Apr 1, 2008

Freaks


Freaks is probably the most daring film ever made in the early Hollywood studio system. Even with its very simple and linear plot, it keeps you amazed throughout. The “freaks” stun in everything they do. They are the other and that is always strange to us. The film completely relies on them.

Freaks was directed by Tod Browning who earlier directed Dracula starring Bela Lugosi in 1931. After he directed Freaks in 1932, he sealed his fate as a director. The film was a commercial failure even after many edits of material considered controversial and disturbing. It was later hard for Browning to find projects. He would never again be able to achieve the quality of his earlier films.


There seems to be a trend of films featuring German midgets. Everyone is grotesque and brilliant. Even Dwarfs Started Small directed by Werner Herzog, and The Tin Drum directed by Volker Schlöndorff are two other masterpieces. Both films are also mandatory viewing for anyone interested in extraordinary and pocket-sized human abstractions.

The pinheads in Freaks may be the most frightening characters in any film ever made. They speak a language of slurred babble and have the movements similar to that of an excited puppy. Tod Browning was admirably heedless in his direction of undesirables. Somehow in the end he has us rooting for these malformed humans. Whether its our sympathy for them and/or hatred of their swindlers is unimportant. It's their strength in the end that is most significant.

Got a light?

At sixty-two minutes in length, Freaks is digestible on a regular basis. It can be viewed over and over again with same replay strength as The Evil Dead or Night of the Living Dead. Each further viewing is a nostalgic experience. It is no surprise that Freaks was selected for the National Film Registry’s archive of important American Cinema.


Freaks is a film that should be viewed by all fans of horror. It stands alone as a film that fits into no type of horror subgenre. Your getting more than your average early Hollywood studio system flick. Little Hans should be forever honored.


-Ty E

1 comment:

Rev. Phantom said...

I agree 100%. More horror fans need to discover this movie. It's brilliant.