When two brothers, Josh and Mike, go to a small southern town for a vacation, they find most of the residents either dead or missing. When Mike himself goes missing, Josh teams up with the local sheriff and an attractive school teacher to find him until Josh discovers that the whole town and most of it's people have been infected by a form of toxic waste, and they have all turned into toxic vampires whom prowl the streets at night for human blood!
Directed by: John 'Bud' Cardos
, Mark Rosman
. Starring: Wings Hauser
, Bo Hopkins
, Jody Medford
, Lee Montgomery
, Marc Clement
, Cary Guffey
, Jennifer Warren
, Danny Nelson
, Mary Nell Santacroce
, Stuart Culpepper
, Johnny Popwell
, Ralph Redpath
, Larry Quackenbush
. Music by: Richard Band
I saw this film as part of an anthology put out by Mill Creek Entertainment (which for the most part consists of older, somewhat forgotten movies that have passed into the public domain) however this one is a blast from the 1980s. Its technical values and special effects are excellent even if there are more than a few cliché'd and conventional plot elements to the film. It has the feel of a "made for TV" movie, movies that aren't quite good enough to make it as cinema fare, made by actors who spent most of their careers working in television.
Two brothers (Wing Hauser and Lee Montgomery) from the city decide to go on a road trip somewhere in the South. They immediately run into trouble as their vehicle is run off the road by a bunch of mean rednecks who just seem to enjoy terrorizing outlanders who wander into their domain. Who or why do they do such a thing? Who knows, being a Southern Redneck, who needs a reason? The car is pretty much forgotten as the brothers attempt to hitch a ride into town. Here they get a brief ride by another curious local who then dumps them shortly thereafter and then, after grossly underestimating the distance to the next town, gets on the CB radio to tell someone about them. It takes the boys well until after dark to hoof it into town, where they promptly get into a bar fight with the same guy who ran them off the road. And of course the other locals in the bar are equally unfriendly. They are also blissfully unaware apparently that strange things are happening in their town. A drunk wanders off and is killed in the shadows, but when the sheriff is brought to the place where the body is supposed to be, it is gone.
The sheriff, who has a drinking problem, is unfazed by this turn of events and finds the boys lodging at an eccentric local lady's house. Here Wing Hauser and his brother are put up in separate rooms, and while Wing's night was uneventful his brother is literally gotten by something under the bed. The next morning Hauser sets out in search of his brother and befriends a local schoolteacher who is young, attractive, and seemingly available. She provides Hauser with transportation for the rest of the film, as his car is still back some miles away lying in a ravine of course. Meanwhile he finds a dead child in the basement of the school where the teacher works, and of course here the same dude who attacked him in the bar, and ran him off the road, finds him there and attacks him again. He gets away but not before the crazy Redneck character accuses him of murdering the child, and the local doctor, a woman battling sexism in a small town takes to sleuthing and against standard procedure is allowed to investigate the death in here clinic instead of notifying the county coroner. Being an alkie, the sheriff's judgment is not the best and seems to think this is okay although later on his boss, who like all big time law enforcement types is very slow on the uptake, fires him for doing this.
From here things go rapidly from bad to worse, as an army of zombies with caustic blood descend. It is never quite determined for certain how the zombies are created or why the crazy Redneck character is so mean, but he is and they are, and it is frightening.
While the plot has more holes in it than Swiss cheese, the special effects are pretty good. Hauser even has time to investigate the cause of these zombifications and it turns out that some bad dudes are doing something with toxic waste. Why is never adequately explained. They are simply bad dudes who like to play with toxic waste and don't much care if the locals are being turned into zombies because of it. Hauser sneaks into their facility and catches them at it, but then they catch him and are about to turn him into toxic waste too when his teacher friend (of course) smashes through the barn door with her Ford sedan, surprising them and allowing Hauser to escape with her.
At this point Hauser finally remembers his brother and goes looking for him. The batty old lady objects to him invading her house of course, and he finds more and more zombies in the basement along with his dead brother. (Well solved that mystery, now shouldn't he and the schoolteacher be getting out of there? No. They stick around and look for people they have befriended.) They are trapped in a gas station and the zombies are closing in, when of course the crazy redneck intervenes again but fortunately the zombies get him. And then, just when it seems that the zombies are going to get them both, the county sheriff arrives with a size-able force and saves their bacon. And at this point Hauser and his girlfriend probably go off and get married, naming their first born after his dear departed brother.
I guess the beauty of science fiction is that things don't have to make sense, necessarily, as long as the action keeps moving along. However, I would like to know why that crazy redneck had it in for Hauser. Did he torment all city slickers this way? Didn't any of the locals sense something was going really wrong in their little community? And what exactly was the process by which normal people are converted into bloodthirsty zombies with caustic blood? Who knows? I know, I probably just think way too much.
Review by mikeg994 from the Internet Movie Database.