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The Mutations (1974) — Episode 68 — Decades of Horror 1970s

“It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature…… it can be HORRIFYING!” the overzealous tagline for The Mutations  (1974), aka The  Freakmaker, promises a monster film for the ages. To be fair, some stills from the film of the main “Venus-fly-trap” monster may back up that claim. However, most of the Grue Crew may beg to differ. And, then, there’s Bill. Doc Rotten and Jeff Mohr are joined by Chad Hunt and Bill Mulligan to discuss this nearly forgotten British gem. Special guest host Adam Thomas settles in to help put Donald Pleasence in his place.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 68 —  The Mutations  (1974)

Learning that Vincent Price was the first actor cast as Professor Nolter in JackCardiff’s The Mutations puts a lot of that role into perspective. With  Donald  Pleasence (Halloween) settling into  the  part in  Price’s place  leaves  all the necessary  scene chewing  off the cuff. But, hey, we  still  love  as much  Donald  Pleasence  as  we can get. The  fan-favorite fourth  Doctor, Tom  Baker (The Vault of Horror, Doctor Who) plays  Lynch, Nolter’s “henchmen” who  continually  gathers  the mad  scientist  victims for  his evil experiments…all  in hopes that the  good doctor will cure him  of  his deformities. In a subplot. Lynch  is  also  the  leader of a troop of  “freaks” (as they are called in the film) who  entertain  patrons at a local  amusement sideshow. Enter  in a group of  Nolter’s students who  get in the way  of the  madman’s plot, including Julie Ege (The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires) as  Hedi. Before you know it, Hedi’s friend  Tony (Scott Anthony) is kidnapped by  Lynch and  turned into a horrific monster by  Nolter. Chaos  ensues. Hurray!

Both Doc and Bill fondly remember reading about The Mutations in Famous Monsters in the Seventies but were unable to catch the film until much later. Bill a decade or so ago, but Doc only this week for this show. Both were eager to watch the film to discuss here on Decades of Horror along with Chad and guest host Adam Thomas. However, while the finale is fun with the monster finally set loose and on the rampage, the plot meanders through each of its loosely connected subplots. Bill still champions the film while Adam curses Doc’s name. Oh, dear. There’s plenty to discuss, speculate, demonize, and enjoy with The Mutations and the Grue Crew cover it all.

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Doc Rotten
Doc Rotten is the founder of Gruesome Magazine. He is also a film critic for Gruesome Magazine and the podcast host & producer for Horror News Radio, Monster Movie Podcast, Decades of Horror: 1970s, The American Horror Story Fan Podcast and Hannibal Fan Podcast. He is also co-host of the Dracula podcast on TV TALK and is a contributing reviewer for HorrorNews.Net and Widescreen Warrior. Doc a lifelong fan of horror films, sci-fi flicks and monster movies first discovering Universal Monsters and Planet of the Apes as a young child in the 1970's searching out every issue of Famous Monster of Filmland (and, later, Fangoria). Favorite films include Jaws, The Car, The Birds, The Tingler, Vampire Circus and The Exorcist. Still a huge fan of horror films from the 70s, Doc continues consuming horror films to this day for the site, for the podcasts and for the fun of it all.