When Tod Browning’s 1932 film ‘Freaks‘ first hit the screens, it was met with shock and outrage, leading to widespread censorship and bans in various countries. The film’s subject matter—centered around a group of circus performers with various physical anomalies—made many viewers uncomfortable, causing it to be branded as a horror flick.
However, looking back on ‘Freaks’ today, it’s clear that the film is so much more than its initial reception might have led people to believe. Rather than being a horror movie, ‘Freaks’ is a touching and dramatic portrayal of outcasts, shining a light on the strength of human connections and the importance of acceptance.
A Misunderstood Masterpiece
Back in the 1930s, ‘Freaks’ was considered too shocking for audiences, resulting in bans and heavy edits that ultimately hindered its success. The film dared to show people with physical differences in a way that was unheard of for its time, challenging societal norms and expectations.
Over the years, however, opinions on ‘Freaks’ began to shift as people recognized the film’s groundbreaking nature. In 1994, it was added to the United States National Film Registry, cementing its status as a culturally significant work that defied traditional Hollywood narratives.
The True ‘Freaks’ – A Study Of Character
The brilliance of ‘Freaks’ lies in its character development. While the film may feature individuals with physical differences, it’s the so-called ‘normal’ people who are depicted as the real monsters. Characters like Cleopatra and Hercules, who initially seem like the heroes, reveal themselves as deceitful and cruel individuals.
On the other hand, the ‘freaks’ are shown to be kind, supportive, and loving toward one another. This heartwarming portrayal challenges viewers to question their own preconceived notions and stereotypes, allowing the film to humanize its characters in a manner that was truly revolutionary for its time.
The Film’s Message And Relevance Today
‘Freaks’ remains relevant in today’s society with its themes of acceptance, tolerance, and empathy for those who are different. Despite the progress we’ve made, people are still judged based on appearances, often leading to discrimination and ostracization.
The film’s impact on popular culture is evident through its influence on subsequent works like the television show ‘American Horror Story.’ By revisiting ‘Freaks,’ we can be reminded of the importance of embracing our differences and striving for a more inclusive world.
The Genre Debate – Drama, Not Horror
Classifying ‘Freaks’ as a horror film does it a great disservice. The movie, in essence, is a powerful drama that delves deep into relationships, human emotions, and the complexities of life. The film’s tender moments, such as the love story between Hans and Frieda, showcase its dramatic nature.
Recognizing ‘Freaks’ as a drama instead of a horror film is the starting point to appreciate its true message and the impact it has had on challenging stereotypes and promoting empathy for those who are different.
Embracing the Heart Of ‘Freaks’
In conclusion, ‘Freaks’ is a poignant and heartfelt portrayal of outcasts that transcends the horror label it was initially given. The film urges viewers to look beyond physical appearances, emphasizing the importance of empathy, understanding, and acceptance. As we revisit ‘Freaks’ with an open mind, we can appreciate the groundbreaking nature of this classic film and use its message to foster a more accepting and empathetic society.