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Freaks (2004)

Wallace Ford , Leila Hyams , Tod Browning  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (242 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Olga Baclanova, Roscoe Ates, Henry Victor
  • Directors: Tod Browning
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 10, 2004
  • Run Time: 62 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (242 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00027JYLC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,435 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Freaks" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New "making-of" documentary
  • Special prologue added for reissue
  • 3 alternate endings

Editorial Reviews

Wallace Ford, Olga Baclanova. Circus freaks" strike back in a horrifying manner at the strong man and trapeze artist who abuse and mistreat them in this chilling cult favorite. 1932/b&w/66 min/NR/fullscreen.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
224 of 227 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unsettling, yet human, masterpiece. December 28, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Tod Browning's Freaks is a prime example of what films used to be and a sad reminder that they will never quite be like this again. Based on the short story 'Spurs' by Tod Robbins, the movie tells the story of a circus midget who falls in love with a beautiful, 'normal' trapeze artist. When she and her strongman lover try to poison him for his money, the 'freaks' exact their revenge on them. Browning, a former circus performer himself, treats his unusual cast of real-life circus freaks with genuine sympathy. They are the true human element of the film. In most ways this is the first truely compassionate horror film ever made. But upon it's release, censors flipped, audiences ran in horror, and the film was yanked from the screen and banned in Europe for 40 years. A shame, indeed, as the film is a true triumph for Browning. A film that makes a convincing argument about our expectations of beauty and humanity. Sure, it's creepy and frightening. But it's also very sad. It shows you that it's not what we look like that makes us human or that we don't have to be beautiful to be respected. A strange argument for a 'horror' film to make. The only downside to this long-lost and vastly underappreciated film is that the sound can sometimes be rather muffled and a few of the actors have thick accents that sometimes make understanding the dialogue a chore. But it's a minor complaint and doesn't really distract from the wonder up on the screen. If you're in the mood for something a little... uh... different... definitely check this one out. You will be thankful you did.
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72 of 73 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
For years I had heard about the legendary Tod Browning film "Freaks" that so upset audiences it was banned in Boston and Great Britain. I had read the short story "Spurs" on which it was based and when the film was finally screened on campus I talked my roommate into going with me. Most of the people sitting around us knew nothing about the film and when I told them about it everybody started to get nervous. Then the film began...and we all loved it! My roommate and I both had crushes on Daisy Earles who plays Frieda in the film, opposite her husband Harry as Hans. The story is quite simple: Hans and Frieda are a pair of midgets in love, but Hans thinks that Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova) the bareback rider is beautiful. Cleopatra plays with Hans' affections until she learns he has money. Over the objections of her boyfriend, Hercules (Henry Victor) the freak show strongman, she accepts Hans' proposal. During the wedding feast when the freaks accept her into their ranks, she makes it clear how much she despises them all. But when Hans starts to become ill because of the poison she is feeding him, the freaks decide it is time to take matters into their own hands. The film's climax, when the freaks chase Cleopatra and Hercules during a rainstorm, is truly chilling, although Cleopatra's final fate is as unreal as it is ironic. Read more ›
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60 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exploitation or compassion? July 10, 2005
The story isn't much. Beautiful woman marries a rich man for his money, all the while carrying on with another man behind his back. The rich man, of course, is the only one blind to the beautiful woman's duplicity, and when he finally finds out there's all heck to pay.

This time around, though, the woman is a towering 5'4", the man is a midget and his friends include the Human Torso, the Human Skeleton, and an assortment of microcephali (a.k.a. `pinheads'). Tod Browning's FREAKS (1932) started its career as a critical and box-office disaster, was resurrected in the 1960s and by the 1990s was added to the National Film Registry by the National Film Preservation Board in 1994. Very few movies start out so despised and end up so revered. But then, FREAKS is like no other movie ever made.

Even today, with my senses dulled beyond repair from years of exposure to outrageous special effects and incredible cgi animation - even though I've seen this movie three or four times over the years - it still seems shocking and unsettling. The special hour long `making of' special included on the disk, featuring David Skal and a host of circus side-show historians, provides plenty of background on many of the `freaks' in the movie. Skal also provides a commentary track, in which he discusses the many hurdles FREAKS had to overcome during its troubled early history. Better yet, he provides the viewer with information on the many deleted and edited scenes.

On one level, FREAKS isn't a very good movie. Some of the acting is terribly wooden, the A-List original cast (Myrna Loy, Victor McLaglen, Jean Harlow) begged off the project and considering their replacements and the film's short running time of 62 minutes it's obvious that MGM quickly decided that this was a b-picture.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Rock and Roll Fable
"Velvet Goldmine," from 1998, is a quite enjoyable film, centering around the Glam rock phenomenon of the early 1970s, most notably the relationship, both musically and... Read more
Published 16 hours ago by Joe Vee
5.0 out of 5 stars great movie
great movie glad to find it on dvd a classic to own and a must have for any horror fan young or old.
Published 4 days ago by jose andres gallegos
5.0 out of 5 stars great vintage classic film!
this was a classic film. to see the period it was made in and how these carnival so called freaks it was wonderful. Read more
Published 21 days ago by richard perry
5.0 out of 5 stars Great - and strange - horror film classic
That very few people have seen, I think. I've been teaching a horror film class and started with this and Nosferatu. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Erin Siodmak
4.0 out of 5 stars Gave Me The Willies
I really want to say I loved it, but it disturbed me. It supposedly is required viewing for film students.
Published 1 month ago by Fairred
5.0 out of 5 stars funny
This film pushes the brink of sanity and its just hilarious. The midget is especially entertaining because its like hearing a middle aged man speak in a boys voice
Published 1 month ago by nofx88
2.0 out of 5 stars The Tedious Plot Killed My Interest.
Viewed: 2/14
Rate: 4

2/14: Freaks is an unusual picture and deserves a place in any Cult Films List. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Austin Somlo
4.0 out of 5 stars Freaks review
It was a very good movie, The acting was great. And real people played many of the parts. I just felt so bad that they were known as "freaks" They were humans who deserved... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Kimberly Skaggs
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Horror Story
Even though this film was made in the 30s, it holds up as well now as then. It was censored when it was made and so was not shown very much until recent years. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Raven
5.0 out of 5 stars Boyfriend loves it.
I got this movie for myself after watching it not long ago, and when my boyfriend came over and saw it, begged me to let him keep it at his place. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Megan Garver
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How can you classify exploitation as "classic"
Those poor unfortunate souls made a lot of money being "exploited" and I am sure they laughed all the way to the bank. If you think the film is exploitative then you didn't watch the same film as me.
Apr 22, 2010 by Chris Winchester |  See all 4 posts
wasn't the orignal longer?
search the net for that info. I doubt it though.
Dec 1, 2011 by Michael Dobey |  See all 3 posts
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