Director: Tod Browning.
Starring. Wallace Ford, Harry Earles, Olga Baclanova, Leila Hyams, Roscoe Ates, USA. 1h 04m.
This has long been one of my favourite movies since I was a young child, I think my parents realised that I was going to be watching what I liked but my mother was always a spokeswoman for learning history and basics, so I read and watched the classics, which included The Freaks! I had a hand me down horror book which I still hold dear to my heart, I obsessed over the grainy black and white photos and was really drawn to the sideshow misfits of Tod Browning’s The Freaks which I still have to admit are a huge thing for me, not just the movie but the history and scientific research and study, encouraging me to travel the world visiting museums like Mutter and seeking out Cabinet of Curiosities worldwide.
Being one of the first and (possibly) only movie with a predominant cast of genuine “circus freaks” this tale is quite European in it’s make up, with a range of fair maidens, lost love and bitter revenge it’s something quite magical, but don’t get lulled into a false sense of security this fairy tale is grotesque and dark as fuck. Continue reading The Freaks (1932)
I’ve been meaning to re watch this classic for a number of years, I remember watching it when I was likkle and not really understanding what it was all about and being black and white I don’t think my brain could really process what was going on.
So it was on the to purchase an watch list, and I finally made it there and I feel that I’ve cheated myself. It’s utter perfection, the frivolity of the light and dark shadows, the imaginative camera work and effects, blending in shadows and, mystical dream sequences all depicting the haunting nature of the vampire. Before the myth was funnelled into Dracula or sexy vampires this falls into the category of folklore and when you go back to our more primal fears surrounding monsters things tend to be more eerie.
Carl Theodor Dreyer entertains a more nightmarish experience and doesn’t focus in on the vampire herself but instead the effects of vampirism. There are a lot of strange occult experiences going on in this film, originally penned by Sheridan La Fanu, who also brought us Camilla and In a Glass Darkly. It’s hard not to connect this with other classics like Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (1920) just due to the spectacular visuals but everything is much softer, almost playful like a fairy-tale but with a very dark story.
Originally written as a gothic novel it has all of toys firmly in the pram and chucks none away, coffins, skeletons, bats, ghosts, long black dresses, this is really what it was about. To be honest this film doesn’t even need a story it’s just brilliant enough to watch, and if you ever get the chance.. watch it with the soundtrack made by a band called Year of No LIght, there is a version on the tube but buy the album and play the two together.. it will blow your mind.
Full review coming soon…