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Freaks [Import]

DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

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Tod Browning, who directed Bela Lugosi in the original Dracula, stepped into even eerier territory with this 1932 story of betrayal and retribution in the circus. Evil trapeze artist Olga Baclanova seduces and marries a midget in the circus sideshow, hoping to inherit his wealth. But in doing so, she has crossed the wrong folks: the tightly knit group of nature's aberrations, who stick together like family--and who set out to avenge their little pal. Browning brought in some of the most famous sideshow attractions of the era, include Siamese twins Daisy and Violet Hilton and Johnny Eck the Legless Boy, as well as Zip and Pip, microcephalics whose appearance in this film inspired cartoonist Bill Griffith to create his comic strip, "Zippy the Pinhead." So disturbing that it was banned for 30 years in Great Britain. --Marshall Fine

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Robert Badgley TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Freaks,released in February 1932,was and is a title that says as much about itself as it does about its' subject matter.It was a curiosity then and remains so to this day.Judged on its' merits as a film,and all that that implies,it comes up far short of its'intended goals.
Browning had previously worked with Lon Chaney who was THE master of grotesquery in his characterizations.He also had directed the horror hit Dracula the year previously.Mix this with the so called "Great Depression" and the studios desperation to keep their heads above water and looking for new ideas to intice patrons into the theatres,and you have the movie Freaks.
The movies' centrepiece is two midgets,Hans and Frieda(Harry and Daisy Earles-real life brother and sister).Both are part of the "freak" section of the circus performers and are engaged to be married.Enter trapeze artist Cleopatra(Olga Baclanova)who catches the eye of little Hans.She humours and eggs him on by flirting openly with him,much to Frieda's chagrin and embarrassement.Cleopatra however goes for the circus strongman Hercules(Henry Victor) and they both take great delight in humiliating Hans and the other "freaks" frequently.
When Cleopatra learns that Hans has alot of money she talks him into marrying her.Frieda tries to tell Hans it's a sham,but he won't listen and goes ahead with the marriage.During a reception it becomes apparent to Hans things aren't what they should be when Hercules kisses Cleopatra openly.And when the "freaks" in attendance chant that they "accept her"(Cleopatra),she becomes enraged at the thought and tells them to take a hike.During the reception she had slipped a poison into Hans drink-starting early to get rid of him and collect on his money.
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By J
Format:DVD
Creepy. Disturbing. Difficult to sit through. Compelling. Thought provoking. Touching. Maybe even a little bit brilliant. Only a simpleton could watch this movie and come away completely unaffected. The freaks are a clan and they stick together and look out for each other and woe to the person who harms one of them. The freaks know that, for a normal person, the greatest punishment is to be made a freak. They use this to their advantage in a climax both compelling and frightening. Will stay with you for days.
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Format:DVD
todd browning's films too often get compared to james whale's films and, consequently, come up short.
while i am the first to agree that browning's 'dracula' artistically pales to whale's 'frankenstein', i think the point is rather mute.
the quintessential browning film is here in 'freaks' and it does indeed contain the blazing, unique, twisted visison of todd browning.
yes, the film also has his flaws, the main one beingt he stilted dialogue.
browning was a 'silent director' and this film's major flaw
(like 'dracula' )is the fact that it isn't a silent.
in only scene does the dialogue work and that is in the chorus like 'we accept her' scene; a scene to send chills down yuor spine even today.
but, to harp on the flaws, detracts from what this so obviousely is; a flawed masterpeice from a true auteur.
it's history is well knwon.
thalberg ordered browning to come up with a film to outdo frankenstein and dracula.
much to thalberg's chagrin, browning delivered freaks and mgm promptly shelved it.
i recall reading much about the film as a child. when the day of vcrs came round blackhawk films announced they were carrying this for a hundred dollars and i promptly ordered it.
it was one of those films that after reading about it for so long i was a little bit dissapointed and at the same time, floored, which i expected to be.
if you accept the flaws of the film you will be as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Holds up as a disturbing masterpiece... Jan. 12 2004
Format:DVD
Too bad there isn't an affordable way to own the DVD of this incredible film. It still manages to shock and disturb nearly a century after its release and has timeless lessons about human compassion, or the lack thereof. For anyone who has ever experienced rejection...for anyone who has ever rejectED, this brilliant "little" movie will haunt you always.
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5.0 out of 5 stars BRING IT BACK INTO PRINT! Dec 31 2003
Format:VHS Tape
PLEASE bring this back into print in some format. VHS, DVD, I don't care. I love this movie but I just can't afford $50 plus S&H for a used copy. The market it here, just give us the supply!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Old But Awesome! Nov. 23 2003
Format:DVD
This film came out the year my dad was born....1933....
its amazing to me to watch a movie this old and still find it
thrilling and a bit scarey. If youve read all the other reviews then you know about the Director and Writer...Bla Bla...
but overall..let me tell you...this movie is cool..Odd and a bit insane...circus freaks and their daily lives....a bit like a soap opera....but oh so demented....if you like twisted tales of love and revenge then watch this.
I waited about 15 years to finally see this film....it was well worth the wait....
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5.0 out of 5 stars AN UNIQUE FILM Nov. 11 2003
By Rob
Format:VHS Tape
FREAKS IS AN UNIQUE FILM THAT SHOWCASES THE DAILY LIVES OF CIRCUS FOLK AMID BETRAYED LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP. IT BASICALLY FOLLOWS THE CIRCUS PROMOTER WHO IS A MIDGET AND THE LOVE TRIANGLE BETWEEN HIS WIFE, ANOTHER MIDGET, AND A GOLDIGGER WHO WANTS HIS MONEY. IT DEPICTS BROTHERHOOD AND THE CODE OF THE FREAKS WHICH IS EVERLASTING AND HAS DIRE CONSEQUENCES IF YOU BREAK THEM. THIS MOVIE IS CLEVER AND POIGENT AND SHOULD BE SEEN BY PEOPLE OF ALL AGES.
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