Thursday, December 8, 2011


You think these are freaks? Try die hard "Twilight" fans.
“Freaks” is a 1932 movie directed by Tod Browning.  A man most famous for directing the Bela Lugosi classic, “Dracula”.  The movie was considered controversial and was even banned in the United Kingdom for over 30 years after its release.  There is really no real reason for it other than the fact that they cast people with real deformities to play circus folk.  A bold move for the 1930s since it displays people who are armless, legless, and have various conditions such as microcephalics and conjoined twins.  

Fact: This guy went on to play Master Blaster.
The movie centers around a dwarf named Hans who has inherited a large sum of money.  He falls in love with a trapeze artist named Cleopatra who just wants him for his money.  She makes a plot with the strong man, Hercules, to seduce and murder Hans.  After marrying Hans she starts to poison him but soon finds out that if you insult one freak you insult them all.   A swift revenge is then brought to Cleopatra and Hercules and a happy ending is had by all the rest.

A double pleasure is waiting for you.
All in all it’s a good film.  It’s short and to the point.  The acting is decent and the good characters such as the clown Phroso, played by Wallace Ford and Venus, played by Leila Hyams, have a nice romantic spark throughout the movie and it also works well that the “Freaks” have people that treat them as human.  The villains Cleopatra and Hercules are great at being despicable and horrifying people completely deserving of their punishments. I’m sure if more people saw this movie classic they would realize that there are a lot of references to it in other things from “South Park” to the animated show of “Clerks”.

My eyes are up here Hans.
I am not sure what shocked people more: The punishment scene at the end or the fact that they hired actual circus folks.  My guess is the fact that it was too real for 1930s audiences to handle. According to Wikipedia a woman at a test screening tried to sue MGM after seeing this movie saying that it caused her to have a miscarriage.  That is a strong accusation for something distasteful.  That being said if you are in the mood to see a movie that is really a bit of history and get a glimpse as to where society used to be give this one a watch.  You can usually find it online for free if you are really curious. 

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