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FREAKS

Director: TOD BROWNING

64 minutes, U.S.A., 1932, Black and White, D-Cinema


This film was released on Friday 12th June 2015 and is no longer screening. 

★★★★★ The Guardian

EXCLUSIVELY AT IFI 

Following the success of Dracula (1931), director Tod Browning was hired by MGM, who were hoping to break into the lucrative horror market. The result was Freaks, drawn in part from Browning’s own youthful experiences with travelling circuses. Sideshow midget Hans is the leader of a troupe which includes a bearded woman, pinheads, and a human torso. Beautiful trapeze artist Clara seduces and marries Hans for his money, and is accepted by the company despite being a ‘normal’ person. When she is found to have been unfaithful with strongman Hercules, the freaks exact a terrible revenge.

Browning’s use of performers with real physical conditions led to severe cuts by MGM and a widespread ban on screenings. However, the film is now included on the U.S. National Film Registry, recognised as much for its compassion as its horror, and is here presented in a new digital restoration. (Notes by Kevin Coyne.)

Freaks will be one of the films discussed by our panel at The Critical Take, on June 30th at 18.30.

Don’t forget we now schedule weekly.

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