Mutant (1984) is a horror film directed by John “Bud” Cardos and starring Wings Hauser, Bo Hopkins, Jody Medford, and Lee Montgomery. The movie was initially released to theaters as Night Shadows, but it premiered on video with the Mutant title, which it has retained for all subsequent releases. The plot revolves around two brothers, Josh and Mike, who are on vacation in the South when they are run off the road by Al and his friends. They eventually make it to a small town whose inhabitants are getting sick and some are disappearing.
The sheriff, Will, takes them to a bed and breakfast to stay for the night. As they’re sleeping, something comes from under Mike’s bed and drags him down. Josh begins looking through town to find his brother. He meets a schoolteacher named Holly who agrees to help. As they leave the school, they hear strange noises in a storage room. As Josh checks it out, a body of a decomposed schoolgirl falls on him. Al (who is a custodian) accuses him of murder and chases him off, leaving with Holly to her uncle’s place where he recovers from the toxic reaction from the girl.
As Will is about to take the body to the coroner, he’s convinced by Dr. Myra to let her get the body for a night, hoping that she can find out what is causing the sicknesses and other strange happenings. Will goes to the schoolgirl’s residence, where he sees the lightbulbs removed and all the red meat sucked dry. He then finds the dying father. As the Captain makes his way to the house, the body is suddenly gone. Believing that he’s been drinking again, the Captain fires Will. As Dr. Myra begins recording her autopsy, her assistant suddenly becomes a mutant and attacks Dr. Myra.
Next morning Josh and Holly head out to a plant that some chemical company just opened a few weeks ago, thinking that this could be the cause of the sickness. As he sneaks in, he finds them dumping toxic waste into the hole before he gets spotted. Holly is able to drive into the building, causing the distraction, allowing Josh and Holly to escape. Will is reluctant to believe their story, but when he sees Holly’s uncle become a mutant, they formulate a plan to get the girls body and take it to the capital to get backup.
Josh heads back to the bed and breakfast to search for Mike. He ends up finding his dead body in the basement. As he’s being attacked by the owner’s mutant daughter, Josh is able to break out of the basement and throw her mother down there. As Will and Holly enter Dr. Myra’s office, they are attacked by mutants. Holly is able to escape, while Will barricades himself in a room where he see the deceased Dr. Myra. Holly goes to the school to chase down a student named Billy. As they try to leave, a large group of mutant children corner them in a stall of a bathroom. The mutants kill Billy, but Josh arrives in time to rescue Holly. They head back to Dr. Myra’s office to look for Will, but they can only find his hat and gun. As they try to leave, they are surrounded by mutants and are forced to hide inside a gas station.
Josh and Holly start making Molotov cocktails so they can make an escape. However, Al was hiding in there as well and attacks Holly. This causes Josh and Al to fight, allowing the mutants to hear them and attack. They kill Al while Josh and Holly are forced into a corner. Suddenly, a large group of state police cars surround the gas station shining their lights. The mutants become blinded and confused, allowing the police to kill them. Will appears telling them how he got the girls body to the capital as well as getting confessions from the chemical plant employees.
A news story appears on a radio detailing the incident in town. They also mention the chemical company starting a new facility somewhere else.
- Wings Hauser as Sheriff Stewart Rogers
- Bo Hopkins as Bonnie
- Jody Medford as Joshua Wessinger
- Lee Montgomery as Mike Camfield
- Mary Beth McDonough as Arlene Wessinger
The low budget film was shot in under three weeks.
Director John ‘Bud’ Cardos also made Kingdom of the Spiders.
The mutant creature was played by stuntman Scott Springer.