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Freaks (2004)

Wallace Ford , Leila Hyams , Tod Browning  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (268 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 (268 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00027JYLC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,133 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
227 of 230 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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74 of 76 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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61 of 68 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
We accept her! We accept her!
One of us! One of us!
Gooble-gobble! Gooble-gobble!
Published 7 hours ago by Tyler J. Clayton
5.0 out of 5 stars it's pretty awesome.
An awkward trip into side show acts. That being said, it's pretty awesome.
Published 9 days ago by Olivia Rebert
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Amazing movie for an old movie
Published 11 days ago by BGA
5.0 out of 5 stars A must see for any student or viewer! (One of us, one of us)
We watched this in a religious studies class I had in college called "Religion and it's monsters." They can't make movies like this now days because it wouldn't be P.C. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Lauren Ewing
5.0 out of 5 stars I first saw it forty-four years in a film class in college & was so...
What a movie! I first saw it forty-four years in a film class in college & was so glad to finally get my own copy! My husband hates it, but what does he know?
Published 20 days ago by Judith L. Griffin
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic Movie
Here you have one creepy movie with a very good message regarding humanity and being disabled (the story builds to a good ending). Read more
Published 23 days ago by Consumer B
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great classic. A must have it!
Published 1 month ago by Carlos
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Wonderful and speedy!
Published 1 month ago by Sandy Summerfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This was an amazing classical movie and the best part is when they are singing
Published 1 month ago by Jacob Colunga
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie for its time.
This is a must see for those who grew up watching Friday night horror films in the early 60s.
Published 1 month ago by Robert N. Daugherty
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Topic From this Discussion
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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