almost causing them to crash into a pickup truck. As they continue driving, the pickup truck, with several rednecks inside it, begins slamming into them and eventually forces them off the road and into a creek. The redneck’s stop and taunt the two kids before driving off and Mike and Josh begin walking towards town. Eventually, they are picked up by a man named Mel and given a ride towards town, with Mel explaining that he is hunting little green men. Coming to a fork in the road, Mel says he is running late and lets them off and after driving away, he reports in on a CB about the two kids. Mike and Josh make it into town as it gets dark and the head towards a bar, noticing a man stumbling out across the street. As they near the bar, Mike hears something and heads off in the direction the drunk had gone and eventually finds his body, with the dead man’s face and neck covered in strange burns. The two leave and head to the bar to get in touch with the police when they are attacked by the same rednecks that ran them off the road. The fight is broken up by Sheriff Will Stewart, who kicks Albert, the leader of the rednecks, out of the bar. Mike tells Will about the body and they go to look for it but when they get there, they find the body is gone and a different drunk is sleeping in the same spot. After sending the drunk home, Will says he will take Mike to get his arm, which was cut during the fight, checked out but as the brothers walk off, Will notices a strange liquid on the ground and takes a sample of it. At Dr. Myra Tate’s office, Myra tends to Mike’s arm and has him wait in the waiting room with Josh while she talks to Will. Myra chastises Will for trying to kick them out of town so soon and says he should take them to Mrs. Mapes’ place to stay for the night. Will relents then asks Myra to examine the substance for him but when he goes to retrieve the sample from his pocket, he finds it is burning hot and has actually seared the glass. Will takes the boys to Mrs. Mapes’ house and she puts them up in rooms for the night. As he is getting ready for bed, Josh notices someone walking around out in the lawn and decides to check on Mike, wo is upset about how Josh doesn’t seem to care about the dead guy, and the two eventually go to bed. During the night, Mike hears something and thinks it is Josh fooling around but when he looks under his bed, something grabs him and drags him underneath the bed. The next day, Josh wakes up and sees Mrs. Mapes changing the sheets in Mike’s room but no sign of Mike. Heading into town, Josh sees that the gas station, and almost every other place except for the bar, is closed so he heads inside the bar. Calling out to see if anyone is there, he meets Holly Pierce, who tells him that the gas station has been closed all week but there is another one on the outskirts of town and she offers to take him there on her way to the school where she works. Meanwhile, Myra is talking to Will about the substance, saying it is human blood mixed with something else. They hear a crash coming from the back of the office and see that someone had tried to steal the office’s blood supply. At the school, Holly and Josh find one of Holly’s students, Billy, there and Billy says that his parents are missing but Holly tells him they probably just went shopping. As they are leaving, Josh and Holly hear something coming from the boiler room and Josh tells Holly to stay outside while he goes to check it out. Inside, Josh finds the deformed body of a little girl before he is confronted by the janitor, who happens to be Albert. Albert believes Josh killed the girl and starts attacking him but when Albert damages a pipe and causes steam to billow out, Josh turns the pipe on Albert, scalding his face and allowing him to escape. Will and Myra arrive and Will gets statements from Albert and Holly before he calls the county Sheriff’s office for backup only to find that they are short staffed and unable to help. Myra asks Will to let her examine the body for one night, as it has the same substance on her that Will had brought her and Will reluctantly agrees. Will goes to inform the girl’s parents but gets no response when he knocks and when he heads inside, he finds the girl’s father with some strange burns on his face and hands and the man warns him about their touch before he dies. Will calls the county sheriff and Captain Tom Dawson agrees to come down but when he gets there, Will says the body has disappeared and Tom believes Will has been drinking and seeing things. Holly takes Josh to her place and after she checks on her uncle, she finds Josh attempting to grab her keys to look for Mike. The two end up talking and eventually kiss before Josh suddenly keels over in pain. Josh comes too in Myra’s office, who tells him he had some sort of chemical reaction from when the body touched him. After Josh and Holly leave, Myra continues examining the girl’s body when she is suddenly attacked by her assistant, who had mutated into a zombie-like creature, and though she tries to escape, he grabs and kills her. The next day, Josh and Holly head to the car to see if Mike is there and when he isn’t, they head to a nearby company called New Era that deals with chemicals. Reaching the fence, Josh tells Holly to wait for him as he climbs over the fence and looks around. Seeing people heading into a barn, Josh goes to check it out and sees people dumping chemicals into a pit. Josh ends up getting caught and sees that the person in charge is Mel, who threatens to throw him in the pit they are filling with toxic waste. Suddenly, Holly drives her car through the barn door to rescue him and as they are escaping, Mel ends up falling into the pit of toxic waste. Josh and Holly head to the sheriff’s office and Josh tells Holly to go home and if he doesn’t show up, to get her uncle and leave town. Holly goes to her house and sees the kitchen has been trashed and when she goes to check on her uncle, he transforms and tries to attack her. Josh and Will show up and rescue her and then head back to the sheriff’s office to try getting help. When they are unable to get through to the county sheriff, Will tells Josh to head back to Mrs. Mapes’ house to see if Mike is there while he and Holly go to Myra’s office. At Myra’s office, they find the office ransacked and Will grab’s Myra’s tape recorder and plays back her attack. When they find themselves attacked by the zombies, Will manages to kill some of them as he tells Holly to run, then he locks himself in a storage room, where he finds Myra’s body. Meanwhile, Josh heads back to Mrs. Mapes house and looks for josh but when he searches the basement, she locks him inside. Josh finds Mike’s body when he is suddenly attacked by a zombie and manages to keep it at bay as he makes his escape but when Mrs. Mapes tries to attack him, he dodges her attack and she ends up falling down the basement stairs and is attacked by the zombie, who happens to be her daughter. Holly sees Billy running towards the school and chases after him, eventually finding him in the bathroom and after comforting him, they go to leave only to find themselves attacked by the other students, who have become zombies. They try to hide in one of the stalls but Billy is dragged out from the stall and killed while Josh shows up and manages to save Holly. Heading back to Myra’s to find Will but when Josh goes to check inside, Holly is attacked by zombies, who use the heat from their hands to melt the glass and try to grab her. Holly honks the horn to get Josh’s attention and he clears them away from the car so they can escape but one stays on the roof and causes them to crash. Making their way to the gas station, Mike and Holly begin making some moltov cocktails but Holly is grabbed by Albert, who plans to use her as bait so he can escape. When a zombie grabs Albert and drags him through the window, Josh and Holly use the moltov cocktails to try and save him but Albert is killed and they are almost overrun. Suddenly, several police cars show up and begin killing the zombies and as Josh and Holly leave the gas station, Will approaches them to see if they are ok. Will had gone to the governor’s office to get help and when Captain Dawson shows up, Will quits then asks Josh and Holly if they want to get a drink. As they walk off, a radio report is heard discussing the incident, before moving on to a report of New Era being awards contracts for 10 more plants.

It tried so hard to be a somewhat original movie and ended up falling flat on it’s face. The acting was ok for the most part, though at times it could be a bit tedious. The story was actually pretty interesting, with the idea of toxic waste mutating people into zombies being a nice twist, but it was kind of hindered by the special effects. The special effects were definitely on the low end, with the make up looking pretty bland and uninspired at times. Just another of the endless zombie movies from the 80’s, but not exactly one that you have to rush off to see.

Rating: 2 out of 5


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