VERDICT: "In The Zone" - [Mixed Reaction] These kinds of movies are usually movies that had some good things, but some bad things kept it from being amazing. This rating says buy an ex-rental or a cheap price of the DVD to own. If you consider cinema, ask for people's opinion on the film. (Films that are rated 2.5 or 3 stars)
The ending does seem to create a different opinion however. Some viewers like the ending that is in place, however I felt it gave a mixed message to the characters we were enjoying. It will be down to personal opinion, but for me that ending stopped Freaks from becoming perfect in my eyes.
Whether you like the ending or not, Freaks still gives a strong message now as much as it did back then. Watching it really makes you realise the views some people have on those different to them.
Ok. So what's horror in it (if we are to agree with the critics)?
Limbless woman drinking from a glass, is that horror?
Man without torso, and legs moving from one spot to another, is that horror?
A worm-like man without legs and arms lights his cigarette with his mouth, is that horror?
The whole movie contained sarcastic and humorous dialogues, is that how these professional critics are going to judge a film and dub it 'legend of all horror films'.
Which university/college degree do they aspire to be over-confident enough to believe that they have more intelligence than rest of university-graduates (I do not believe that a perfect film-degree is needed in order to optimize your genius approach toward the films)? Quentin Tarantino was owner of film-shop, so?
Otherwise in case of some old critics born in later couple of decade since the release of film, might feel nostalgic about watching this in their youth - but all I ask is that why to mislead the next-generation out of your own curiosity for something that is not wholly 'horror' film?
I loved this movie (but not as a horror film - which it is not actually and I'd like to sit with those who wanna debate it with me). I like this film because it has brought a story about those characters that we disregard having seen them in our circus-tour by buying the ticket and freaking out for few minutes and forget that.
Freaks is about freakish people in the circus (although live-in circus is not shown - we are rather shown the behind-the-curtain life of these characters). Mostly they are friendly toward everybody, chilling out every bit of the time they'd had. Making fun of others, and feeling concerned about other peoples' worries.
They're polite and humble up until you act like the same way toward them. But what happens if you devise a plan to kill one of them and get away with the saved-treasure? Moreover that perpetrator of crime happens to be one of the human-beings working alongside with them? Yes, of course they'd keep their inner-quality aside and adopt what they carry in their external body, to take revenge.
The myth here is that, most of the time human-being act in the way that could've possibly been expected of those freaks.
There is popular so-called proverb in the Sindh province of Pakistan among the youths, it says, "In the today's world of high-class wardrobe worn by all-that, it has become quite IMPOSSIBLE to DISTINGUISH between a GENTLEMAN and a PIMP".
Same (rightfully) goes for the body-perfect humans in 'Freaks' who try to be exceptional from those freaks (they call), and yet in fact they are the ones acting more like it.
Fast-paced film, does not bore you, in fact you enjoy their sarcastic lines, feel pity for what they have to suffer. But please, please I humbly request you not to call this 'horror'! By calling this 'horror film' the critics have become those who do not realize the friendly and amicable environment these freakish characters enjoy in the film--- until some of people try to actually 'MURDER' one of them. If still they press about calling it 'horror' then I believe they did not understand the message of director 'Tod'.
[originally posted 5Nov2001]
While Tod Browning directed sixty-two films, from the early days of silent movies until the beginning of World War II, the vast majority of filmgoers (even of the snob variety) remember Browning solely for Freaks, his groundbreaking 1932 picture about carnival life. (Browning also directed Lugosi's Dracula and Chaney in a number of films, but the stars tended to eclipse the director in those cases.)
The plot of the film is one of the mothers of all urban legends: a "normal" woman, Cleopatra the trapeze artist (Olga Baclanova) romances a sideshow performer, Hans the midget (Harry Earles) away from his fiancee, fellow midget Freida (Harry's real-life wife, Daisy), in order to get his inheritance so she and her real love, Hercules (Henry Victor) can run off and live like king and queen. This, needless to say, disquiets the sideshow populace, who get revenge on Cleopatra in a rather unique way. The plot is also, as should be obvious, quite thin and silly. The acting, in many cases, is atrocious, aside from a few Hollywood veterans, notably Henry Victor and Roscoe Ates, both of whom were quite well-known in their day (Victor was the lead in the 1916 production of The Picture of Dorian Gray; Ates was a character actor with a resume that encompassed such films as Gone with the Wind, The Champ, King Kong, and the 1933 live-action version of Alice in Wonderland). In other words, if you're looking for your basic Hollywood blockbuster, you're going to be disappointed.
What makes Freaks (based on Clarence Robbins' novel Spurs) a classic is that Browning cast actual sideshow performers in many roles, and then handed them a script that treated them as human beings rather than freaks; the beauty of the movie's title is in its irony (something missed by many over the years who would have had the film banned). Browning's movie should have ushered in a new era of tolerance and recognition that so-called accidents of birth are human, too; unfortunately, more recent exploitation flicks like Freaks Uncensored! (1999) and the ever-popular Mondo Cane series (made between 1962 and 1988) provide pretty solid evidence that such is not the case. (It is another sad irony that the cast list for Freaks Uncensored! contains many of the same names as does Browning's film.) Still, Browning is certainly to be commended for trying, at least, and his amusing little peccadillo is certainly worth going out of your way to watch a time or two. **** 1/2