In a modern retelling of Tod Browning's "Freaks" (1932), "Freakshow" tells the story of a group of criminals who chose to hide out by working security at a traveling circus. At first, they plot with an insider to steal the ticket sales, but the wily Lucy has bigger plans. She convinces the gang to let her seduce and marry the aging circus owner, Lon, in order to secure the entire circus fortune after he "suffers an accident".
Fans of Tod Browning's FREAKS will find a lot of similarities throughout this film to that 1932 classic, as well as many differences and slight changes. FREAKSHOW holds it's own while it shows homage to Browning's film. Remaking a classic like FREAKS is a hefty chore, but the filmmakers behind this task proved themselves to be worthy of the chore, and succeeded in every possible way. First off, the main thing that was done, and had to be done in my opinion, in order to pull off a successful "re-imaging" of Browning's film, was the casting of real "freaks" in the movie. I put quotes around the term "freaks" because these people are not really freaks at all, they are just regular people born with disabilities that most people could not handle with the enthusiasm and positiveness that these certain folks do. They have turned their disabilities into careers, as these "freaks" are actual sideshow performers who perform around the country today! You will see a cast of great characters, including suspension artists (people who are suspended above the ground by hooks in their skin), a half man, and a man with no arms who does everything a person with hands and arms could do, plus more. He is a master knife thrower, using his toes and leg strength to hurl knives towards the target, hitting it every time. (Special Feature footage of this man driving to work with this feet is both amazing and inspirational to watch). Wow....this review is getting too light and fluffy for a Horror film of this magnitude....on to the gore!!
The film is full of great gore, most notably the end scene when the "freaks" extract their revenge onto Lucy, the beautiful woman who was trying to bankrupt their circus for her gain. What they do to Lucy is truly horrifying and done with such realism and belief that I found myself squirming in pain for her! Most movies don't generate this kind of response from me, but this movie did for sure. If you thought the torture scenes in the HOSTEL films were bad, just wait until you watch the last ten minutes of FREAKSHOW!
Great acting, great effects, great camera work, great story....I have nothing but positive things to say about this film. Even the music caught my attention as being extremely good, which I honestly don't pay much attention to in a lot of films. This film is full of original music recordings of songs from the late teens and early 20's era of music. That old music with the record player scratch sounds and general tone set a very creepy atmosphere for the film. Any fan of the original FREAKS will love this film, and even if you have never heard of Tod Browning's FREAKS, you will still enjoy it. I highly recommend this film for any Horror movie fan!
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