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Freaks
Forbidden Love / Nature's Mistakes

USA 1932
produced by
Tod Browning, Harry Rapf, Irving Thalberg for MGM
directed by Tod Browning
starring Harry Earles, Olga Baclanova, Henry Victor, Daisy Earles, Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Roscoe Ates, Rose Dione, the Hilton Sisters (Daisy Hilton, Violet Hilton), Schlitze, Josephine Joseph, Johnny Eck, Frances O'Connor, Peter Robinson, Olga Roderick, Koo Koo, Prince Randian, Martha Morris, Elvira Snow, Jenny Lee Snow, Elizabeth Green, Angelo Rossitto, Edward Brophy, Matt McHugh, Burgess Meredith, Murray Kinnell, Michael Visaroff, Albert Conti, Mathilde Comont
screenplay by Willis Goldbeck, Leon Gordon, Charles MacArthur, based on the story Spurs by Clarence Aaron 'Tod' Robbins

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A carneval sideshow: Midget Hans (Harry Earles) has long been the fiancé of midget Frieda (Daisy Earles), but he can't help being fascinated by trapeze artiste Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova), a normally grown woman who feels nothing but contempt for the sideshow-"freaks" and has something going on with strongman Hercules (Henry Victor) - but she likes the gifts Hans gives her and constantly borrows money from him. Frieda begs Cleopatra to let Hans go for her sake, but accidently lets it slip that he is about to inherit a vast fortune - and the next thing you know, Cleopatra gets married to Hans ... in a ceremony in which the sideshow freaks want to make her one of theirs symbolically, much to her horror, and during which she humiliates Hans. Hans forgives her though, and from now on, she starts poisoning him, but soon enough, Hans's freak friends find out, and eventually, during a thunderstorm, they have their revenge on her, turning her into the biggest freak, a half human, half bird hybrid.

 

Most often, Freaks is labelled as a horror film, which it, apart from the atmospheric finale, simply is not. Instead it is a very humane film, taking a compassionate yet kitsch-free look at the lives of its sideshow performers, who apart from being physically deformed, are humanslike you and me with an exceptional sense of community. The real freaks on the other hand, the monsters, are the normal people, those who think themselves superior to those who are different in whichever way. Now all of this makes the film sound like one of these cheesy movies that try to hammer home their obvious messages in the most obnoxious ways - but Freaks is no such thing, it's a very subtle and subtly narrated drama that might not have much new to tell on a narrative level but uses its scenery and in fact its subject matter in the best bossible way without exploiting its performers.

A classic and a must-see.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD