Welcome one and all- Please leave sanity at the door


A Teenage boy with a passion for all things nerdy! Expect a lot of Doctor Who, Cult/Horror Movies, Literature and Novels, History, Comic Books and random thoughts. Posts published weekly on a Friday evening. DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of the items reviewed on this site and i also do not own of the pictures (unless stated so). If you own one of the photos and wish for it to be removed contact me at this adress: Super.pig@live.co.uk. However all of the written work is my own and is protected under copyright law.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The Mutations (1974)

Requested by my friend Shaun, from The Celluloid Highway ( a blog I suggest you go and read if you have not already) and one of this sites thirteen followers ( I know I’ve hit the big time), The Mutations is a film largely know for two reasons. 1) It features a pre-Doctor Who Tom Baker covered in prosthetics and 2) the “Freaks” are played by real deformed actors. Overall it’s a pretty enjoyable little piece, with a good pace and enough cheese to merit a second viewing.

The plots silly enough: Doctor Nolter (Donald Pleasance) is a leading Biochemist, his theories on mutations are disturbing to say the least. How he is attempting to put his theories into practice however is all the more frightening. Aided by a deformed “freak show” owner, Mr. Lynch (Tom Baker) he is attempting to create a half man- half plant creature, using students from the university where he teaches as his subjects…
There’s a very 1970’s feel to the film, that adds immensely to the strange dreamlike quality of some of the sequences. A character at one tells a story about when her friend had an acid trip and I wonder if that was the kind of feel intended by the Director. It seems like a good way to justify the scene where one of our teenage hero’s is chased through a foggy park by two midgets to a strange discordant soundtrack of out of key guitar notes and random saxophone blasts.

In fact the majority of the films most disturbing sequences feature not Pleasance and his plant men but the “freaks” or Bakers Mr. lynch. The subplot of Baker bullying the performers because he likes to think of himself as better than them and not in the same boat, is without doubt the most haunting and memorable part of the film ( although personally I did enjoy pleasance feeding rabbits to his monster plant). With these scenes we do not know who to pity, although ultimately we know that what baker is doing is wrong no matter what the motive. In fact Bakers performance is one of the main highlights and reasons to watch this film. The scene where he goes to a prostitute and is turned away by several, before finding one who will sleep with him and requests that during intercourse she says that she loves him, is a heartbreaking performance. The audience is made even more sympathetic towards baker’s character when she begins to take advantage of him and charge him more for his requests (although I couldn’t suppress a giggle when she stated it was £3 for her services)

Pleasance gives another strong performance even though he’s still stuck in the mad scientist role. For fans of his there’s lots of scenes of him experimenting in his lab including a few disturbing close ups of his eyes. It is quite fun to note however that this mad scientist is also a teacher. I can imagine many children of the 70’s taking this as concrete evidence that their teachers are evil. The monster that he creates is also not too embarrassing although it is strange that it first appears in a long black coat and then “au natural”. On a side note Halloween (1978) fans will get a kick out of seeing Pleasance wearing a cream trench coat four years before his first performance as Loomis! Also for prop spotters out there-is that the Laser from Goldfinger (1964)?

It’s not all great though, the main hero is very weak and makes one wonder why a fifty something year old scientist is hanging around with teenagers? Julie Edge also gives a very weak performance, but fans of hers defiantly need to see this at least once. All in all it’s a strong tale from the height of British horror and definite must for fans of this period. With an insane plot, gratuitous nudity and British actors at the top of their game- this obscure film comes highly recommended to British horror fans. It may be cheesy but its damn good entertainment.

PS: I'm no longer doing overall,gore or nudity ratings-I prefer to just chat about the films, I will remove the others (eventually)

7 comments:

  1. Nice review Cal...you should also check out Tod Browning's FREAKS if you haven't already. Also Tom produces a great little turn in the Amicus anthology VAULT OF HORROR. Good luck with 6th form...what are you studying?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Shaun! I'm studying Governemt and Politics, English Lit,Biology and 20th Century Hiatory, also I did promise to let you know my GCSE results since you were incredbly supportive. I was very very happy with my results of 7A's, 4B's and 1C-my maths result whith which my sixth form hung in the balance if I got a D. Once again thanks for the support and for being a friend!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hooray! You went with my suggestion! Now for more real freaks, inappropriately deployed, sup deep of Michael Winner's "The Sentinel"...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ah I am sorry I should of mentioned you at the begining! Don't worry I'm going to do melting man next and then I'll go with your other suggestion of Basket Case Hopefully before the month is out

    ReplyDelete
  5. Congratulations on the GCSE results. I struggled with Maths as well, in fact I had to retake the subject when I was at sixth form. That's a good selection of A Levels - I did English Lit & Lang, Communication Studies and History. But the selection wasn't there when I went to college, government and politics sounds good. You had any early thoughts about university?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Neat review Cal.I Think I saw this years ago. Do you know where I can get hold of it?

    Congrats on your results btw. Enjoy sixth form!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Shaun:thanks! Yes i am hoping to go on and do politics at uni but as of yet I am not sure where! If you have any advice or personal expierience I would be greatfull!

    Lenny: Cheers mate! well I managed to see this particular film on the horror channel, something I dont usually have but stayed over a friends recently. I think its sky 319 and they show the film on a regular basis-they used to have a few imports on amazon and ebay but not sure if they are there anymore! thanks again

    ReplyDelete