Caught this old gem at a independent theater downtown the other day, and what a absolute treat it was! Sad to hear that a whole third of the original print was cut out and lost in the thirties. Would love to see what made the original print so outrageous and "freakish" that they had to chop it down.
Not so much a film as it is Tod Browning's unmediated grey matter projected in screen for us to see. A genuine labour of love, his engagement is evident in the constantly darting camera (in 1932 no less!), the huge canvas, and the mesmerizing craft in the final, rain drenched sequence. Still unsurpassed as a major studio personal statement, the film remains creepy after a full 86 years.
Enjoyed alot, but butchering in the editing room and some bad acting hampers it and it doesnt really deserve 5 stars in edited form. The original cut?Yea I think easily 5 stars or more for influence. In present form, still essential precode film and high pt in Brownings catalog. I felt Dracula was a bit creaky, this feels fresh as a daisy and harkens back to his silents w/ Chaney. 4.5, must see. Unconventional horror
Had this not been made in 1931, and had the actors not actually been deformed and yet spectacular, this movie's depiction of "everyone's need for love," no matter the body, or its reversal of the able-bodied as the "real" freaks, would not be considered profound or gracious, but cliché. But it was made in 1932, and the actors' deformities do appear all the more supernatural in the beautiful black-and-white celluloid.
Essential cinema. Browning's fascination with the circus, carnies and freak shows resulted in this controversial, misunderstood and now classic horror film. The film's power lies in exposing the true monsters whose eventual comeuppance is truly horrifying and disturbing. 'One of us' indeed.
Tod Browning's Freaks is often labeled as a horror film, which in my opinion is a huge mistake. Freaks is first and foremost a love story, a drama and a tale of revenge. When it was first released it was largely shunned and rejected. Browning creates a film that is decades ahead of it's time. The film is full of memorable side characters and it has a lovely atmosphere. Freaks is a genuine cult classic!