Tuesday, October 21, 2014

31 Days of Halloween - Day 21: Freaks

For the last few years I always do a 31 days of Halloween month. The past few years I re-read all the original Goosebumps books and before that I'd watch 31 horror movies. However I realized every single time I watched 31 Horror movies I exclusively picked ones I enjoyed. I decided to do something slightly different. I composed a list of every horror movie I owned and put them in alphabetical order. Then using a random number generator I generated 31 numbers and watched the movies that corresponded with those numbers. Some are great films and others… well… are less than fun let's say. I hope you enjoy!

Day 21: Freaks (Movie #178)

This movie used to haunt my dreams. My grandfather was a massive movie buff (specifically the oldies) and would collect books about the history of film. I remember flipping through one book that had a chapter about Freaks and seeing the images and being terrified.

For years I'd read about this film and it's legacy. I remember being in high school when I walked to my local Blockbuster and found the VHS for sale there. I immediately purchased it, ordered a cheesesteak and rushed home to watch it while I had my dinner.

I want to take a brief detour to discuss how much I miss that feeling of discovering a video that you had searched out for years. With the  internet and piracy and everything getting big DVD/Blu-Ray releases it has put an end to "the hunt"… I miss it.

If not for it's unique cast of real life side-show freaks this film would just be a crime/romance/revenge story like something out of an E.C. comic. It follows a midget who falls for the woman on the flying trapeze. When she discovers that this little person is rich she plans to marry and kill him. When the rest of the freaks learn of her plot they exact their own brand of justice on her.

The message of the movie as I've always interrupted it is a juxtaposition. While these friends are "weird"or "hideous" the true monsters in the film are the two most normal looking characters. 

The twist ending (though spoiled for me in pictures) is a delightful and eerie shot. The film manages to do a lot with a little and in a short time (only 61 minutes). This is arguably the best horror film of the 30's and that says a lot for such a golden age of cinema. 

Matt Kelly is the host of the popular podcast The Saint Mort Show, a frequent contributor to Geekscape.net, the founder of Chords for Cures and the co-writer/co-director of the upcoming comedy Describing the Moon. He also loves it when people surprise him with purchases from his Amazon Wishlist… just saying.

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