Production: UK, 1974
Director: Jack Cardiff
Category: Science Fiction/Freaks/Horror
A great cinematographer, Cardiff proved how bad a director he could be with the monumentally tedious Girl On A Motorcycle. The Mutations on the other hand is in monumentally bad taste, using real freaks to embellish a repulsive tale of human experimentation set in a travelling sideshow. A scientist (Donald Pleasance) is using the show as a cover for his experiments on living people. Attempting to create hybrids of humans and plants, he consigns his many failures (known as “The Royal Family of Strange People”) to perform in the show, which is operated by a sadistic dwarf (Michael Dunn). Tom Baker plays his disfigured assistant. Real-life freaks and sideshow performers were used in the film, including a monkey woman, frog boy, human skeleton, alligator lady (Esther Blackman) and human pin-cushion. The doctor’s one success, a venus flytrap-man, was (hopefully) achieved by make-up. The Mutations has it all: the mad scientist, disfigurement and sadism, mutilation and murder, human oddities; the apparent dead-end for the fairground/freak sub-genre of bizarre cinema. A desperate, “lost” oddity of human misery well worth tracking down and leering over. Pleasance and dwarf Dunn would team up again that same year in Gonzalo Suárez’s La Loba Y La Paloma (“The She-Wolf And The Dove”, also known as House Of The Damned), a bizarre tale of madness and masks.
Posted by Graf Mitternacht