Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Capsule Review: Freaks (1932)
While Tod Browning was never a visual stylist, he did have an obvious fascination with outsiders and deformity - as demonstrated in his films with Lon Chaney - however his most revered and reviled film may be this horrific melodrama featuring a variety of actual circus people in the leads. The storyline isn't anything special, dealing with a beautiful trapeze artist who attempts to marry the midget leader of the circus freaks in order to get at his fortune, but its climax featuring the array of performers stalking the woman in a rainstorm retains its ability to shock. Paced like an old Tales From The Crypt comic, the film is actually quite sympathetic to the circus folk who are shown to be compassionate and kind people, but this didn't prevent the film from being repeatedly banned for decades.