The title & versions of the cover art can be misleading.
Lunar Strain | United States | 09/27/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When I originally bought the original Vestron video of Mutant many years ago, I thought I was in for some huge mutated monster movie due to the cover art (a beast head hovering over a town) and the title. This proves how misleading some incarnations of the cover art and title can be. To my surprise Mutant was a thinly disguised "zombie" movie and I will get into that more later. The title sequence is kinda of bad and I originally thought "yep, I got exactly what I expected." The film actually becomes a lot better as the movie trucks along. We start off with a killing and then delve into a story about two "city boy" brothers traveling along a remote southern highway where they run into some clich? rednecks who wreck their car. They are forced into going into a small town but the kicker is that toxic waste being illegally dumped near the town has turned many of the residents into mutated zombie like ghouls who start to feast on the blood of the remaining normal tenants of the town. Eventually it dwindles down to a few survivors (with Bo Hopkins playing an alcoholic run-down cop) having to escape the zombie-like hordes.
The idea of the mutant zombie creatures is actually interesting for this kind of film. The toxic waste changes the person's blood into a green/yellowish substance and swells. It swells to degree that their palms split. Through these splits the "mutant zombies" suck blood from victims like a leach. The make-up job on these ghouls is actually quit good and they have a nice terrifying appearance in dark corridors.
Not only are the ghouls impressive, but director John Cardos (Kingdom of the Spiders) is also able to make many great scenes of suspense. There are two terrific scenes with "zombies" attacking a women and a kid in a school bathroom and another when "zombies" surround a car and start burning through the glass to get to the person inside. I've been a horror film fan for years and nothing really makes me squirm, but there a a few number of scenes here that actually got me on the edge of my seat. He also moves the film along at nice pace and it builds and builds until the suspense filled climax. Nice job Cardos!
The acting here also brings this film up a couple of notches. Usually genre films like this have poor acting and actors that usually cause unintentional laughter. The cast here is very good lead by seasoned veterans Wings Hauser (Vice Squad) and Bo Hopkins. The supporting cast is also good and they all play the film seriously. There is a scene towards the end of the film where a female lead starts to lose emotional control and Hauser has to comfort her while being terrified himself. I really felt they were scared out-of-there minds. Thumbs up on the acting which is rare for this type of film.
The only really cheese thing is the story, which I know the story sounds like direct-to-video material. No doubt today it would be, but Mutant was made back in the early 80's and that was a great era because movies like mutant got a theatrical release and because of this, they a high-quality look them that director-to-video fodder sorely lack.
For horror fans looking for a nice mostly forgotten 80's horror film that actually has quality, then give Mutant a shot. It's got a great cast, good acting, nice effects, and some truly suspenseful moments. I was totally surprised by Mutant and liked it very much.
For some reason Mutant as been released in many different incarnations on DVD (4 that I know of). I originally bought the Diamond Entertainment version (It portrays the same cover art as the original Vestron video release)but its picture quality was no better than my VHS. By far the best edition available on DVD is the Elite Entertainment version sold here on Amazon. The picture is crystal clear (you can actually see what's happening in the dark scenes!) and in anamorphic widescreen. A beautiful release of a rare film. If you want to own this film, you owe it to yourself to get the Elite Version!"
It was OK, don't expect anything real gory
B-Movie Nightmares | Sparks, NV United States | 03/05/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I really can't believe how much people liked this one. The advertising made it seem like your typical Alien sci-fi/horror ripoff: "Mankind's deadliest threat will not come from the skies" plus there's the creature on the cover that does not vaguely resemble anything in the movie. As a zombie movie, Mutant definitely rips off Night of the Living Dead more than any sci-fi film. The story concerns two brothers who get stranded in a small Southern town. The townspeople are acting strangely, it's half deserted, and it ends up being toxic waste dumping that's causing the problem. Sound familiar?I actually enjoyed the "rednecks vs. the brothers" parts more than the actual horror scenes for some reason. Maybe because there was some humor in those scenes, I don't know. I think it was also because so many of the "scary" scenes were shot in the dark, which was probably to cut costs and keep you from seeing the cheesiness of the makeup. Plus the print itself looks pretty dark, which other reviewers have pointed out. It's a less-than-great picture and the DVD has no real extras.
Not much gore here, a couple gross scenes with the people mutating but overall it was pretty tame. The makeup on the zombies is standard corpse paint: most people could do as good a job for their average Halloween. This no-frills approach to the zombies does make them look like the original (Night of the) Living Dead somewhat. Also there's a scene where they're trying to get into a boarded-up house that is a straight up Night ripoff: it shows the hands sticking through the holes in the boards and everything. This movie could have been a lot better with just a few gore parts. Even when the zombies get shot there is really no blood.So if you really need to collect every horror film ever made (which at times I think I do ;), then by all means purchase Mutant. At least I got it cheap; I laugh at anyone who would pay full price for this generic disc. For what it's worth, you do get some cheap laughs with the rednecks and from some of the lines delivered by the completely untalented lead actress."
A less known classic for zombie fans!
Elohymn | Morgan Hill, CA United States | 06/28/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Zombie flicks have been my favorite movies ever since I saw "Night of the Living Dead" on Creature Features as a kid. Since then I've searched for other cool zombie flicks to see, like many other people have done. Well "Mutant" is one of those cool gems that has quiety slipped past people. I actually saw it the same day I saw "Day of the Dead" (one of my favorites) and still thought it was really good. The story takes a while to unfold but the pay off is sweet zombie action! For any fan of the zombie genre that hasn't seen "Mutant" do yourself a favor and buy this movie. It's worthy!"
Mutant: Love It or Hate it!
Better or Worse | 12/08/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"From the foregoing reviews this film seems to be a definite "love or hate" item. I can't pass judgement on the DVD since I've only seen the VHS version. I recall seeing the previews in the theater years back but it never arrived due to the bankruptcy of its producers. If the opening sequence doesn't grab you, then you may as well skip it. Beyond that, the film is quite a grab-bag of genres (red-necks busting on strangers in town, house with a secret, town with a secret, sheriff (good guy or bad?), etc. It's very similar in tone and action to Salem's Lot with a different underlying explanation. Make-up and gore effects are minimal but this fits in with the overall atmosphere. If you like moody, suspensful, low-key horror/sci-fi, you should check out MUTANT.
Omega Man Meets Return of the Living Dead
Joshua Koppel | Chicago, IL United States | 02/02/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This timeless horror film stars two brothers who run afoul of some hicks on a country highway. With their car stuck they need to hike into the nearest town to get a tow truck. Upon arrival the town seems dead except for a dive bar. Soon they discover a dead body alongside a building and go to the bar to make a phone call. Well the hicks are at the bar and a fight breaks out. Once the police are contacted, the boys don't have a whole lot of credibility especially when there turns out to be no body.
But there are strange things going on in town. Lots of people are sick and only a handful seem to notice just how bad the situation is. But it gets worse. A blood disease seems to kill and spread, turning victims into hungry zombies afraid of the light. They attack the living looking for blood. Well, one of the brothers is missing while the other refuses to leave without finding him. Thus we delve deeply into the horror brewing in the town. The horror escalates until the surprising ending.
This is one of those movies where you have to wonder where it got its title. Mutant is a very inaccurate title. But that aside, this is a good horror film that works. Sure, some of the acting is not as good as it could be but it is good enough. The zombie makeup is interesting and distinctive. There is no mistaking these guys for the living/unaffected. The horror is tied more into ecology than zombie pictures usually are but it was done well. Once things really get going this film just does not let up. Check it out."