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Freaks

325 customer reviews

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Freaks + Freak Babylon: An Illustrated History of Teratology and Freakshows + American Sideshow
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Editorial Reviews

Freaks (DVD)

This pre code movie, shocking for it's time, still pushes the edge of filmmaking with it's riveting tale of love and betrayal between a normal circus performer and the wealthy carnival midget whom she marries for money and then betrays.

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Special Features

Alternate endings: Three alternate endings Audio Commentary: Commentary by David J. Skal, author of Dark Carnival: The Secret World of Tod Browning, Hollywood's Master of the Macabre Documentary: Freaks: Sideshow Cinema Other: Special message prologue added for theatrical reissueAlternate endings: Three alternate endings Audio Commentary: Commentary by David J. Skal, author of Dark Carnival: The Secret World of Tod Browning, Hollywood's Master of the Macabre Documentary: Freaks: Sideshow Cinema Other: Special message prologue added for theatrical reissueAlternate endings: Three alternate endings Audio Commentary: Commentary by David J. Skal, author of Dark Carnival: The Secret World of Tod Browning, Hollywood's Master of the Macabre Documentary: Freaks: Sideshow Cinema Other: Special message prologue added for theatrical reissueAlternate endings: Three alternate endings Audio Commentary: Commentary by David J. Skal, author of Dark Carnival: The Secret World of Tod Browning, Hollywood's Master of the Macabre Documentary: Freaks: Sideshow Cinema Other: Special message prologue added for theatrical reissue

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: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 13, 2005
  • Run Time: 62 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (325 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00027JYLC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,357 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Freaks" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

238 of 241 people found the following review helpful By David Grant on 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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81 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 9, 2001
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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68 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Steven Hellerstedt on July 10, 2005
Format: DVD
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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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 W. |  See all 4 posts
wasn't the orignal longer?
About 26 minutes of footage was chopped out by MGM after previews. Unfortunately, no one in 1932 anticipated the age of DVD extras or TCM, so the cut footage was not preserved. The original script still exists, and there are a couple of web sites that describe the missing footage.

Some of the... Read More
Dec 25, 2013 by Eric Perlin |  See all 3 posts
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