Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Science Fiction > British > The Freakmaker (1972)

The Freakmaker (aka The Mutations/1972)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: B-     Film: B-



Todd Browning’s Freaks (1932) continues to be a celebrated classic coming out of the biggest studio of the Classical Hollywood era (MGM) and being the opposite of the kind of glossy films they were best known for.  Influential on many cinematographers and directors since, cinematographer turned director Jack Cardiff admired the film enough to helm a unique take on the film called The Freakmaker in 1972.


Donald Pleasance in prime form, is the kindly science professor who turns out to be pulling a Dr. Moreau with nothing to laugh about wants to cross man with plants instead of animals.  Unbeknownst to the public at large, he is already practicing what he preaches.  He has cut an ugly deal with Mr. Lynch (a pre-Dr. Who Tom Baker) who heads a freak show in town and is sending some of them to the professor for experimentation.  In return, he is being promised a reversal of his own physical deformities.  Add “Dr. Loveless” Michael Dunn and you have some solid performances in an ambitious little gem where Pleasance and Baker show why they are genre favorites.


The only thing that dates the film besides the print and time period is the makeup that was decent for its time, but is not as naturalistic today as it was then.  A plus however is that none of this is digital, so the advantage of physicality remains.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 transfer is not great, with definition and color issues throughout, but it is on the consistent side and interesting.  Rank did the color and when the Blu-ray of the James Bond film Live & Let Die (1973) arrives, one will be able to see how this should look.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is actually better than the Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix in this case, the latter of which sounds shrill.  Extras include a fine audio commentary with director Cardiff, stills, trailers for the film, six trailers for other Subversive Cinema DVDs and a featurette on the making of the film with good interviews.  The DVD case also includes reproductions of the lobby cards and original theatrical poster.  All in all, that is solid treatment for a little gem.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com