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Freaks [Import]


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Product Details

  • Language: English, German
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JH9W

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The Unknown Filmmaker on Oct. 22 2003
Format: DVD
For anyone who thinks "Freaks" is merely exploitation, guess what? You're right. Cinema is all exploitation. To exploit means "to make the most of" or "achieve highest expression," and that is exactly what director Tod Browning does with his 1932 masterpiece, "Freaks." He takes a rather simple story: greedy trapeze artist foiling a love-struck midget into a marriage of convenience, and makes it special. First, he populates it with real-life "freaks," (a term that in today's p.c. world makes one shudder) allowing them to speak their own voices. Sure, their acting is not exactly Oscar-caliber, but neither is that of the ensemble cast of Visconti's neorealistic, "La Terra Trema," and yet, the latter film ranks amongst the world's all-time greats. Browning's film is not a horror film by any means. It may be frightening or disturbing, but its effectiveness stems from a deeper realm of cinematic mastery. Browning seems to use more artistic freedom here than he had been allowed in his earlier Universal classic, "Dracula," and the result is pure magic. While "perfect" is not an adjective that one would readily apply to "Freaks," (and by the way, even "Citizen Kane" contains some interesting technical and/or creative flaws), let it be said that like other chilling classics, such as Herk Harvey's "Carnival of Souls" (1960), and Hitchcock's "Psycho" (1960), "Freaks" may well be one of the most inspirational movies for aspiring filmmakers and avid film buffs ever made. It is complex in its simplicity; it is tragic in its purity; and ultimately, it is the stuff that celluloid dreams are made of... just ask David Lynch if "Freaks" entered his mind while he was making "The Elephant Man."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "dubberuckie" on Feb. 4 2002
Format: VHS Tape
They say people ran screaming out of the theatres when this movie was first shown back in the 30s. What they don't tell you is that this is not a horror movie. This movie is actually intended to show real freaks in real life; the story plot is probably the most unrealistic part of the movie, even though it's standard soap opera and you might even watch this same plot on TV today.
What makes this movie interesting isn't the plot, it's the actors, or I should say the people acting out the story. Because most of them aren't really acting. The leading villainess is probably an actor, I don't know. And there are probably a few other real actors here. But most of the "actors" are real freaks: the pinheads, the midgets, the siamese twins, the human torso. The pinheads don't need to act out their confusion and inarticulation; it's real. The midgets don't have to act out their social isolation. The siamese twins don't have to act out their physical and mental fusion. And the human torso doesn't have to practice lighting a cigarette with no arms and no legs to make it look real.
Because these "actors" are real freaks. And, more importantly, they are real human beings. Which is why the title "Freaks" is so ironic; this is a movie about human beings who also happen to be freaks.
Seventy years ago, people ran away screaming because they didn't want to believe it was real, and this movie was banned for a long time. Today, I'd like to think that people watching this movie have more understanding about the real message in this movie, that a human freak is not just a freak, but a human being also.
This is not a horror movie. And it's not an exploitation movie. It's in a category all by itself. It will fascinate you and repell you, and hopefully make you think.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Johny Bottom on Feb. 26 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Whoa! That's all you can say after watching this weird, yet hypnotizing flick. Freak after freak are paraded in front of the camera as a tale of love and greed unfolds. I'm sure back in the day, the ending shocked everyone, but by today's standards it was nothing spectacular. It's the freaks themselves that shock the viewer. The pinheads are very disturbing. Watch as a man with no legs and no arms rolls his own cigarette.
Basiclly the plot is this. A beautiful (and I mean HOT!) blonde trapeze artist fools a midget into marrying her. All along she has a lover and the two of them are only interested in the midgets fortune and want to kill him. Well the freaks find out and avenge their friend without mercy. The beautiful woman is transformed into a friggin' retarded, legless, chicken! This movie will leave you feeling that you just came down off drugs. Pretty powerful for an early thirties flick. But considering it came from the same guy that directed Frankenstein, it's not that surprising.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gary F. Taylor on Dec 9 2001
Format: VHS Tape
In one sense, FREAKS is not a greatly well-make film. The plot is little more than soap-opera, the script is weak, the performances are merely adequate, and the cinematography and sound are occasionally a bit less than adequate. Even so, it is a very memorable film. The thing which makes the film memorable? Why, the "Freaks," of course.
Some of these so-called "freaks," such as the famous Hilton sisters, were actually popular stage performers; others were from circuses, carnvials, and sideshows. Among the latter we find several performers who are very obviously mentally impaired. Their presence gives the film a certain aura of explotation that will likely make a modern viewer feel more than a little uncomfortable. The viewer's discomfort is further increased because, with the exception of a very few (again, the Hilton sisters come to mind), these performers do not actually perform at all. They simply exist, and director Browning uses them much as one would use a set device or a special effect. The the result can be profoundly disturbing indeed, particularly in the film's climax, when we watch the "Freaks" flop, slither, and crawl through the mud in a driving rain--and more disturbing still when one of the most obviously mentally impaired cheerfully picks up a knife with which to attack their victim.
I generally tell people they should see the film at least once. After that--it rather depends on how you feel about it, whether or not you think the director is justified in the display. And that is no "modern" issue--it was the issue then as well. For myself, I have seen the film at least three times: once at a film festival; once, when it was rented by a friend who wished to see it; and once when it just happened to be the only going on cable tv at 2 in the morning. And my own feelings about it? I don't know. I bet you won't either. And that, really, is why FREAKS remains such a disturbing film even to this day.
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