24th Aug2019

Frightfest 2019: ‘Mutant Blast’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Maria Leite, Pedro Barão Dias, Joaquim Guerreiro, João Vilas, Mário Oliveira, Clemente Santos, Francisco Afonso Lopes | Written and Directed by Fernando Alle

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You know a film has to have a certain quality when it gets picked up for distribution by Troma; and if you’ve seen director Fernando Alle’s previous shorts: Papa Wrestling and Banana Mother***ker, you’ll know what that quality is… sheer creative insanity. And Mutant Blast is no different!

The film tells the story of Maria, a fearless soldier who, after rescuing TS-347, a man with superhuman strength, is being pursued by a military cell responsible for scientific experiments that created TS-347 AND resulted in a zombie apocalypse. On the way, they meet Pedro, a man with few ambitions and a great hangover (and imagination). Together, they will try to escape to a safe place, but complications cross their paths in the form of a nuclear bomb. Or ten!

If ever there was a film that was much more than it’s synopsis, it is Mutant Blast. This film is so much more than just a zombie apocalypse and a chase. It’s also some of the weirdest visuals committed to celluloid outside of Far East cinema (and you thought Big Man Japan was weird movie!). Mutants, monsters, freaks and weirdos and MORE! It’s also a whole heap of fun. Psychotic fun but fun nonetheless.

Well I say psychotic fun but this is definitely not the work of a mad man. This is the work of someone who has watched a LOT of low-budget genre movies and has an affection for them – including those films made by Troma; for there are incredibly Tromatic scenes here, reminiscent of the likes of Poultrygeist and the Nuke ‘Em High sequels. Mutant Blast also has echoes of a myriad of Italian post-apocalyptic movies, latter-day Italian zombie movies (like those made by Claudio Fragasso) and even a hint of the work of Bruno Mattei… In a good way of course! And as someone who grew upo in video stores in the 90s the buff TS-347 that is “rescued” by soldier Maria reminded me of the Project Shadowchaser DTV movies – maybe its because Joaquim Guerreiro’s superhuman TS-347 is eerily similar to Frank Zagarino’s android character Romulus?

What I’m trying to say in all that, is that Mutant Blast is the kind of genre mish-mash that Italian cinema became renown for in the 80s and Troma made famous in the VHS era – yet it still features the modern-day sensibility of a kick-ass female lead in actress Maria Leite.

The biggest surprise of Mutant Blast though – besides the sheer insanity within – is that the film bleeps out the “Z” word (and even replaces some letters of the word with asterisks on the subtitles), as if calling it’s flesh-eating characters that is a dirty word. It even becomes something of a running joke that these flesh-eaters are NOT zombies. Is it a bad word because of the connotations of the genre? Or because zombie movies are played out? Whatever it is, it’s not long before Alle’s film takes a bizarre turn into even more lunacy when the zombies are replaced by radioactive mutants and Pedro gets a a new “friend”… who has to be seen to be believed!

Honestly, Mutant Blast is the most sheer FUN I’ve had with a genre movie in what feels like an age. It’s gory, irreverent, and just on the right side of bonkers to be one hell of a crazy ride and one hell of a recommendation. This is the kind of good-bad movie that Troma are ideal distributors for!

***** 5/5

Mutant Blast screened on Friday 23rd August as part of Arrow Video Frightfest 2019.

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