Triskaidekafiles is a love letter to cheesy cinema from the 80s and 90s, with the occasional dip into other eras.  if you're a fan of MST3K, Elvira, Joe Bob Briggs, or just bad horror movies in general, Trisk is the place for you.

Freakmaker (1974)


WRITER: Screenplay by Robert D. Weinbach & Edward Mann

DIRECTOR: Jack Cardiff

Donald Pleasence as Dr. Nolter
   Tom Baker as Lynch
   Brad Harris as Brian
   Julie Ege as Hedi
   Michael Dunn as Burns
   Scott Anthony as Tony
   Jill Haworth as Lauren
   Olga Anthony as Bridget

SYNOPSIS: When the doctor from Halloween needs subjects for his experiments in merging human and plants together into a single superior race, he enlists the aid of Dr. Who after a tragic regeneration lands him a job working at a travelling freakshow.  Wackiness ensues.

THE WHOLE BLOODY MESS: I shouldn't make fun of the movie starting out with a DVD introduction by the director.  Those things always seemed so pretentious to me, and pointless to boot.  "Hi!  I directed this, enjoy the movie!"  That was ten seconds I could have spent *actually* enjoying the movie.  At least in theory.

So I won't mock the intro, but I will mock the downright gratuitious use of stock footage.

Gotta love a movie that starts off with 30 seconds of blackness.  At least Fellowship of the Ring had some talking and building music.  Music eventually kicks in, but you sit staring at a black screen for far too long listening to a building pulse.  After the darkness clears, we're treated to five minutes of stock footage.  Seriously, five minutes.  The music behind it is pretty cool, at least, and the footage is actually nifty.  It's always cool to watch slow motion water droplets falling into a puddle, and cells dividing, but come on.  This is stock footage, and while the thematic link to budding life is there, it wears thin.

It would almost be forgivable if the first three minutes wasn't JUST stock footage, and nothing more.  At least roll the credits over it a little sooner then you did.  Don't wait three whopping minutes of plants growing before getting to even the first credit.  And even then it's even more stock footage, just with the cast and crew over it all.

Mentos, the Freakmaker.

At least this all gets explained, once the movie finally decides to have someone speak to us, over some stock footage of undersea creatures that resemble flowers, but aren't.  Also the opposite view, with carnivorous plants that act like animals.  Oh, how I wish they'd eat the editors...

Ok, while the footage goes on and on, and actually is really cool once we get to plants eating and digesting insects, I would seriously give anything to see an actor at this point.  I'd even take a slide show.  Or standing next to a screen that's showing this footage.  Finally, eight minutes in, my prayers are answered.

I would say Donald Pleasence brings respectability to this movie, but I've seen Puma Man, damnit.

And actually, they're not quite answered.  Just as we get to the actors talking about all the fascinating footage we've been watching, they stop the projector.  Instead we just get Professor Xavier's eviller brother telling his class that none of us are normal, we're all the product of various mutations, and we're all freaks.  He also posits that while we don't know what causes mutations, they can be induced.  Which makes me point out that we DO know what causes mutations, otherwise you couldn't induce them.  Anyways, he hopes that someday we'll be able to pick and choose what we mutate, and improve our species.

And thus we get the mission statement for the movie.

Debbie Downer's in the class and tries to kill the mood by bringing up fetally deformed babies.  The doctor agrees those are indeed tragic downsides of mutations, but tries to shove that under the rug by saying it is better to envision the better future they could create by controlling mutations.

As if that's not enough awesome for you, the professor envisions a future, just a mere ten years from 1974, that they will be able to recreate a living dinosaur.

He continues to go on about the marvels of mutations, and creating 100 Einsteins, and how wonderful that would be.  One of his students has exactly the right idea when she Godwins the teacher with the idea of 100 Hitlers.  Another student says it could be even worse than that, and it could be 100 clones of the professor.

The class finally lets out, and the students escape.  Oh, if only I was so lucky.  One of them mocks the living dinosaur idea, and says the professor should write science fiction instead.  Moments later, Professor Crichton quit his teaching job to begin a new career...

The sound isn't the best, and it isn't helped by the students talking over each other, and fighting against the sounds of other students and general campus noise.  I think they're off to pick up another student from America.  But don't quote me on that.

As the students split up, the 100 professors guy makes one of the worst pickup lines ever; "Maybe we could get high on those nucleic acids and then there'd be 100 more like you!"  Someone on this movie got high, that's for sure.

Although, credit to using nucleic acids in such a cheesy line.

The Oompa Loompas are coming to get you, Barbara.

The redhead wanders off on her own, and she heads through a park where a dwarf stalks her from behind the trees.  Or a midget.  Ok, look, I dunno what's the right or best phrase to call them, and there's a lot of little people in the movie.  I'm not trying to be offensive, but I will be poking fun at them, and I hope people take any and all comments in that spirit, as well as whatever words fall out of my fingers to describe them and other freaks.  Let's get that out of the way now.

Anyways, the redhead is being followed by someone that's not me, and in a failure of continuity rivaled only by Dark Angel's muggers, his coat changes from blue to tan when he passes behind a tree and back again.

I think.  A few shots later, we see both dwarves, one in blue and one in tan, but seperated by quite a bit of distance.  I'm already confused.  I'll just chalk it up to being artsy.

The redhead finally notices her pursuer...pursuers? and starts to run.  Not that she has any particular reason to do so.  She just saw some guys standing around behind her.  I'm sure she sees that all the time.  The dwarves weren't doing anything particularly threatening, although just by being different they're a little off putting.  Still, not a big reason to bolt and scare the geese, who jump on the horn section of the band, and won't shut up.

Ah yes, you'll make a fine new companion!

The midgets chase her right into the waiting arms of a tall man in a long coat and hat, who scoops her up and carries her off into the suddenly appearing fog.  Which I guess isn't that bizarre in London.

We next see the man talking to the professor (Who's really a doctor, but the other guy played THE Doctor, so I call Donald Pleasence's character a professor just to keep things straight, ok?) who has promised to make Lynch look better.  Because see, he's covered in horrible makeup, er bumps that would make even the Elephant Man cringe.  And poor, poor Tom Baker, he can barely speak in the makeup.  The only part of his mouth you ever see move is the left upper lip, which isn't prosthetically challenged.  It just looks awkward and wrong.

Baker heads off to the local carnival, which seems to be almost completely staffed by dwarves.  And I'll be honest, the costume they have him in is so close to his iconic Doctor Who look he'd develop a few years after this movie, that it's actually a little distracting to me.

Now where did I leave the TARDIS?

He stops at the sight of one of the dwarves sitting on some steps to a trailer, one of them we saw chasing the redhead, and he rushes over, screaming through the makeup, and shoves him off the stairs to the ground.  It's the most hilarious, suddenly violent thing I've seen.  It makes me laugh in a wholly uncomfortable way.  I know instinctively there must have been a stunt mat for him to land on, but damn it looks so harsh and comes out of nowhere.

Lynch grabs another one, the second dwarf we saw chasing Bridget, and roughly reminds him to stay away from his trailer.  His tiny partner grumbles a lot, and gets a disapproving glare from Lynch's one good eye, and he just shouts some more to stay away from his trailer.  Sigh.  Stars can be such divas.

Inside the trailer, we see that's where he's been keeping Bridget, who is still unconcious.  Ok, so it kinda makes sense to keep people away from there, so they don't see his kidnapping victim.  But the one sitting on the steps helped chase her into his arms in the first place.  And on top of that, Lynch left his trailer door wide open, so she could have just walked out if she bothered to wake up.  What was he afraid of the Lollipop Guild doing?  Carrying her off while still unconcious?  I'm sure they wouldn't mind their boss getting laid, it might even help his attitude.  So what if he's got a girl in his trailer?

George, can I pet the bunnies?

While the Doctor pets his new companion, it cuts right to Professor Pleasence petting a bunny.  Nice unsubtle segue way there mov...OH HOLY CRAP he just fed the rabbit to a giant plant!!  Oh gods, the poor bunny!  It didn't even pause, it went right from petting the bunny to BAM it's a meal!  It's like the sudden random dwarf violence all over again and shocks you into paying attention by the sheer WTF of it.  Made all the worse by the sounds of the rabbit SQUEAKING.

Once I've taken a break to mentally recover from that, I come back to see the Evil Xavier mixing a serum and dribbling it over a seed that causes it to exude more stock footage.  Once the plant has rapidly grown, Doctor Donald stabs into it the oddly furry plant and makes it bleed a deep red that ain't sap.  He then shoves some leaves into the wound and starts taping it up.  I'm not entirely sure that's how splicing works, and if it is, the blood worries me, but I'm already past the point of caring about SCIENCE!

The Doctor arrives with his redhead, while driving a blue car no less, and carries her up to the professor, and he has Lynch place the girl on an operating table amidst the killer plants.  Oh, and they start stripping her clothes off.  Professor X recognises her, but doesn't quite place her from his class.  See, that's the problem with overcrowded classrooms these days.  When the teacher finally decides to kill you, he won't have a single clue who you are.

I don't know what's creepier to me, that Bridget is being stripped naked by a disfigured freak with a lumpy face, or that it's Tom Baker doing the stripping.

She begins to stir, and I realise Bridget has been out for quite some time.  What did Lynch do to her?  She's been out since he grabbed her, took her to his trailer at the carnival, went to visit the doctor, came back to the trailer, and brought her back to the doctor.  By which time, night had fallen.  That's a lot of travelling, and a lot of time she must have been out of it.

Worst. Regeneration. Ever

Meanwhile, as Bridget gets experimented on, we return to the other movie where the rest of the students from Beta Kappa Cannon Foddah are waiting at the airport for the guy they were talking about earlier.  Turns out he wasn't a student, but someone who has come over to work with their professor.  Which is weird, since he hangs out a lot with the students.

But because all that's just too normal, we jump back to the professor creating more stock footage out of chemicals and seeds.

As if the movie isn't orange enough (Seriously, what's up with the tinting?) the professor plucks, of all things, an orange off his freakplant.  Which of course leads us to more stock footage, this time of the orange rotting.

The high speed rotting is actually caused by the professor zapping the orange with a gigantic laser, which he's done for the express purpose of zapping it again to undo the rotting in front of his class.  Seems a bit elaborate.  Next time, just bring an already rotten orange.  Of course, to illustrate the derotting, they just run the stock footage backwards.

Behold! I give you the latest in orange slicing technology! Soon it shall be in all your homes!

So, he brings an experimental cyclotron (His word!) into a classroom, zaps an orange with it repeatedly, in order to make the orange rot away, and then undo it.  His entire class is now sterile, aren't they?

Nolter puts forth his theory of total genetics, that all life is closely related, and all matter is as well, which somehow gets him back on his hobby horse of merging plants and animals into a new species.

With his class dismissed to seek medical attention and/or changes their majors, the professor grabs the guy from America to his home so he can show Brian his new toys and discuss things further.

Brian's naturally dubious of Nolter's claims, and that such a fusion of species is a long a way off.  Nolter shows him that may not be the case by showing him something in a jar he made ten years ago, which looks rather more like a rat with a sprig of parsley shoved in with it, than it does any sort of animal/plant fusion.

I can never remember if it's okay to eat the garnish.

While Brian marvels at the rat salad, the professor grabs a bunny...oh.  Oh no.  Don't you dare, you monster!  Leave the rabbits alone!

But no, he feeds another rabbit to Man-Thing, who accomodates by opening his leafy maw when the rabbit comes near.  Are you happy, Nolter??  You've given it a taste for bunny.  I wish it would eat one of the professor's hands.  Make the squealing stop!

Rather than point out, "DUDE!  You just murdered a bunny!" Brian instead points out that plants eating animals is a far cry from the professor's plans for his new species to receive nourishment from the atmosphere.  Also, I'd like to point out that making a plant that eats animals isn't anything special, as the first ten minutes of the movie showed us in excruciating detail.  So, I fail to see the big advancement here.  Aside from the advancement in KILLING FLUFFY RABBITS.

Meanwhile, the dwarves and the beared lady from Lynch's travelling freakshow are enjoying a spot of tea, and talking about the girl they grabbed.  The one little person explains how he and his friend were just chasing her for a laugh, to give her a bit of a fright, but they didn't know Lynch would grab her.  Yeah, that makes it all ok.

None of them seem happy to be working with Lynch, who just happened to scrape together enough money to buy the freakshow one day.  You know, when even the freaks think you're a bit too freaky, things are bad.  Their displeasure continues as they talk about the newest arrival to the freakshow, a lizard woman who Lynch is keeping locked up and far away from the other freaks.  Gee, I wonder who that could be?

The students are talking about that same freakshow as they head to class and the professor passes them by.  He says that those freaks may very well be examples of the exact mutations he was discussing.  I hope he didn't just stupidly blurt out something he shouldn't have.  As if that wasn't enough, they immediately start discussing where Bridget could be, since they haven't seen her in awhile.  About time they noticed.

Tony, the one who teased the professor earlier, berates his ideas and wacky teachings, but Brian shoots back that what we call science today was once science fiction, and we always mock the brilliant people before we understand them.  Yeah, but sometimes?  Those brilliant people are actually quite mad.  And kill bunnies.

Later that night, the students head to the carnival, and the movie kills more time with establishing shots of the fair.  At this point, I seriously question if this too might be stock footage.

Step right up and see Herschel! The man with the head of a chicken!

Like college students are wont to do in movies, they decide to check out this famous freakshow that's been advertised around the town.  Freakshows always seem oddly popular in movies.

The show is pretty much what you would expect, as one freak after another is brought out and paraded in front of the rubes, showing off their speciality.

They eventually bring out an alligator skinned girl, someone who actually suffers from ichthyosis, and I think the cameraman forgot his stage directions.  We're treated to a shot of her feet for far too long than would be normal.  Eventually there's a slow pan, but not after staring at those ankles.

 The best freak has got to be Popeye, whose name is frighteningly accurate.  The guy can push his eyes right out of their sockets for a really freaky effect.  He was trying to tell his story, but the poor audio, and the gasps of the audience at his antics kinda made it hard to follow.  Not that it matters.  Bulging eyes!  I think I actually remember hearing about him somewhere else before this.  He seems familiar, and popping eyes are kinda something that stick in your memory.  Him and a few others strike my memory, and I know are real freaks.  I'm sure a few are just makeup effects, but I'm glad that most of them were actual freaks.  A nice touch of authenticity.  Anyways, Popeye's eye popping is really disturbing, and better than any CG effect ever could have done.  It just looks bad, in an ewww way, not a fake way.  And from the way they look, I don't think it's terribly healthy either.

Callista Flockhart's post-Ally McBeal job.

And finally, the time comes for the sideshow's star attraction, and newest recruit, the Lizard Girl from Tibet!  Or Bridget from down the street, but shhh.  How exactly a lizard girl is in any way different from an alligator girl, I dunno.  Since this attraction is new, expensive, and takes special care and feeding, there's an extra charge to see her, and everyone is led into another room for the showing.

The students, and Brian, are ready to leave, but when they see the people stumbling out in fright, some ready to faint, they just have to look inside.  I know the feeling, it's why I review these turkeys.

One of the girls recognised the medallion Burns is wearing as being the same one Bridget wore, and asks where he got it.  For a showman, he's a horrible liar, and says he made it himself, and Lynch shoots a glare at him from behind his scarf and hat.  He knows these people knew the girl before she was a lizard, and wants them gone.  Burns comes up with a story about being sold out and shoos the gang off.

Tony has half a brain as they're leaving, putting things together with the medallion and Bridget's disappearance, but Brian insists she must be off somewhere having fun.  Why are they listening to the new guy that just rolled into town the other day?  The filthy American never even met Bridget!

Lynch heads back to his precious trailer where the professor is waiting, and wanting a new victim to experiment on.  He wants someone strong and good looking, so not like Lynch at all.  He reminds the professor of their deal to someday have his horrible face fixed, and he can live his dream of becoming a British scifi tv star.

Once everyone else heads home, Tony heads back to the carnival under the cover of darkness.  That's about equal parts foolish and smart, but about par for the course for these films.  While he sneaks around, Lynch watches and waits for his chance to pounce.  If only Tony wasn't EXACTLY the sort of person Doctor Donald wanted.

Tony finally stumbles back to the freakshow and goes into the lizard girl room, and she is quite the site of a rubbery head.  If that was once Bridget, there is no way anyone could ever tell by looking at her.  So Nolter kills bunnies AND disfigures redheads.  He is so on my shitlist.

Oh, so THAT'S the difference.

Tony thinks he's been seen, and he's right.  Lynch turns on all the lights to make it easier to chase him, and give Tony fewer places to hide.  He tries ducking inside a Haunted Goldmine ride, and Lynch gets the drop on him.

So naturally it isn't long before it's Tony's turn to be naked on the table and tubes getting shoved into uncomfortable places.  I wonder if the professor recognises THIS student, considering the pair of them frequently snarked back and forth at each other.  Of course that just means he probably wouldn't mind horribly mutating this student.

And again, Lynch pressures the doctor to tell him when it will be his turn to be made normal.  Dude, you more than almost anyone knows how well these experiments are going.  You get the crappy table scraps and shove them into your own freakshow.  That is far from looking normal.  Let him work out the kinks!  Of course, in your case, Lynch?  Looking like a sleestak might be an improvement.

It is a testament to Tom Baker's acting ability that he can still push through quite a good deal of emotion through the horribly stiff makeup.  He's limited to an eyeball and a quadrant of lip, and yet he still infuses his performance with genuine emotion.  It's not quite good acting, but considering what he has to work with, it is a damned sight better than lesser actors would have done.  I buy him as a man trapped within his own body and wanting to be something else.

Anyways, the professor shows Lynch a slide that he says holds a virus that he thinks will cure Lynch's deformity, but all I see is more stock footage.  I don't know how showing someone a squiggly something equates to being able to make someone look normal.  That's like showing someone a bucket of gasoline and saying that you're close to building a car.

Meanwhile back at the carnival, the freaks are having a wild, dinner on their stage when Lynch returns.  He glares at them, which is about the best acting Baker can do with all his makeup, since he doesn't like them just living life and enjoying themselves, almost rubbing in how normal they find themselves capable of being when he's a hideous monster.

They're having a birthday party, and invite Lynch to join them, but he wants nothing to do with a bunch of freaks.  They say it's ok, he's one of them.  Or if you're familiar with the film this movie owes a lot to, Tom Browning's "Freaks", that would appropriately be, "One of us".  They rub it in that he's a freak just like them, and they do it to tease him, but that goes about as well as expected when he throws a fit.

Again, Baker tries SO damned hard to try and act, but he just can't quite manage it through the frozen prosthetic face.  The scene is on the verge of being something amazing as this freak gives in to his anger and destroys the dinner, and it falls flat on its face.  Yes, I said it.  And the glob of spittle that dangles off the rubber chin through most of the scene doesn't help any.

At the very least they could have rerecorded Baker's dialogue.  The yelling fit would have been so much more effective if it wasn't muffled by trying to emote around half a face.  Granted, he should sound different, but he's got full lips and such, so should be able to talk somewhat normally, if not for the rubber and stiffness.

I don't have to put up with this, I am an ACTOR!

Once his tantrum is done, Lynch drives around town as the voices in his head taunt him.  He passes by assorted strip clubs and hookers, and eventually sees an ad for dancing lessons.  Which turns out to be code for 'pay me for sex.'  He heads off to the address and the woman isn't particularly horrified, as long as he has the cash.

Lynch pays a little extra for her to be extra nice and say nice things, while Brian and Hedi get worried about what happened to Tony.  Gee, maybe he's just off at whatever party Bridget ended up at, Bri.

Brian says that Bridget wasn't the disappearing type.  Well, if she was, wouldn't she have already disappeared, and they wouldn't be looking for her this time?  Yes, I know what he means, and I feel like taunting.  How does he know, anyways?  Again, never met her.

Lynch finishes up with his girl and heads back to the carnival, where he finds a dead lizard girl, and loads her up into his Ford TARDIS, and drives her out to dispose of the body.  He tosses her off into a nearby river, in a bag which I don't think is large enough for Bridget, but who knows how big she ended up after the mutation?

This is what happens to all his companions once he's done with them.

Back at the lab, Tony has crawled off the operating table, leaving a blood trail a blind man could follow, and found a phone.  He calls up Lauren who is just relieved to hear...well, someone's voice.  It's not exactly Tony.  I mean it IS, it's just that he's sounded better and less garbled.  Although in this movie, that's questionable.

Once Bridget is disposed of, Lynch calls the doctor back, and tells him what happened.  Nolter tells him that Tony escaped and they fought, which I would have liked to see, movie.  He thinks he succeeded though, so needs Lynch to retrieve the subject or find a new victim.

Tony arrives at Lauren's, who is waiting for her man wearing the least sexy robe ever.  It loos like a quilt.  As Tony stumbles into the light, she screams in horror, and I laugh in hilarity.


Her screams alert the neighbours, and they call the cops.  Who actually turn up before Tony can escape.  This is definitely not the US.  Tony McCabbagepatch dives out the window, and the cops call a doctor.  Er, not one of the other ones in this movie, that is.  He tells the gathered friends that Lauren must have passed out from shock, and thus we have the winner for this movie's most obvious understatement.

Brian thinks Tony must have had something to do with Lauren's shock, and Hedi thinks something must have happened to him, and Lauren found out about it.  And the understatements keep coming.

The freaks advance on Lynch's trailer, and when he comes out, he tells them all to get back into their cages.  Popeye flicks out a blade and glares at his boss.  Maybe they'll cut off his makeup so Lynch can go back to being a normal asshole.  Rather than actually doing anything, they just stand there and watch as Lynch walks off and complain to Burns.  So a tense moment goes nowhere.

Burns and Lynch talk in his trailer, yelling at him for what he's done.  Burns thinks it is time to leave, and based on the body count, he's probably not wrong.  He knows all about what Lynch has been doing, and wants to get away, but Lynch insists on staying so he can be normal.  Burns doesn't want any trouble with the cops, but that seems more and more likely since the other dwarf that chased down Bridget is right outside listening to everything.

Meanwhile, somwhere else entirely, a drunken hobo stumbles along drunkenly until he finds the cabbage patch and Tony says hi by eating him.

Do not bring your evil here.

While Hedi bathes, Tony finishes his snack and pays her a visit.  He sneaks in through a window because the doors are too hard for Swamp Thing to use.  He knocks over a lamp and quickly covers up with a handy blanket before Hedi can see him.

Tony tries to get her to write stuff down, and I'm glad she can understand him.  Something about experiments, his locker combination, Doctor Nolter...  Hedi goes to let Brian in, but is instead grabbed by Lynch.  Can't he find someone to experiment on that isn't part of this small group?  I know they're the characters we're invested in, but it's a big town!  It has its own university!

Brian arrives just a little too late, and amidst the chaos gets the wrong idea that Tony did all this.  He finds the notes Hedi was taking, and rushes off to Nolter's so he can be te big, bad American hero.

The professor is already zapping Hedi with the orange restoration ray.  The dogs start barking at Brian as he climbs over the walls, and Doctor Donald sends Lynch off to investigate.

Brian made it all of like three steps before Lynch finds him.  What did he do, stand there staring at the house while Lynch rushed through the halls and ditched his lab coat?  Anyways, the two get into a pretty evenly matched fight until Lynch clobbers Brian with a rock.  Things seem just about over for our American until Popeye arrives and does what he should've done ten minutes ago and flings his knife right into Lynch's back.

The rest of the freaks are there too, and keep throwing more knives at their boss, as he shouts about being one of them.  Yeah, now that he's getting his ass handed to him, he's one of them.

Don't worry, he'll just regenerate.

With their dirty work done, the freaks sneak off into the night and out of the movie.

Inside, Nolter is still experimenting on Hedi, as cabbageman crashes in through a skylight.  Which makes for a cool entrance, but why a skylight?  He had to wander up to the place, find a wall to scale, find a skylight which the lab just happened to have, and then jump through it.  Has this guy never heard of a door?  Seriously.  He could've just walked down a hallway.

The professor tries to escape, but the thing Tony has become spreads his chest open which has become a mixture of leaves and his spread ribcage like a venus flytrap, and pulls Nolter into his waiting digestive glands.

If ever a single image there was that screamed to me to review the movie it came from, this is it.

Somehow this has managed to set the lab on fire.  Not that I'm complaining about fire, but it is random.

Finally, Tony opens himself back up, and the melted, half digested, and quite icky corpse of Doctor Nolter slides down to the floor.  I guess Tony was still full from his earlier snack, since Nolter doesn't really look that digested, just a little gooey.

Take that you awful, awful bunny killer.

Actually, that's just what you look like after watching this movie.

As the house burns, Brian finally wakes up, realising he's completely failed as an American action hero.  He didn't really get any further than the front gate before other people showed up and did all the real work.

Still, he has a chance to do something, and he rushes into the burning building to find Hedi.  Tony's busy in the corner burning to death, sitting there and taking it.  I hope Nolter gave him an A for his science project.

While Tony becomes a crispy critter, Brian smashes through some equipment and scoops up his girl.  As they run off, the bunny eating plant burns and screams.  There is indeed justice in this film.

Brian and Hedi escape and make it to his car, embracing as she wakes up.  The movie zooms in ever closer on her arm for a Big Reveal anyone with half a brain can see coming, and wishes the movie would just get it over with.  Finally as moss spreads across her arm, we can move on to...


Video: Considering that A) this was made in the 1970s and B) someone made the stylistic choice for this to be very orange, it actually looks pretty good.  The transfer is solid, and everything is very clear that's supposed to be.

Audio: I listened to the remixed stereo track, and it sounded ok, aside from the flaws inherent in how the movie was recorded in the first place.  I might go back and rewatch in mono, just to chart the difference.

Special Features: Two, count 'em two! commentaries.  The one with the director is pretty boring, as it's just a series of interview questions asked of him, and spaced out over the course of the movie with long pauses between.  The second one with the interviewer, the writer, and Brad "Brian" Harris is much more interesting.  Listening to their rememberences of the movie, and thoughts about it are fun, and move along pretty well, and everyone seems pretty relaxed.  There's also a short featurette about the making of the movie that's fairly interesting, although repeats a lot of the commentary material.  I wish Pleasence, Baker, and some of the freaks could have made themselves available for some comments, but oh well.  Oooh, and they recreated the poster in a quite large size, folded inside the case which is nifty.

Best Line: Nolter to Tony after his crack about cloning 100 Nolters, "We are interested in cloning.  Not clowning."  Coulda fooled me!

First Kill: Nobody dies in this movie until Bridget quietly passes away as the lizard girl off camera, about an hour and five minutes in.  Someone actually gets killed when Tony eats a hobo about 15 minutes from the end of the movie.

Best Kill: How can it be anything but Doctor Nolter's demise?  He gets grabbed by his own freakish creation and becomes the victim of that which he wants to make.  And the corpse is cool looking.

Blood Type: Pretty low.  I don't recall much blood at all.  The worst stuff is the freaks and their antics.  Oh, and the bleeding plant.

Sex Appeal: The movie does not shy away from the nudity.  Naked people being operate on, prostitutes unzipping their robes, girls in bathtubs.

Movie Rating: Surprisingly, this is actually a really solid movie.  As these things go in Triskville.  There's a good plot, it has something to say, has some fun makeup effects.  This sort of plot is a typical plot in horror movies dating back ages.  The acting is surprisingly good across the board.  There's some gaping plot holes and leaps in logic, but nothing like in the other movies here.  This is actually a movie worth seeing as a movie, so four out of five popping eyeballs.

Entertainment Rating: Well, there's a lot of stock footage to mock.  Heck, there's a drinking game in and of itself.  The creators are aware of the overuse, and wish they'd edited that down considerably.  There's some good funny lines, and while the makeup is good and creative design at times, it's also pretty goofy at others.  Tom Baker is a hoot to watch try and act in his makeup, and even the freaks are a blast to watch.  This is a surprisingly solid movie I was expecting to be far, far worse.  This is a must see from the Triskadekaifiling cabinet.  Four out of five unrotten oranges.