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The Mutations
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The Mutations (1974) More at IMDbPro »

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The Mutations -- Freakmaker aka The Mutants


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Release Date:
25 September 1974 (USA) See more »
It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature...... it can be HORRIFYING! EVEN TO THEM!
Scientist experiments with crossing humans and plants, for which he uses his students. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
(9 articles)
User Reviews:
A forgotten, murky, misbegotten monstrosity. See more (27 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Donald Pleasence ... Professor Nolter

Tom Baker ... Lynch
Brad Harris ... Brian Redford
Julie Ege ... Hedi

Michael Dunn ... Burns
Scott Antony ... Tony

Jill Haworth ... Lauren
Olga Anthony ... Bridget
Lisa Collings ... Prostitute
Joan Scott ... Landlady
Toby Lennon ... Tramp
John Wireford ... Policeman
Eithne Dunne ... Nurse
Tony Mayne ... Dwarf Tony
Molly Tweedlie ... Dwarf Molly
Kathy Kitchen ... Midget Kathy
Fran Fullenwider ... Fat Lady
Lesley Roose ... Skinny Lady
Fay Bura ... Bearded Lady
Bob Bura ... Fire Eater
O.T. ... Human Pincushion
Madge Garnett ... Monkey Woman
Willie Ingram ... Popeye
Hugh Baily ... Pretzel Boy
Félix Duarte ... Frog Boy
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Esther Blackmon ... Alligator Girl
Richard Davies ... Doctor
Harry Fielder ... Barker at Funfair (uncredited)
Pepe Poupee ... Rogue Scientist (uncredited)
Fred Wood ... Audience Member (at Freak Show). (uncredited)

Directed by
Jack Cardiff 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Edward Mann  (as Edward Mann)
Robert D. Weinbach 

Produced by
J. Ronald Getty .... executive producer
Brad Harris .... associate producer
Herbert G. Luft .... associate producer
Robert D. Weinbach .... producer
Original Music by
Basil Kirchin 
Jack Nathan (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Paul Beeson 
Film Editing by
John Trumper 
Casting by
Sally Nicholl 
Art Direction by
Herbert Smith 
Set Decoration by
Josie MacAvin 
Makeup Department
Kathleen Freeborn .... makeup assistant
Robin Grantham .... makeup assistant
Susie Hill .... hair stylist
Charles E. Parker .... special makeup
Production Management
Alfred W. Marcus .... production manager (as Al Marcus)
Jack Smith .... production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Brian Dunbar .... assistant director
Ray Freeborn .... second assistant director
Gareth Tandy .... third assistant director
Art Department
Bob Devine .... construction manager
John Lageu .... assistant art director
Josie MacAvin .... set dresser
Sound Department
Peter Bond .... assistant dubbing editor
Danny Daniel .... sound recordist
Brian Ford .... sound mixer
Stan Haines .... boom operator
Ted Karnon .... sound mixer
Mike Le Mare .... dubbing editor
Austin Partridge .... sound maintenance
Special Effects by
Mike Hope .... special effects
Eddie Powell .... stunts
Camera and Electrical Department
John Cardiff .... camera operator: second unit
John Jay .... still photographer
John May .... supervising electrician
Ken Middleham .... time lapse photography
Ray Sturgess .... camera operator
David Worley .... camera focus
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Paul Vachon .... wardrobe master
Joanna Wright .... wardrobe assistant
Editorial Department
David Beesley .... second assistant editor
Russ Woolnough .... first assistant editor (as Russell Woolnough)
Music Department
Jack Nathan .... music associate
Other crew
Pamela Allen .... secretary to executives
Mary Lou Cohen .... assistant to producer
Jeanne Ferber .... production secretary
Lynda Levy .... producers asssistant
Lynda Levy .... secretary to the producer
William Mahiger .... assistant to producer
Doreen Soan .... continuity
Ray Tranter .... production accountant

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
92 min
Color (Eastmancolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Iceland:16 | Norway:18 | UK:X (original rating) | UK:18 (video rating) | USA:R | West Germany:16

Did You Know?

According to Tom Baker, while filming he and Willie Ingram, who went by the stage name "Popeye" for his strange ability to make his eyes pop far out of their sockets, used to frequent a bar across the street between shooting scenes. During one such outing a waitress made it clear through her attitude that she didn't approve of Baker, who is white, being friends with Ingram who is black. So to get back at her Ingram would make his eyes pop out when she would pass the table causing her to completely freak out, and then go back to normal while he and Baker would pretend nothing happened as she tried to point it out to other waitresses and patrons.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Horror Business (2005) (V)See more »


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14 out of 26 people found the following review useful.
A forgotten, murky, misbegotten monstrosity., 22 July 2003
Author: Tom May ( from United Kingdom

Now what were they thinking...? This film is an outright one-off, granted, but a disastrous one. Little thought seems to have gone in, and when there is thought, it is reflected in a composer's score that transcends and barely fits the images.

Let's not contemplate the script at length; word or narrative craftsmen are resoundingly not at work here. Unexplained, irrelevant scenes clutter the film's third-hand B-movie premise. For example, whither the 'dancing instructor'…? Lynch's startling, vulnerable scene with the prostitute is bizarrely isolated, and unfortunately not given emotional context in the rest of this peculiarly ramshackle film. Ethical question-marks starkly rear into view with the use – exploitation, rather – of real-life freaks in the 'fictitious' side-show. A freak show is effectively shown for five minutes of the film's duration, and it is profoundly unsettling viewing: seedy, dank, sickening; one really wonders what went on behind-the-scenes here… This film was made in 1973; there is no method to this display, beyond the flexing of cheap 'shock tactics'. As Brian says, "I didn't know these shows still existed". Clearly in the seedy world of 1970s low-rent British film, they did.

Very little in this film seems other than fake, besides, obviously, the actuality of the 'freaks'' 'abnormalities'. But there is little obvious entertainment value in the mad-scientist straddling, penthouse-peopled 'England' of "The Mutations". This is the worse considering what appears to be an effort at naturalism in the opening, which pins things down in staid, dully scientific terms. Need it be said that Pleasence is an embarrassment here? He is clearly on auto-pilot, giving little effort in what he surely knows is a farrago of a film. How utterly predictable that his dull professor is adorned with a Germanic accent? How stultifyingly insipid to model Nolter's delivery on that of a dry automaton? This spectacularly dull performance – oxymoron intended – sets the tone, and his oratory barely extends beyond the front rows of the London University lecture theatre. Ever more bizarrely, this lacklustre lecturer and stolid Sice-head is described as 'sexy', in pronouncedly giddy tones, by one of his students. This Lauren is something of an incessant, beaming blonde with fetching pigtails, invested, intentionally or otherwise, with vacuousness by Jill Haworth. What mostly lingers in the mind is her odd relish in watching the freak show, as if it were somehow a heart-warming spectacle.

She just about convinces as a student, at least in physical appearance, but she gives no impression that she reads Bio-Chemistry at degree level. Furthermore, Scott Antony's Tony is akin to any old token japer from the world of dispiriting 1970s British films (TM); has he wandered in from a depressingly small-fry juvenile sex comedy? The group of 'students' is rounded out with the Scandinavian curves of Julie Ege - bland and given tokenistic Leary invocations - and a girl who is quickly dispatched by the IDS-dull Pleasence. Oh, and did I forget our dear old Brian? Brad Harris 'essays', or rather phones in, an American 'scholar' who seems more like a redundant detective or sidelined action-hero. He has no real business being there, and yet somehow appears to have picked up Hedi as a girlfriend within a few minutes. This 'Sturdy Oak' archetype single-handedly 'saves the day' at the end, in place of the hapless students; admittedly, Haworth's simpering, would-be 'cool chick' seems unduly discarded, but would have been rendered useless and screaming by the chauvinistic script. One ought to reflect whether she was actually the only real student, as when Tony asks for entry to see the 'Lizard Woman' act, he specifically asks for "three and a half tickets" when four are there... Such pointless but amusing asides aside, Tom Baker is passable as a deformed ruffian and lunatic called Lynch. Hopefully no child fan of "Dr Who" ever stumbled upon this film, hearing of his presence: they'd be scarred for life! He overacts extravagantly in the "He's One of Us!" scene, which puts Tod Browning's similar scene in "Freaks" through the wringer; the freaks are played for all their 'weirdness' and treated as sinister; see also the inexplicable, brutish and farcical fog-drenched demise of Lynch, and indeed two of them stalking and capturing Olga Anthony's willowy unfortunate.

Other than for reasons of historical or academic study, I'd advise people not to see this appalling spectacle. However, there is a sole, sublime saving grace: the musical soundtrack. This majestic and incredibly innovative free-jazz music is on an altogether different plane to the squalid, murky seediness of the images. It is almost as if the soundtrack was a record that has been superimposed over the film – and it should be noted that Basil Kirchin drew some of its themes from his ongoing "Worlds Within Worlds" series. Merely the time-lapse Open University-esquire opening photography tallies with the alternately sedate and barnstorming strains of Kirchin's music. There are high pitched string-instrument stings redolent of plant life, that periodically score 'tension', but generally, the score is of another world, and utterly un-telegraphed. It should be released on CD in full; while this film is forgotten, this music should live in its own context, in its interpolating sedate deathliness and cacophonous blaring.

The opening to the film indeed is mercifully sedate and horn-rimmed-spectacled, in comparison to the ghastliness to come. Eastmancolour skies and dappled, felt-like plants, seem of another age, backed by the awe-inducing music. But... well, things ebb, completely… in all manner of exploitative, numb-skulled directions. To think that the lens-man of "The Red Shoes", Jack Cardiff, actually directs this... For me, the distasteful idiocy of this 'contemporary' 1973 film is ultimately exemplified by the smug, complacent face of Scott Antony; when the Monkey Woman enters, he tastelessly jokes "all sounds pretty hairy to me!" and in reply Jill Haworth's kittenish features crease into a fawning laughter.

The only balm is the music.

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