Wednesday, June 30, 2010
6. Freaks (1932)
We accept you, one of us! Gooble Gobble!
I really fell in love with movies twice. The first time was when I watched my first movies in the theater between the ages of 4-6 (Follow that Bird, The Goonies, An American Tail, Star Trek III: The Search For Spock). The second time I fell in love with movies came when I was a Freshman at ECU and I discovered East Coast Music & Video. Most rentals were still VHS so Gil at East Coast rented DVDs for .99 cent apiece. Let's just say I was hooked. The reason I bring this up for this movie was that East Coast had the normal video sections (action, drama, horror, etc.), but they also had a "cult" section. I had never heard of most of these movies, but they intrigued the heck out of me. Freaks was one of my first selections from this section and it had an overwhelming effect on me.
Tod Browning's Freaks challenged my idea of what a movie could or should be. The movie is short (64 minutes), has no famous actors (or decent acting for that matter), and uses real-life "circus freaks" pretty-much portraying themselves. Most importantly this movie showed me how powerful movies could be. The bottom line is that this movie is not a very GOOD movie from a technical point of view, but it IS very relevant to everyday life. I draw direct parallels between this movie and modern socially-minded documentaries. Both use seemingly insignificant storylines to achieve the ultimate goal of moving the viewer to action.
The film itself is about two "normal" people who attempt to con a little person out of a bunch of money. His "freak" friends smell a rat and come to the rescue. One of the highlights includes watching a man with no legs and no arms roll his own cigarette, light it, and proceed to smoke...