Freaks – #3 on the Entertainment Weekly Top 50 Cult Classics list
Director: Tod Browning
Writer: Clarence Aaron Robbins
Starring: Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, and Olga Baclanova
Favorite line: Freaks: (chanting) One of us! One of us!
We enter a world of circus performers and immediately come to focus on the sideshow acts… the freaks.
The trouble begins when Cleopatra (the trapeze artist) decides to lasso herself a little person, Hans, because she finds out that he is wealthy due to an inheritance. Playing on his long held affection for her, she lures him into marrying her but the truth is, she has duplicitous intent. Although Hans becomes privy to her true distaste for him, he still holds onto her as if she is a prize won for the years of torment he has received for being a little person. However, Daisy (also a little person) has been in love with Hans since they met and even though he tossed her aside (they had plans to marry prior to Cleopatra stealing him away) she is determined to get him back.
Learning about Cleopatra’s devious plan, Hans and the other sideshow performers develop a scheme so heinous that you’ll just have to watch to see what becomes of Cleopatra.
One of the things I most love about this movie is that Browning used real-life sideshow acts/persons for this film. My favorite sideshow person was Prince Radian (The Snake Man) who was limbless. Watching him light his cigarette without hands was very awesome. Knowing these were real-life sideshow persons made me even more intrigued with this movie, even more invested in the horrible nature and in-your-face message that you receive from this movie. Browning’s intent was never hidden and the whole of this movie is just gruesome, in many aspects.
Who hasn’t felt like a freak? Like you are just way too different from the masses and have encountered others that took it upon themselves to make sure you never forgot who you really were and how different you really are? I know I have. So when I watched this movie my heart cried out to those freaks as if I was one of them. This movie is amazing and by far one of my all-time favorites! To be shot in 1932 it’s pretty gruesome and mean but extremely good, right until the end. I wanted to bash the main characters little head in for being so easily duped and persuaded in the web of deceit he encountered but who can really blame him? We’ve all been lured into situations under false pretenses and some of us were able to pick up on it and move on, others held on trying to make right what was wrong and some of us were too far gone to see the wrong of the situation. It’s the plight of the human heart. We tend to care. Sometimes about the wrong things and the wrong people but we do care.
FILED UNDER :Chopped & Reviewed (SPOILER ALERT) , EW's Top 50 Cult Classics List
TAGGED WITH :acceptance , circus acts , Cult classics , drama , Entertainment Weekly , freaks , gruesome , hate , horror , little people , love , movies , Prince Radian , revenge , reviews , sideshow , The Snake Man