Day 11 (Alex): Freaks

On Day 11, I'm going to review the 1932 film, Freaks, suggested to me by Jonathan Ryan Futral. 

I always enjoy the variety of horror films each year, and looked forward to a black and white classic that I've not seen yet. 

Unlike the other classic films, such as Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Freaks really lived up to its name. Showcasing actual carnival-working people with deformities, Freaks was more of a classic crime mystery than a horror film. But, the real horror is experiencing these poor souls playing out these parts. It was, quite honestly, exploitation for profit. 

I learned tonight that this 64-minute was originally edited to 90 minutes, but was banned because of disturbing content. The original is forever gone, so I wonder, and shudder, to think what they cut from the film. 

Freaks opens up with people observing the maimed body of a beautiful woman. Then we go back in time to her story, as she lives in a carnival with, you got it, a bunch of freaks. The story progresses from there as we try to guess how she dies and how. 

I can't say I recommend this to you. Not only is it disturbing, but the plot is very basic and predictable. Interestingly enough, the director of this film enjoyed many successes, UNTIL Freaks wrapped. This led him to a sudden derailment of his career. Even the UK banned the edited film for 30 years. 

If you really want to see a good black and white horror film, stick with Nosferatu and Dr. Caligari. 

Nonetheless, I'm glad to have seen this one as a study of film. Thanks for the recommendation, Jonathan. I'm sorry to say I have to give Freaks only 2 bits out of 8.