31 Days of Horror Movies: Freaks - Mania.com

Mania's 31 Days of Horror Movies

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  • Rated: Unrated
  • Starring: Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Olga Baclanova
  • Written By: Clarence Aaron Tod Robbins (story)
  • Directed By: Tod Browning
  • Genre: Monsters
  • Run Time: 64 Minutes
  • Series:

31 Days of Horror Movies: Freaks

Day 6

By Robert T. Trate     October 06, 2013
Source: Mania.com

Freaks (1932)
Halloween is a special time. It is the one time of year when everyone gives of themselves. What they give can be anything from candy to a scare. We thought this October, we here at Mania would give you 31 Horror Films for the 31 days of October. Now, many of you will know these films. Some of you, may not. Get ready for 31 days of Horror Films that will run gauntlet from scary to campy, from horrific to down right ridiculous. Happy Halloween from Mania! 

Day 6 brings us to Freaks (1932) directed by Tod Browning. The immortal director that brought Dracula (1931) to life and launched the entire Universal Horror Series.

The main story of Freaks is about a circus dwarf named Hans (Harry Earles) who falls in love with the show’s trapeze artist, Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova).  The problem is she is a “big person” and he is a little one. The heart of this film is story about greed, deception, love, family, and, above all, loyalty.  Cleopatra wants nothing to do with Hans until after she discovers that he is a rich prince.   She marries him and, just as quickly, tries to poison him to inherit all his money.

What makes Freaks amazing, controversial, and banned in many countries, was that Tod Browning used actual sideshow freaks in his supporting cast.  So instead of looking at actors in scary makeup, we see actual people that are different and, at times, shocking.  However, in this story, the “freaks”, are not the monsters, they are the heroes.  We are then asked to judge what makes people monsters?  Is it the way they look or is it the way they act?

The DVD was released with incredible retrospectives about the film and the actors in it.  There is also an incredible documentary about the history of the sideshow experience. These DVD extras only add to your appreciation of what Browning was trying to accomplish in his long lost classic.

This a different horror film for Halloween because the true monsters in Freaks are the normal looking people, proving that beauty truly lies within.

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SarcasticCaveman 10/6/2013 4:23:46 PM


RobertTrate 10/6/2013 7:04:47 PM

 Google Goggle! Make it a loving cup!

monkeyfoot 10/6/2013 8:24:49 PM

I have only seen a few minutes of this movie. Why? This movie actually horrifies me!

I've always found the older black&white horror movies have a real spooky quality to them. The lack of color, the usual film noir lighting, the lack of alot of music in the ealy ones leaving only the hiss and crackle of old film really gives me a chill. The early Universal Pictures Dracula and Frankenstein have this. But for this, the added feature of actual handicapped people with deformities ("freaks") really does a number on me.

Normally the sight of the handicapped in real life or in a movie is nothing to me. They are just people. But put them in the spooky 30s B&W quietly crackling horror film mode and I am completely chilled to the bone. I cannot, I will not watch this movie!

redhairs99 10/7/2013 9:08:56 AM

Great flick and a great DVD with all the bonuses.  It's been a while since I lasted popped this in the old DVD player.  Might be time to dust it off again.



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