[Visual] Tod Browning – FREAKS {Full Movie}

Posted in Film, Recommended, Visual by the.Zoo.keeper on September 18, 2010

American horror film about sideshow performers, directed and produced by Tod Browning and released by MGM, with a cast mostly composed of actual carnies. The film was based on Tod Robbins’ short story “Spurs”. Browning had been a member of a traveling circus in his early years, and much of the film was drawn from his personal experiences. In the film, the physically deformed “freaks” are inherently trusting and honorable people, while the real monsters are two of the “normal” members of the circus who conspire to murder one of the performers.

The central story is of a self-serving trapeze artist named Cleopatra, who seduces and eventually marries Hans, a sideshow midget, after learning of his large inheritance. At their wedding reception the other “freaks” resolve that they will accept her in spite of being a “normal” outsider, and hold an initiation ceremony which frightens Cleopatra, who accidentally reveals that she has been having an affair with Hercules, the strong man. Shortly thereafter, Hans is taken ill and Cleopatra begins slipping poison into his medicine to kill him so she can run away with Hercules. One of the circus performers overhears Cleopatra talking about the murder plot and tells the others. In the film’s climax, the freaks attack Cleopatra and Hercules with guns, knives, and various sharp-edged weapons, hideously mutilating them during a bad storm. The film concludes with a revelation of Cleopatra’s fate: she herself has been turned into a freak, reduced to performing in a sideshow as the squawking “human duck”. The flesh of her hands has been melted and deformed to look like duck feet and her lower half has been permanently tarred and feathered.

Because its deformed cast was shocking to moviegoers of the time, the film was banned for 30 years. In the early 1960s it was rediscovered as a counterculture cult film, and throughout the 1970s and 1980s the film was regularly shown at midnight movie screenings at several movie theaters in the United States. In 1994, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant”.

long story short; back in the day *cough* & today *cough* people who were ‘different‘ couldn’t get any play; so much so this film was banned for 30+ years.

suppose this films stands ahead of its time, as it’s the skeleton of what most ‘invasion‘ films are about these days. the ‘Freaks‘ who are the oppressed are actually the ones with honor, trust and faith in humanity while the ‘Normals‘ are shown to be the real freaks.

enjoy the full length movie above.


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Root: vimeo – Billy Blaze


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