The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at] I'd love to check out what you got.



Hi everyone, it's been a while since I checked the page, and I wanted to make a few announcements.

First and foremost, it appears a dubious site has claimed the old url, meaning any link in any review that goes to the old mattmovieguy url is corrupt. I'm in the process of trying to remove them all, but it's a lot! It's best not to click on any link without hovering over it first to make sure it doesn't have mattmovieguy in the url.

Second, it appears since my last trip to the blog, Photobucket has decided to charge for third party hosting, meaning none of my images are appearing anymore. That's simply an aesthetic issue, but still annoying.

Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.


Thursday, January 3, 2008

Mutant aka Night Shadows (1984)


I first got wind of this movie through a friend, and ended up buying it cheap (one cent before shipping) on Amazon. Unfortunately, the transfer was pretty rough. The picture had these trails whenever anyone would move, and it made us feel like we were on acid. I looked on the box, and "DVD" was written in lower case letters, maybe indicating its cheapness. The cover image I have above is from a different release, so maybe that one is of a better quality.

Mutant is about two brothers, one played by Wings Hauser, who are going on an end of school vacation. Wings is a dick, apparently, and he pisses off some rough dudes who run his car off the road. While the two are waiting in town for the car to be fixed, they run into the toughs again, and sheriff Bo Hopkins tells them to stay at some old woman's house while their car gets fixed. Wings' brother disappears over night, and he has to find him. As he does, he learns the townsfolk have been subjected to toxic waste and are turning into zombies. With the help of Hopkins and a hot teacher/bartender, Wings has to do everything he can to get out of town alive.


As zombie movies go, I've seen better... and I've also seen worse. This is no Romero film, but it has a certain charm due to its age that makes it a little more interesting to me than say a 28 Days Later or Resident Evil, especially more than the latter. It's just a good film to put on with some friends and yell at the screen.

One of the elements that makes it so entertaining is our resident DTVC Hall of Famer Wings Livinryte. He's definitely livin' right in this. He plays a heel to start with, then gradually redeems himself because he wants to impress the hot teacher/bartender. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you're so inclined) he has no sex with food scene with this woman like he did with Kathleen Kinmont in Art of Dying. It's funny, because the zombies in this were pretty gross, yet nothing they did was ever grosser than that sex scene.


Speaking of the zombies, they were interesting. They had no set group of abilities or detriments. I'm not saying some were good at somethings and others at others, I'm saying at one point none of the zombies could run, then in another scene they were running, and then in another they were limping again. Depending on the convenience of the plot, they were either easy to kill or escape from, or lethal, unstoppable killing machines. One of the funnier parts was how the zombies had these gashes on the palms of their hands that oozed this yellow liquid. It was like a white grape juice stigmata.

Bo Hopkins, surprise surprise, plays a sheriff in this. He's always playing a sheriff. He actually plays a sheriff in another Wings Hauser movie, Nightmare at Noon, which also features the late great Brion James. It's hard to argue with it, because if I were making a film, and needed a small town sheriff, I can think of few people who'd fit the bill better than Hopkins. Maybe Billy Bob Thorton or Kevin Sorbo.


Looking at the back cover, I noticed that one of the producers was named Dick Clark. I figured there was no way it was the same dude, but an imdb check confirmed it. The world's oldest teenager produced a Wings Hauser zombie film. He's uncredited in the movie, so it's probably only later that his name was associated officially with it. I wonder if he let Wings hang with him that year for New Year's Rockin' Eve. I bet he didn't even return Wings' phone calls.

This is worth your time if you rent it or can buy it cheap. Remember, though, that some transfers, like the one I have, are crap, and if you paid more than a buck or two for it, you'll feel ripped off. The good one's probably the one with the image I have at the top. The one I have has some weird creature with big teeth that isn't even in the film on the cover. Stay away from that one, unless you want bad acid flashbacks.

For more info:


  1. I think the best dvd version to go for is the one from Elite Entertainment, which I've watched several times and really recommend. It looks marvellous compared to, say, the Brentwood version, which is hideous.