Movies that are slightly off.
The love story of a SIREN, a GIANT, and a DWARF!
A carnival barker displays a sideshow freak called the Feathered Hen and tells her story. Cleopatra, a trapeze artist with the carnival, is adored by a midget named Hans. Frieda, Hans' fiancée (also a midget), warns Hans that Cleopatra is only interested in him so that he will give her money. Cleopatra has an affair with Hercules, and when Frieda lets it slip that Hans is to come into an inheritance, Cleopatra and Hercules plan to get the money be having Cleopatra marry Hans. During the wedding reception, Cleopatra, although openly romantic with Hercules, is accepted by the freaks, but is revolted and mocks them. The freaks decide that they no longer need Hercules in their carnival and have a new career for Cleopatra all lined up, and make sure she doesn't 'chicken' out.
A startlingly brave film for the time it was made in, Freaks is a powerful, empathetic story that still retains its power today. Quite who the real monsters are becomes clearer the more we are taken into the world of these circus performers. The horror arrives not from those who appear different from the 'norm' but those who cannot accept them.
There are moments of course where Tod Browning verges on exploiting the very same people he is trying to humanise. Some scenes are clearly set up as a spectacle, such as the man without limbs lighting his own cigarette or the rush to the bearded lady's tent to see her newborn. Yet by not filming their performances in the…
We accept you, one of us! Gooble Gobble!
A year after Tod Browning immortalized Bela Lugosi as Dracula he came out with the ever so controversial Freaks, a film that, all things considered, is better then the director's more famous earlier outing. It's also the film that supposedly brought on the demise of his career.
Looking at the poster you can see the studio trying to sell the picture as an exploitation flick with headlines like "Can a full grown woman truly love a midget?". MGM was basically acting like a carnival barker trying to get spectators to look at their "freakshow".
The film itself is much more then the poster suggests though. While it's cast mostly all have…
This holds up tremendously in one definitive category- the frank depiction of everyday freak-life. It's less about acting and more about real deformities captured in mundane existence. This is a sad film by the end, generating huge amounts of empathy without forcing trite stereotypes upon the freaks. They exist as they are and therefore the film refuses to spotlight the performers with any fake qualities. The honesty on screen is what has aged this finely. Director Todd Browning does not shy away from the shit luck these people were dealt in life. In the end, the story concludes as an essential morality tale and a fascinating window into the past.
Todavía, el flashback más crudo de la Historia del Cine.
Las habrá más salvajes, las habrá más incorrectas, las habrá más enternecedoras, insólitas o desoladoras, pero ninguna es todo eso (y mucho más) a la vez. Esa es la razón por la que 'Freaks' es una película sin parangón.
If Richard Linklater time traveled and landed in a crazy circus atmosphere, Freaks is the movie that would have been inspired in him. Like Linklater films, the plot is there, but minimal and not as important as it's community of characters. We are given a glimpse into the life and mind of all the norms and "Freaks", capturing this twisted Circus World so vividly and sympathetically.
Gooble gobble! 80 years later, Tod Browning's revenge tale set among a community of circus sideshow performers is just as unsettling. Much of the film's power comes from Browning's unsensational depiction of his cast of physically (and, in some cases, developmentally) disabled performers - the mostly wooden acting (though Harry Earles, as diminutive ringmaster Hans, is pretty suave) is a worthy trade-off for the verisimilitude. While it's not a message movie, it is fascinating how the "freaks" are disturbing only because of the cultural baggage we bring to the film; they're actually the characters who are portrayed with dignity throughout the film, while it's the "normal" characters who are truly monstrous. It's an idea - Who are the real monsters? - that countless other horror films have explored, but rarely as successfully.
NR 64 m. 1932
Wallace Ford (Phroso), Leila Hyams (Venus), Olga Baclanova (Cleopatra), Roscoe Ates (Roscoe (as Rosco Ates), Henry Victor (Hercules), Harry Earles (Hans), Daisy Earles (Frieda), Rose Dione (Madame Tetrallini), Daisy Hilton (Siamese Twin), Violet Hilton (Siamese Twin), Schlitze (Himself), Josephine Joseph (Half Woman-Half Man), Johnny Eck (Half Boy), Frances O'Connor (Armless Girl), Peter Robinson (Human Skeleton), Olga Roderick (Bearded Lady), Koo Koo (By Herself), Prince Randian (The Living Torso (as Rardion), Martha Morris (Armless Girl), Elvira Snow (Pinhead (as Zip), Jenny Lee Snow (Pinhead (as Pip), Elizabeth Green (Bird Girl), Angelo Rossitto (Angeleno), Edward Brophy (Rollo Brother), Matt McHugh (Rollo Brother (as Mat McHugh). Directed by Tod Browning. Screenplay by Willis Goldbeck (uncredited), Leon Gordon (uncredited), and Charles MacArthur (uncredited), suggested by the story "Spurs" by Clarence Aaron 'Tod' Robbins (as Tod Robbins).
It's a shame that the original 90 minute cut of Freaks is lost because it sounds like it would've been absolutely mindblowing (although obviously it's easy to make claims on that on some of these legendary old lost films; with the myth expanding for decades). Still, even in its truncated form, Freaks is a unique and impactful experience that's endured. I can't even imagine the effect it must've had on a 1932 audience (although the shocked, disgusted contemporary reviews and the fact it pretty much killed Tod Browning's career give an idea). It must've been truly nightmarish.
At the heart of this revenger's tale about a troupe of freaks taking revenge on a mean-spirited trapeze artist who wrongs them is…
I'm abstaining from giving this any kind of rating, as it seems to exist in a universe outside the traditional framework of all narrative filmmaking. It's something much bigger and more ambitious than a straight-up transfer of sideshow stars to film, but a lot of that seems to have been, of course, lost when nearly a half hour of the film was cut.
The film mixes documentary elements (these people are not special effects) with fictional elements in a way that disturbs me greatly. Films should not do this, IMO. Did Browning even know what he was doing when he simultaneously includes one of the most gob-smackingly compassionate sequences I've ever seen (the clown complimenting Schlitze on her dress) with the freaks crawling through the mud like monsters? This is not horror, even, but something else; a hapax legomenon of film, a genre of one.
That ending was pretty uncomfortable even by modern standards, but Freaks is hardly the horror film everyone is proclaiming it to be. Instead, it's a 1930's Slice of Life film about physically deformed circus 'freaks' and their code of ethics.
It's actually kind of interesting, and it hardly runs for an hour. I'm curious of the 30 minutes cut from the film - maybe it was much more a horror before - but they can't have been too necessary.
Is Tod Browning's 1932 film "Freaks" really a horror film? Well, somewhat. Some scenes towards the ending are really chilling, and the entire film has a haunting and unsettling atmosphere. Actually, the movie would be even better if it was a bit longer, which it originally was. There's thirty minutes that were cut out of this film and no ones been able to see it since a test screening in 1932. It was cut because the audience seemed to be disturbed and shocked by the footage. A woman even threatened to sue MGM because of how disturbing it was for her.
And even without this so called shocking missing footage, "Freaks" is still genuinely haunting and even disturbing at times.…
Inimitable and very very moving. It's a mix between horror film and drama, with a necesary pinch of documentary.
The best: The wedding celebration.
The worst: The very last scene.
That ending. There is no way that this came out in 1932.
It's alright. It's got a really cool message. Also, it was an interesting piece to be made at the time. I honestly think that's what makes it a good watch to be honest.
Film #14 of April 2016 Scavenger Hunt
Task #23 - A film about "low" art.
It's been a year or so since I've seen this, but I really wanted to revisit this film. I love it because there's hardly anything like it. It was made at a time where of course it was not going to be taken well. You know what I love most about it? The people who play the "freaks" are all real people who had to live with their separate disabilities, quirks, etc. There are stories behind these people, and love to read up on them whenever I see a story about them on Dangerous Minds or whatever.
But I also remembered how much American Horror…
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…