Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mutant X: Lazarus Syndrome – review (TV Episode)

dvdDirected by: John Bell

First Aired: 2002

Contains spoilers

I was never a huge fan of Mutant X, though I did catch the odd episode. It just seemed a little sub-X-Men, despite coming from the Marvel stable itself. Indeed I believe that, until Fox threatened some legal action, the original form of the programme was designed to be even more X-Men like.

This was a Season 1 episode – aired on Zone Horror as Boxing Day 2008 viewing – and, as I have said innumerate times, vampires get everywhere. In this case, however, it was not a traditional bloodsucker, oh no, but an energy vampire and a mutant to boot. Note that the episode title refers to the biblical Lazarus who was raised from the grave.

new meaning to sucking faceMutant X members Brennan (Victor Webster), flinger of electricity, and Emma (Lauren Lee Smith), empath and (I would say more accurately described as a) mind reader, are out on the town and in a club. Emma orders a drink only to discover from the barmaid (Raven Dauda) that it has been paid for. The drink buyer is Caleb Mathias (Andrew Kenneth Martin) and they dance. When Brennan looks they have vanished. Outside they kiss, Emma suggests it is going a little fast and he kisses her again, drawing the energy out of her. Lucky for Emma, Brennan comes along.

the baddiesSeason 1 bad guy Mason Eckhart (Tom McCamus) is less than happy as 6 potential mutants seem to have vanished – all female. He wants subordinate (and elemental) Pamela Fries (Larissa Laskin) to find them, rather than being a human hotplate for his cold coffee! Meanwhile Emma and Brennan have returned to the club with team mate Jesse (Forbes March) – his power the ability to change his body density.

seeing her fearThey question the barmaid but she denies all knowledge of what’s going on. Emma, however has discerned that she is scared. Back at base the feral Shalamar (Victoria Pratt, who we have met before in the later Brotherhood of Blood) has discovered about the 6 women. Leader Adam (John Shea) orders Emma back to base but Brennan finds Caleb and they fight… that is until Fries comes along and runs Caleb down, killing him.

Victoria Pratt as ShalamarEmma is meditating when she starts to feel (and see) Caleb. She is convinced he is not dead and is drawn back to the club. Brennan and Jesse hack the morgue and see Caleb wheeled in and then walk out with Fries. When Emma goes missing they are on a race against time to find her before she becomes a snack again.

energy vampireVampire-wise we have the feeding on (mutant specifically) energy and there is a conversation where Caleb is likened to a modern day vampire and is said to be “amongst the walking dead”. Eckhart is told what is going on when a sample of Caleb’s blood is examined and it is not only alive but regenerating, which kind of brings a blood motif into the programme.

rapid decayThere is a really large genre nod when Caleb dies – oh come on, it surely wasn’t that much of a shocker was it. Adam works out that to kill him they must kill him twice. What this means is that once revived he needs to feed, kill him again, before that happens, and he should be permanently dead. By the time that happens both Fries and Emma have been killed. On second death he corrupts – like a traditional vampire post staking – and the energy he has stolen is returned to Emma and Fries, reviving them. This is also like freeing the victims by killing the vampire in more traditional tales.

excuse for a gratuitous cleavage shotWhat the programme did not consider was whether the same would have been true for the 6 other victims. Were there slightly decomposed women waking in shallow graves… It would probably have been more interesting if there was. You see the problem with this was that it was more than a little boring. The director failed to gain any sense of danger or excitement through the episode. Atmosphere seemed to be reliant on a stone angel in the club, in other words there wasn’t any.

Not a great episode, for either the series or as a stand alone vampire piece. 3 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

No comments: