← Back to Reviews
MovieMeditation presents...
total movie count ........... current day count
245 .......................... 271


August 13th

—— 1932 ——
—— drama ——

The love story of a siren,
a giant, and a dwarf...

What may be more fascinating than the freakish film itself is in fact the story behind the making of this human monster movie. Not only was ‘Freaks’ poorly received, panned by critics and banned cross-country for being absolutely disgusting and downright sickening to look at, but the career of the prior 'Dracula' director also fell completely apart, because of his reputation for ruining cinema with that foul freak show of a film. It wasn’t until later that it gained a cult following, where people finally began to recognize the movie as a brilliant and barrier-breaking piece of work. Unfortunately, people never had a chance to watch the weird and freakish film in its entirety, since this creature feature was completely cut to pieces by the studio for being too dark. Personally, I would have loved to see a darker and more daring version of this film, which was obviously the director’s initial intention, where it would evidently include a castration scene, continued by the person singing in falsetto. If you ask me, that sounds absolutely brilliant and it is such a shame Tod Browning didn't get a chance to expand his wild and wonderful vision...

When considering the title and titular characters, 'Freaks' didn't make me look with any kind of emotional response other than slight boredom and confusion. There were so many side stories and sub plots during the beginning of the movie, that I started to lose interest quite quickly and stopped caring about what was going on. I won’t deny the natural sense of interest when looking at abnormal beings, but I would also like to say it is more something that can impress at times rather than invest my mind. Honestly, we don’t fall off our chairs anymore when we see people who look funny, therefore I would guess this is probably also the most outdated aspect of the film. When watching a man, who is missing both arms and legs, light a cigar with nothing but his mouth I obviously think that was rather impressive, but I wouldn’t mind just watching the main storyline and save the gags for a rainy day. This aspect isn’t exactly character development, but is mainly there to show off, which just doesn’t work anymore. Maybe you could call it a weird form of world building, but I don’t think it is executed in a way that creates an atmosphere or anything.

Overall I didn’t care for that freakish exploitation outside of the main plot, but certain scenes do award it with a darkly daunting charm, which compliments the craziness of the film nicely. The actual story doesn't grab me until the end, where the freaks carries out their revenge against the "normal" people, who betrayed them and their freak-friends. The finale of the film is absolutely brilliant, where the direction, sound and set design really comes together to create an intense final act. I can't believe this was made in the 30s; the thunder and rain and underlying feel of terror is absolutely haunting. It is just too bad it never gets seriously dark, though it was supposedly supposed to be from the beginning. As a whole, this film had a bad start, a decent middle and a great end, which makes for an uneven but fairly good film. It only got better and more interesting as it went along and I liked the themes and overall obscure subject matter. It had some great moments, most of which came towards the end, but ultimately it feels underdeveloped, which makes for an unsatisfying experience. This movie is very different though and I can understand and appreciate this film and its director for making it when people weren't comfortable with such things. I'm glad I watched it, but I have no interest in watching it again.