61 Days of Halloween- Freaks

Most holidays worth their while encompass entire seasons, such as Christmas, for example. However, as you may have noticed there is a corporate push every year for us to think about the next holiday even sooner. While this has many negative side effects I figure I may as well embrace it.

Since Labor Day is really only good for college football and movie marathons cinematically it is as significant as Arbor Day, which means the next big day on the calendar is Halloween and we can start looking toward it starting now.

Daily I will be viewing films in the horror genre between now and then and sharing the wealth. Many, as is usually the case, will not be worth it so for every disappointment so I will try and suggest something worth while as well.

Freaks

Freaks (MGM)

I was told by a film professor that this was the only horror film he’d ever seen that had any sort of ‘timeless resonance’ with him. Upon seeing the film and reading these reviews I’m left scratching my head. The one word that came to mind as I was watching this movie was “flat.”

Also, there are a few misconceptions about this film:

One, aside form the ending there is no horror in this film it is a drama that toes the line uneasily with melodrama, melodrama in a bad sense as the word is not necessarily always a pejorative.

Two, I don’t find the freaks vulgar and/or offensive which is what categorizing this film as horror indicates. While their plight is sad and this film does portray their objectification well but in the end all it does is feed on our juvenile fear of the odd-thing which frankly doesn’t frighten me.

Freaks was a shocking film and controversial upon its release, however, now it merely comes across as dated. If you wanted a list of milestones in horror film history this film would be there, however, on a ten best list I’d most definitely exclude it. Milestones and great films are not always one in the same.

6/10

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