The Unholy Three ★★★

Hoop-Tober 2017 Entry #9

Stop me if you've heard this one before: three carnies decide they've had enough and become master criminals, stealing from the "normals" who have ridiculed them for too long. Oh, and there's a killer ape and a little person who pretends to be a baby but is actually one of the criminal masterminds. And it was made in 1925. Yeah...you think we make crazy movies now? We have nothing on Tod Browning's THE UNHOLY THREE...

The quick (as I can) summary: Like I said, three carnies: a ventriloquist, little person, and strong man decide to leave the circus and become criminals. How? Well, they work in a pet store where inexplicably (maybe because it's Lon Chaney and he could) the ventriloquist disguises himself as an old woman, the little person becomes "her" baby grandson, and the strong man plays...well, a strong pet shop assistant. There's also the ventriloquist's girlfriend who's a pickpocket. And a killer ape that's actually a chimpanzee filmed to look enormous...

Look, all you need to know is it's insane and fun and essential. Before FREAKS and DRACULA Browning was making terrific silent films, often with Chaney, who is as always remarkable even when not in makeup. And any excuse to see some of these silent classics is one I'll take up.

So should you.