Freaks

"Good"

Freaks Review


It's one of the most controversial movies of it or any era, and it stands as possibly the only film ever quoted by Lyle Lovett in another movie.

That famous quote is, of course, "One of us! One of us!" (Lyle ommitted the "Gooble gobble" that precedes it.) The movie is Freaks, Tod Browning's bizarre 1932 film that takes place behind the scenes at a circus freakshow.

It's a simple story, told in 62 spare minutes: Wicked Russian trapeze artist Cleopatra marries the freakshow's proprietor Hans (a midget), simply to get his money. With her real boyfriend Hercules (the strongman), they plan to steal his riches and escape the circus life. But Cleopatra (who's otherwise freakless) suddenly snaps during the freaks' initiation ceremony (where the famed lines are delivered), and suddenly runs away. The freaks chase her through the rainy night... when they catch up to her, horrors await.

Director Tod Browning (Dracula, 1931), was a real circus contortionist himself, and he called on his old co-workers to populate the film. There's not a traditional actor among them, just midgets, limbless people, odd-looking types, and a pair of "pinhead" microcephalics (later immortalized in the comics as "Zippy the Pinhead"). There doesn't appear to be much of a script either, just a basic framework of a story upon which random dialogue and scandalous visuals can be laid. The exploitation and presumed horror of these characters led Freaks to be banned in a number of countries after it was released. In Britain it was actually re-rated from "R" to "X" in the 1960s!

Today you can relive the Freaks experience on DVD, though that's a cryptic and somewhat maddening affair. Putting its scandal aside, there's not a lot to Freaks, unlike Dracula, Browning isn't trying to scare you with atmosphere and plot, he's trying to horrify you with shock tactics. That's pretty pioneering for 1932, but modern desensitization to such things (hell, we have Paris Hilton on TV) mutes the freak-out effect almost completely.

The new DVD includes a documentary about the film that's longer than Freaks itself, plus a short bit about the original ending and some of its variants.



Freaks

Facts and Figures

Run time: 64 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 20th February 1932

Distributed by: MGM

Production compaines: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Fresh: 43 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 8.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Phroso, as Venus, as Cleopatra, as Roscoe, as Hercules, as Madame Tetrallini, as Siamesische Zwillinge, as Siamesische Zwillinge, Schlitze as Schlitze, Josephine Joseph as Zwitter, Koo Koo as Koo Koo, Johnny Eck as der Junge ohne Unterleib, Peter Robinson as das menschliche Skeltett, Prince Randian as der lebende Torso, as Frieda, as Hans, as Armlose

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.