Josh Cameron (Wings Hauser) and his brother Mike (Lee Montgomery) are driving through the South on vacation. The brothers haven’t spent any time together in quite some time. Josh wanted to get his brother out of the city and into the country. While traveling down a country road Josh starts horsing around and almost runs a truck off the road. The truck turns around and starts playing a game of road tag. Josh’s car gets run off the road and into a stream. The truck driver is a local hothead named Albert Hogue (Marc Clement). He and his friends laugh and drive away. Josh and Mike get a ride from a man who says his name is Mel (Stuart Culpepper). He drops them off near the town of Goodland so they can get someone at the local garage to tow their car and fix it.
Mike finds a dead man in an alley. He goes to the local bar to call the sheriff. They run into Al and a fight ensues. Sheriff Will Stewart (Bo Hopkins) shows up and stops the fight. Mike tells him about the dead guy. When the sheriff goes to look, the man is gone.
The sheriff drops them off at Mrs. Mapes’ (Mary Nell Santacroce) boarding house for the night. During the night something drags Mike away. In the morning Mrs. Mapes tells Josh that Mike left early, and she hasn’t seen him. Josh goes looking for his brother but finds mostly an empty town. He meets Holly Pierce (Jody Medford), a local schoolteacher whose uncle owns the bar. Holly tells Josh that almost everyone in town has some kind of flu. They find the dead body of one of the school children at the schoolhouse.
The local doctor, Myra Tate (Jennifer Warren) tells the sheriff that the girl has been infected be some kind of toxin. Josh suffers a reaction from exposure to the dead schoolgirl. Josh remembers seeing a sign outside of town about a chemical plant. He investigates and finds that the company who owns the plant is pumping toxins into the ground. The toxin has been turning the residents into flesh eating blue meanie zombies.
“Mutant” AKA “Night Shadows” was released in 1985 and was directed by John ‘Bud’ Cardos. It is a science fiction horror thriller, and a zombie movie.
The film was originally supposed to be about a germ warfare facility that had an infected lab worker escape and infect a town. Instead, the script was rewritten to incorporate a toxic waste hazard. That change ended up being a good idea. The film turned out much better than I expected. In fact, if you’re looking for a good zombie movie, this is it.
Unfortunately, the film experienced poor box-office results. It was the last movie to be distributed by Film Ventures International. Not long after that, the president of Film Ventures, Edward L. Montoro, disappeared along with one million dollars of the company assets. Neither the money no Montoro have been seen since.