Pleasence plays the stereotypical mad scientist, here trying to develop a cross between plant and animal. Baker is his creepy assistant who roams the countryside to kidnap people for his master's projects. All the victims of experiments gone awry go to Dunn, a midget who runs a freak show.
Pleasence eventually discovers the right combination, only to be destroyed by his own creation. Though at times the film is so bad it's unintentionally funny, it has a certain cruelty to it. The experimental creations are portrayed by actual sideshow people, including a lizard lady, a monkey
woman, and a frog boy. Unlike Tod Browning's classic FREAKS (1932), which employed real-life sideshow performers with sympathy, the deformed men and women in THE MUTATIONS are portrayed as objects of attractive revulsion. Director Cardiff, the cinematographer on Michael Powell's THE RED SHOES,
treats the story adequately but with little sense of humanity.
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