“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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