|Starring:||Rosco Ates, Harry Earles, Leila Hyams, Olga Baclanova, Wallace Ford|
|Genres:||Drama, Horror, Thriller|
|Studio:||WARNER HOME VIDEO|
|Run time:||1 hour 2 minutes|
|Rental release:||19 Jun 2006|
Most helpful review
Outstandingly beautiful - a pity it's so shortBy TristanWhite (307 reviews) from London, UK , 07 Sep 2005
[Highly rated reviewer]Having seen this film three times already and already anticipating eagerly the fourth, I think you know what way this review is going to go already. Being a subscriber to 'Bizarre' magazine I was familiar with most of these characters long before seeing this film. This is a wonderful film about freaks, sideshow oddities... but although we too may feel at times uneasy being 'voyeurs' of said freaks, such feelings are short-lived. If anything, and as is spelt out from the beginning of the film, Browning wanted to point out how they are normal people with normal feelings (sadly, half the crew refused to work with the deformed actors and actresses and the initial 'normal' leading lady screamed and left the set and had to be replaced) and he certainly gets this across. In fact, it was thanks to this movie that some of these real-life sideshow 'oddities' managed to make a name for themselves and free themselves from some of the circus bonds. Sadly this was not the case for all the actors. But back to this film. A 'little person' (a very very small midget who has a babyish face and voice) falls in love for a 'normal' woman who is really only interested in his money. By mixing with 'normal' people he is also going against the code that such 'freaks' adhered too. We are introduced to a variety of characters - real-life Siamese twins the Hilton sisters, half-man Johnny Eck, Prince Randian the 'human torso', various pinheads and other tragic figures. The ending, where all the characters work together, is inspired, moving, and one of the greatest and most suspense-driven cinematographic moments, one that after watching will live with you forevermore. I urge all of you to see it - it'll only take you an hour, and believe me you'll regret its brevity as soon as you've seen it. You will want to learn more about these wonderful people. This is a gem and thank God it is finally accessible to all.
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A fascinating piece of cinemaBy Bassman71 (700 reviews) from Didsbury, England , 05 Aug 2013Tod Brownings controversial film about a travelling circus and its very colourful cast. A fascinating piece of cinema which was banned because it upset people but shows the performers as real people and its basically like a watching a mini soap opera with very interesting characters. The film is quite comical mostly but does get very dark towards the end and the scenes with over-turned wagon are still terrifying!
Hidden TreasureBy benizdead (2 reviews) , 24 Mar 2013On the one hand it's an amazing film that addresses a topic that you could never imagine Hollywood touching now, let alone eighty years ago. On the other, it's truly unsettling in places, especially the final confrontation. What I found most surprising was that, given the era in which it was made, the so-called 'freaks' are all genuinely sympathetic characters, with the able bodied cast providing the evil and twisted roles. There's absolutely no doubt as to who Browning wanted the audience to empathise with. It's pretty amazing to think that films like this were made, yet are largely unknown.
Freaky old attitudesBy Charliescartoons (1 review) , 23 Mar 2013To a modern audience, the horror of 'Freaks' doesn't come so much from its depiction of disability and deformity to grotesque effect as it does from the realisation of how different attitudes were back then. Far from commenting on the culture of circus freak shows, the movie acts as one itself, treating its various protagonists as having a monstrous, non-human otherness. The most harrowing moment was when the microcephalic actor Schlitzie, who was positive and affectionate throughout the more truthful scenes of the movie, was suddenly crawling through mud wielding a knife at its more contrived, lighning-lit climax. Sadly this reduction of different, interesting characters to their two-dimensional horrific stereotypes nowadays just rings a bit like a bad joke.
Uniquely DisturbingBy Jensonscat (1 review) from Congleton , 19 Oct 2011This film really has to be taken in the context of the era of its release, no doubt it was considered quite shocking, hence the controversy surrounding it.
It's still visually powerful today and the performances, if a little shaky by means of acting ability and dialogue make for truly unsettling viewing (and the editing can be quite jerky at times too...).
Tod Browning was at the birth of contemporary horror, whilst not possibly his best work, this is certainly unique.
Evoking an odd sense of sympathy for the characters and holding your curiosity until the exquisitely disturbing end...what's in the box...?!
Extremely Unique.By brianbry (13 reviews) from Leeds , 16 Sep 2011This film is so unique. It's truly different.
I've never seen anything like it, and the stars are so inspirational. Researching the actors after watching the film is as interesting as the film.
It's truly un-pc against the 'Freaks', but it's a phenomenal film. It really emphasises the 1930s opinions on those who aren't 'normal'.
You'll enjoy it if you're a fan of classic movies or are interested in culture and opinions held in the 20s & 30s.
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