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

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Advertisement
Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

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.