Archive for June, 2011

Eat Pi

Posted in Uncategorized on June 28, 2011 by Pi

So it’s been awhile.

I could launch into a myriad of excuses. Some of them would even be legitimate, but the main reason I haven’t written anything lately is I’m lazy and I’d much rather be enjoying the media I adore than writing about it.Every once in awhile though, I do get a wild hair and so here I am.

Thing is though, there’s no one film or show I’m ready to really focus on and dissect. So a traditional review post is pretty much out the window. Also, I haven’t had any strong feelings one way or another on a lot of things lately, which makes writing a review for me difficult. See, I know all 11 of our readers will find this difficult to believe, but since we’re not paid reviewers, it’s kinda pointless to waste hobby time on stuff you’re indifferent to. The simple fact that I’m not paid to watch and write about crap makes it unnecessary to review every movie I watch.

So instead, I’ll employ gimmickry. Gimmicks work for me. They provide structure and focus to a mind that is hella scatalogical most times. Basically, I made a list of all the shit I’ve been enjoying or hating lately and organized it A to Z. Should be fairly easy for even the most brain dead amongst us to follow, yes? And we’re off….

A=America, Captain – Full disclosure here. Captain America is my favorite superhero of all time. Yes, he’s uber-cheesy at times and he’s rather limited in the types of stories you can tell with the character, but he is and always has been my favorite. I’ve waited my whole life for a watchable Cap movie and it looks like we’re about to get it. The trailers hit all the right notes and I like that they’re focusing on the fact that Cap is a motherfucking soldier first and foremost, something a lot of writers tend to forget when they take him on. Tick told me once that Captain America is fool’s gold, meaning that the nature of the character restricts you when you’re writing him and there’s only so much you can do with him. That is true to an extent, but out of all the Marvel roster, Captain America is probably the simplest to bring to the big screen. I’m crossing my fingers that the film turns out all right, but the fanboy in me is going to geek out regardless. Fair warning for when my five star review comes across the pike…

B=Buffy The Vampire Slayer: The Long Road Home – This is Volume One of Buffy: Season 8, “But wait Pi, you fucking retard. There were only 7 seasons of Buffy!” you might be saying and I of all people, know that better than you. These are comic books written by the show’s creator Joss Whedon that pick up right where Season 7 left off. This has been out for years, but I’ve avoided it for several reasons. One, Dark Horse comics suck. Two, the art on the Buffy comics has always blown (holds true in this book too) and Three, I knew I would be voracious once I got ahold of it, so I wanted to wait until they were all done (they finally fucking are!). This first story arc shows that Joss is having a field day doing things he would have never been able to do on the show due to budget and content. I won’t spoil it for fellow Whedonites out there, but there’s some nice surprises here and the way the Scooby gang is introduced over the first 2 chapters hits all the right notes that the show always did when starting a new season. Plus, Dawn is NOT annoying. Color me amazed.

C=CM Punk – I’m writing this on June 28th. If you didn’t see Punk’s promo on the June 27th episode of Raw, you missed the best worked shoot promo I’ve ever seen. I’ve always liked Punk ever since he showed up in WWE. He really is the whole package. He can work the stick, he’s as technically solid as Bret Hart and he’s that perfect heel that manages to hit the crowd where they live. Little things like totally disrespecting tradition and sitting down crosslegged in the ring or on the ramp to cut a promo, Punk pulls off effortlessly. I’m really hoping that he just needs to recharge, that this is all just a hiatus and he’ll be back in 6 months or so, because hands down, CM Punk has been the only reason to watch WWE in a year.

D=DC Comics – For those of you not in the know, come September, DC is relaunching all their titles at number one. When you think that Action Comics and Detective Comics are almost at 1000 and have been on the same volume since the 40s, this is pretty fucking huge desperation. I’ve never really understood how this company has such a wealth of great characters on it’s roster and continually finds ways to botch everything up and piss off fans. This relaunch could go either way, if and ONLY if, they had a cohesive plan for it. But they don’t! Some titles are starting all over with “modern takes”, a la the Ultimate Universe at Marvel and some are going to keep current continuity and storylines. Already you’re fucking it up, DC. Pick one or the other. Let’s take Batman for example. You’re going to have current developments like Batman Inc and Damian Wayne as Robin, but Dick Grayson is back to being Nightwing and Barbara Gordon is back to being Batgirl. WHAT THE FUCK? First off, I am RIDICULOUSLY pissed about Babs being back in the costume. She has become ten times more vital to the Bat family since she was crippled and became Oracle. Not to mention how Dick’s getting sent back to the minors. He’s been wearing the Bat costume the past three years and now he’s back to Nightwing? And what about Stephanie/Spoiler or Cassandra Cain? Where the Hell are they? Despite the smell of monumental failure, I’m fascinated by this relaunch and it’ll hook me in for an issue or three. Whether I stay is an entirely different tale.

E=Ex Machina – I’m realizing this post has a lot of comic book stuff and I promise, we will get to some movies soon, but while we’re still on comics, Ex Machina is pretty fucking dope. It’s written by Brian K. Vaughn who wrote Y: The Last Man, which is one of the best series of the past decade and it’s really a great little book. It tells the tale of a guy who acquires superpowers and tries out the superhero thing for awhile, then parlays it into becoming the mayor of New York City. The book mixes current events (from 2002 when it began) with fantasy seamlessly and when you add political intrigue in with the other elements of a traditional comic book, it’s an engaging read. Pick up the first Trade if you’re interested.

F=Five Guys – I’m obsessed with this place. Five Guys is a burger place that started in Washington D.C., but has been spreading quickly across the country over the past couple of years. Before I go any further, let me clarify. I am a SoCal kid, born and bred. My allegiance will always be to In-N-Out, but Five Guys is damn good. The burger is thick and tasty, but the fries? My God, the fries are absolutely ridiculously awesome, in particular the Cajun fries. Plus, ordering the regular size gets you a shitload of them, way more than you could possibly eat. Five Guys are cropping up all over the place, so if one opens near you, don’t even hesitate. Just fucking go.

G=Green Lantern – Like a comic book movie was gonna get released that I didn’t see. Upfront, I gotta say I was never a Lantern fan. I always thought it was kinda gay, even though there’s a lot of things about the Corps that appeal to me. I could just never buy in, but I had a grasp of the character going into the movie and you know what? I don’t understand the criticism. Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively have been skewered for their acting, but what were you people expecting? They delivered the lines that were written for them well. You can’t fault them for the simplistic dialogue. While I felt that Reynolds was playing more Kyle than Hal, what do you expect when you cast Ryan fucking Reynolds? My favorite shitty criticism is “there was too much CGI”. Again, WHAT DID YOU EXPECT? It’s a movie about a guy who’s a Space Cop, who meets with other Space Cops from other galaxies and jizzes green spunk out of a ring that he uses his imagination to form into things. You tell me how to do that with practical effects and we can talk. Until then critics, shut the fuck up. This ain’t Black Swan. It’s Green Lantern and while I wouldn’t award it any Oscars, I enjoyed my time at the movies and felt no urge to burn anything down. That’s high fucking praise from me.

H=Hash House-A-Go-Go – If you ever find yourself in my fair city and you ever find yourself out late at night and looking for some good food, go to Hash House. Hell, you can go there any time of the day, but there’s specials late night. While they’re famous for their breakfast, Hash House has a wide, varied menu and is open 24/7. There’s a couple locations, but my favorite is the one in the M Resort, on the far South side of the city and one of Vegas’ best kept secrets from you tourists. Seek it out and thank me later.

I=Infamous 2 – My latest video game obsession. The first Infamous was life absorbing for a month or so. You’re this guy who gets the power of electricity. The first game put you in a New York/Chicago type city, lots of tall buildings to traverse and a great playground to discover and learn your powers. Infamous 2 takes place in a New Orleans-like city and while I was skeptical of losing all the height of Empire City, it’s fucking great. First off, they let you keep most of your powers from the first game from the outset. That in itself is noteworthy, because most games come up with stupid contrivances to weaken you when starting a new game. The new powers are awesome, the game is fluid as Hell and so many aspects of the game have been built upon and improved. I still think the story writing is a little weak, but it’s far from horrible. If a super hero sandbox game sounds like it appeals to you, this one gets my highest recommendation.

J=Justice League Dark – Okay, I was pretty critical about the DC relaunch earlier, but like I said, there’s some intriguing stuff in there too. This is one of them. When most people think Justice League, it’s the Big 3. Supes, Bats and Wonder Woman. How about this for a team; John Constantine, Deadman, Shade The Changing Man and Madame Xanadu? I know your supernatural geekiness is getting all excited. Add on the fact that Peter Milligan is writing this and it just seems unfair. For those of you unfamiliar with these characters, this will basically be the team traversing spiritual planes, mucking about with magicks and demons. I have high hopes for this one.

K=Kutcher, Ashton – I actually saw a movie he was in that I not only enjoyed, but I enjoyed him in it. The movie was No Strings Attached. Feel free to murder me now. I feel filthy and unclean.

L=Locke And Key – Another comic, but one that I know will appeal to just about everyone here. Written by Joe Hill, who just happens to be Stephen King’s son, Locke and Key is about a family that has a tragic death, so they move from the Bay Area (where everything is tragic) to the East. Here’s what will tell you all you need to know. The town they move to is called LOVECRAFT, Mass. Interested? You should be. This is good old-fashioned, evil demons and ghosts, Haunted House type shit. I just read the first Trade, entitled Welcome To Lovecraft and I honestly haven’t read a better comic in a long time. It’s paced perfectly, it’s suspenseful, but slowly gives you reveals when the time is right. The art style fits the mood and writing well and I gotta admit, when I first flipped through it, the art didn’t really strike me as Lovecraftian horror, but when you actually read it, it works. They filmed a TV pilot for this show that every major network turned down. It must be great.

M=Mass Effect 3 – Holy shit! Did you see the trailers from E3? My dick is hard. Kiss me goodbye when this comes out. I’ll be saving the galaxy for at least a month and hopefully, 20 of those days won’t be spent mining planets.

N=Netflix – Why doesn’t everyone in the world have Netflix? I resisted for a long time. I always liked going to the video store and browsing, but fuck that. Not getting dressed and most of all NOT FEELING BAD about turning off a movie after 30 minutes because you didn’t just spend 5 bucks to rent it, is awesome. Most of all though, the TV shows. Not having to drop 60 bucks for a season set is just awesome. It’s only going to get better too. Once Blockbuster finally emits it’s death rattle, most of those exclusives are gonna end up on Netflix. If Netflix was a person, I would hug it.

O=One Hundred Bullets – I love the comic, but that’s not why it’s fresh in my mind. Showtime is developing it as a series and all I have to say to that is FUCK YEAH! It’s about time. I’ve always thought that certain comics just don’t work as movies, but would work amazingly well as cable series. 100 Bullets is always the one I thought would translate the best. There’s no superpowers or special effects. It’s guns and noir-cool. Let the fantasy casting begin and let me begin by saying Cameron Diaz is NOT right for Megan Dietrich, but Skeet Ulrich is for Cole Cash and while Michelle Rodriguez is the easy choice for Dizzy Cordova, somehow I don’t want that.

P=Plus, Hulu – Remember everything I said about Netflix? Hulu Plus is pretty much in the same boat, sans movies. My PS3 runs pretty much 24/7 and games is it’s third function. Netflix, Hulu Plus, Games + Blu-Rays, in that order. I hate watching live TV and I currently don’t have a DVR, so Hulu Plus is a Godsend for keeping up with the latest shows. It’s a great app and it’s amazing to me that the Networks fought it so long. They’re essentially charging for shows that normally they’d give away free and once you get accustomed to it, you stick with it. It’s win win.

Q=Quick Time Events – I hate them. They were cool in God Of War when they first came out, but now it seems like any boss fight in a video game turns into a Quick Time Event. I’m just fucking sick of them. I don’t wanna play Rock Band rhythm games when I’m in the middle of hacking up legions of creatures. It’s a gimmick that’s run it’s course. Ditch it.

R=Rocksteady Games – The promotional campaign they’re running for Batman: Arkham City is great. First off, the game sells itself. It’s Batman and it’s the sequel to THE best Batman game ever, hands down. They release a few little tidbits and pieces of art every couple of months and it’s all devoured up voraciously by those of us waiting for the game. I seriously cannot wait for this game and I’m okay with it being a single player experience. Co-op would have been cool, but I’d rather the team spend more time making the best game possible, then tacking on some bullshit multiplayer mode and devoting time to all the balancing issues created by doing so. This is another game that is going to send me into hybernation. I was obsessed with finding every little Riddler trophy and Arkham history recordings in Arkham Asylum. I’m sure Arkham City will feed the same need.

S=Starbuck – So I’ve been watching Battlestar Galactica on Netflix a lot lately. It’s a great show and while it has it’s stumbles, for the most part, the writing is pretty solid and I buy into the whole story. There’s a few standout performances amongst a pretty good cast, but number one has to be Katee Sackhoff as Starbuck. Starbuck could be a walking cliche’. Tough exterior, vulnerable on the inside, but Sackhoff adds layers to the character beyond that. The look in her eyes in a tough dogfight, all balls and psychosis rolled into one. The sadness, terror and despair that she so rarely displays except when alone and the way she pulls herself together and reins herself in when necessary. Starbuck is almost always the best part of the show and never disappoints.

T=Tinie Tempah – He’s getting mad radio play right now with “Written On The Stars” and they played it to death to promote Wrestlemania, but if you get a chance, download “Frisky”. Sterile, dark, electronic beats, a grimy rhyme style and a great keyboard riff. The best English Hip Hop artist to come out since Tricky and I’m enjoying hearing an updated Brixton sound.

U=Unstoppable – I have a soft spot for Tony Scott. He makes GREAT popcorn films. Spy Game, Enemy Of The State, True Romance, Top fucking Gun… the list goes on and on. He and Denzel Washington seem to work well together, as evidenced by Man On Fire, an awesome revenge flick that you should see. I wasn’t sold on this flick though. Runaway train didn’t really spark an interest. I shouldn’t have doubted it though. It’s a solid popcorn flick with good pacing and it’s totally watchable. Chris Pine was servicable and Rosario Dawson was in it. While she’ll never top dancing to the Jackson 5 braless, she’ll always be a favorite.

V=Village Pub – Just a quick plug for Village Pub, a chain of bars here in Vegas. They have the thickest fucking fried mozzarella I’ve ever seen. Seriously, like baby’s arms. Also.. Stella Artois on tap.

W=Walking Dead, The – I finally got my hands on the Blu-Rays. Words and reviews did not do this shit justice. The simple fact that they’re getting away with this madness on AMC is amazing to me. Season 2 can’t come fast enough.

X=X-Men: First Class – There’s a lot of venom being spewed in the direction of this film. Some of it is justified. Yes, January Jones does emote like a block of wood. Yes, Kevin Bacon is kind of ridiculous as Sebastian Shaw. Yes, most of the mutants in this film are underdeveloped as characters. Let me tell you what this film does right though. Professor X and Magneto, which is what the whole movie is about anyway! I had my doubts that Kid From Wanted and Azazel From Hex were going to be able to do these two iconic characters justice, but I loved it. They had a natural chemistry and they were my favorite part of the film. As the fanboys cry about filmmakers shitting on source material, allow me to point out that NO comic has ever done as good a job showing the friendship of Xavier and Magneto as this film did. And on that same subject, the X-books don’t even respect themselves. How can you expect filmmakers too? Comic books continually shit on their own history and continuity. I’m all for a filmmaker changing shit around to make a better film. As long as the core values of the characters involved remain the same, who fucking cares? On First Class though, if I had my way, the split between Xavier and Magneto wouldn’t have happened yet. I would have had them argue over the differences in philosophy and still remain friends in the first film. I wouldn’t have done the split until film 2. That’s me though. I know they are already talking a Green Lantern sequel. A sequel to First Class was hinted at before the film was released and I haven’t heard about it since. I hope it does get a sequel and I hope in that one, they do spend more time developing the characters on the respective teams. Ditch the Evil Red Nightcrawler though.

Y=Yesterday – I don’t know what the issue is between Harmonix and Guns n’ Roses. I’m sure it has something to do with Axl being a jerkoff, but seeing as how there’s keyboards now in Rock Band 3, there are some choice cuts off the Use Your Illusion albums that can utilize all 5 instruments in interesting ways. Yesterday would be a keyboard tour de force. Once you get the licensing for the Illusions, get Appetite. The whole fucking album.

Z=Zookeeper, The – Please write down these names. Frank Coraci, Nick Bakay, Rock Reuben, Barry Benardi, Jennifer Eatz, Gino Falsetto, Todd Garner and Jack Giarraputo. These are the people responsible for bringing yet another shitty Kevin James movie to your local cineplex. Please purify these infidels if you find them and send them to Allah’s loving embrace. A special, torturous, painful end for one Justine Baddeley. This is the fiend responsible for defiling Rosario Dawson by casting her in this atrocity. Is there nothing sacred?

~Pi

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TigrisRose’s Review for the Green Lantern (2011)

Posted in Uncategorized on June 21, 2011 by tigrisrose

Green Lantern (2011)
Director: Martin Campbell
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, and Peter Sarsgaard

“I pledge allegiance to a lantern, given to me by a dying purple alien.”

How cool is it to have a father who only asked of his three children, that for Father’s Day that we take him to dinner and a movie? So much easier to buy for than mom! So given that my father has already seen Pirates, and X-Men this summer we decided to go to opening weekend for the Green Lantern.

Honestly I was only half wanting to see this movie in the first place. I love DC comics, but other than the Batman Franchise they haven’t done a great job putting their stories on the big screen. The biggest doubt I had was all the CGI.

Lets start with the acting, lets face it Ryan Reynolds is only there it get women to come to the movies. I think Reynolds is better at romantic comedies than being the super hero. I didn’t mind him in Blade Trinity because he was mostly just a hot smart ass with a gun. He didn’t do a terrible job as Hal Jordan, but its wasn’t the best either.

Lively wasn’t in it much to give an opinion one way or the other. Sarsgaard was creepy in the geeky silent killer type. His transformation after coming in contact with Fear was bad, but for the most part a good side villain. Mark Strong was pretty dead on with Sinestro. For the most part the acting wasn’t too bad.

Story wise it did a decent job of staying with the premises of the Hal Jordan story line. I like how they started with Hal Jordan since he was the first Earth bound Green Lantern, but Hal Jordan wasn’t my favorite Lantern from the series. I do like the fact that they make him and keep him “human.” Jordan has issues of course because he is a pilot as his father. But as a child he saw his father die in an accident after his father’s take off. So he has that fear of dieing. But Sinestro gives him a hard time, and like his whole life Jordan gives up the Lanterns at first. I love how explaining after coming back that Jordan tells the whole Core that there is a saying on Earth. “I’m just human.” I won’t ruin the movie, but it has great context for the movie’s story line.

I thought that the featured Core members and the council were great. The love interest was nice, but really we are bringing her in on the secret from the get go!

Movie wise I liked it. The Green Lantern was a solid movie, and great for DC comics. The one thing I was worried about which was the CGI, was my biggest turn off about the movie. It wasn’t bad, but there was just so much of it that for me it was a little distracting. I am not a big fan of CGI heavy movies. I don’t mind having a little in there from time to time, but when its used for nearly 80% of the movie and is the key element its obnoxious. Some of the Core members looked great, Jordan’s costume a little cheesy, and the the CGI for Parallax terrible! I like movies with actual sets, and I would rather see an actor suffer through 5 hours getting prepped for a costume than watching a whole movie with CGI.

This movie before you go and watch, you need to know it is a story back ground driven movie. There are a lot of great action scenes, stuff gets blown up and all that good stuff like a comic book movie should. But this movie goes a the extra mile to actually introduce you to The Green Lantern Core and Hal Jordan which is how it should be. Most people unless you are a geek like me might not necessarily be familiar with the Green Lantern other than the Justice League Cartoons growing up as kids. So it’s a very good intro movie, allowing you to know the character and the back story to the Green Lantern Core. So know that going in, its similar to Superman Returns in the aspect that its introducing the character for the first time, but not as slow. Thank god!

F.Y.I. for all you movie junkies like me and my dad who stay for the Easter Eggs after the lead credits. This movie’s Easter Egg so totally predictable! I won’t tell you what it is, but lets say if you know the story you won’t be shocked!

The movie was good. Was it Batman standards, Hell no… but how can you compete with Bats I mean seriously. However this is the best non-Batman movie DC has put out in a long time. Now if they can only get everything else right so we can have a kick ass Justice League movie. I give the movie a C+, I know I said it was good, and it is. It is worth seeing, even taking the bank loan out to go see it in theaters. But let me break it down.

The movie what it was as a DC franchise movie execution I’ll give a B+, it is one of the best movies to come out of DC in a long time. Storyline by itself and compaired to the original content I will give an A-. I thought the story line was great, I loved the context of the dialog, and I thought it stayed true to the source material to the best a DC franchise movie could.

Now what killed it for me, cinematography I give it a D. I am not a big fan of CGI heavy movies. For me the CGI was distracting. I would have rather seen cheap cheesy costumes and puppeteer than CGI. And really there was only 2 major locations. The Air Strip and the Planet Oa. There isn’t a lot of variety. The acting I’ll give a C+. Lets face it they were ok, but surely they could have found someone better. Lets face it Ryan Reynolds is not what I would consider Super Hero material.

Really with all the grading said, it should really be like a B-, but I am docking it down to the C+ because the Easter Egg that leads to the thought that there will be a sequel, so totally knew what it was before the movie was over. My kingdom for a better Easter Egg!

So I will close out with saying, go see the movie, it is a good one to see this summer. Totally worth the ticket to get in, maybe not the concession stand, but worth the ticket. Its one of the best comic book movies out in a while. So go, go see it, with my blessing. And for all you comic geeks like me I leave you with these last words:

“In brightest day, in blackest night. No evil shall escape my sight. Let all who worship evil’s might. Beware my power, Green Lantern’s light!”

Chainsaw Cheerleader Reviews: Freaks (1932)

Posted in Uncategorized on June 4, 2011 by chainsawcheerleader

Directed by: Tod Browning

Written by: Tod Browning

Based on: Spurs by Tod Browning

Cast: Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Olga Baclanova, Henry Victor, Harry Earles

Genre: classic horror, drama

The Freaks: “We accept her! We accept her! One of us! One of us! Gooble gobble, gooble gobble!”

In the 1920’s, Hollywood introduced the glorious talkies. With the use of sound entertainment was changed forever. This change strengthened the experience that the average movie goer witnessed. Due to this, films that previously had heavy references to sexuality, sex,  illegal drug use, and violence were now subject to the Motion Picture Production Code or Hays Code, which forced films to follow strict censorship guidelines. It would be these guidelines that would wreak havoc on the production of horror films. Before sound, the audience did not feel fear that was meant to be brought on by the now classic horror movies but with sound, the movie monsters was given the bark to their bite. It was sound that complemented these films and brought about the fear that these films deserved. While sound brought about the much needed fright that horror films starved for, it also subjected it to drastic editing and limited releases. After the 1932 release of the film Freaks, horror movies would never be the same. It was Freaks that helped startled audiences call for stricter forms of handling of such films. It was also the death sentence for the career of the film’s director, Tod Browning, who collaborated with Lon Chaney and directed Bela Lugosi in Dracula (1931).

Freaks follows a traveling carnival in 1930’s France.  Focusing on the daily lives of sideshow performers, Freaks details the survival code of these men and women, cross one and you have crossed them all. Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova), a vainglorious trapeze artist who mocks the carnivals freaks, has little interest in a little person performer, Hans (Harry Earles), until it is revealed that he is air to a vast fortune. With the help of Strongman and romantic interest, Hercules (Henry Victor), Cleopatra constructs a plan to relieve Hans of his inheritance. After marrying the little performer, Cleopatra slowly poisons her husband until the freaks realize her scheme.

Due to the Hays Code, Freaks was cut from ninety minutes to sixty-four minutes. It is the end of the film that has suffered from the most editing. In the original cut, Freaks settled this Greek tragedy by having the sideshow performers come after Hercules with a range of weapons. After castrating him, Hercules is later seen singing falsetto. Cleopatra’s fate is, while not similar, just as severe. The freaks melt and reform her hands to look like duck feet and tar and feather her. After butchering a rather fitting ending, MGM pieced together a happier alternative without the violence. Much of the editing was due to poor audience test screening. One movie goers reaction was to sue MGM after watching Freaks because she believed it caused her to suffer a miscarriage. Despite the cuts, Freaks was still poorly received and was banned in the United Kingdom for thirty years due to the shock brought about by its cast. Even after MGM added new comedy sequences, a new prologue, and a new epilogue, Freaks caused its audience to question their 1930’s cookie cutter morality.

The cast of Freaks showcased a wide variety of different sideshow performances that were popular in the 1930’s. With performers like Zip and Pip (pinheads), intersexual Josephine Joseph (half man/half woman), Prince Randian (the Human Torso), and Koo-Koo the Bird Girl (who suffered from Virchow-Seckel syndrome, also known as bird-headed dwarfism), the film was drawn from personal experiences that Browning had had during his early years traveling with the circus. While Browning attempted to show his audience that the sideshow performers were admirable hardworking people and that the film’s real villain were those that society deems as “normal”, the film appears more exploitative than a tale of innocent love gone awry.  Browning provides no explanation or evidence as to why the audience must see the freaks as “normal” while he shows them behave in a manner that in the 1930’s would seem as actions purely performed by the insane. The audience’s reaction is almost predictable given a basic understanding of an era that did not allow women to vote until eight years earlier and it was still illegal for interracial marriage. The response of the public can best be expressed in the reaction of screenwriter, F. Scott Fiitzgerald. After witnessing a scene involving Siamese twin sisters, Fitzgerald proceeded to run to the bathroom and vomit.  Sadly, this reaction is lost on the audience of today.  While sound may have played a key role in the disturbance that the audience felt when they first viewed Freaks, time has passed and with most audience members being subject to far more horrific concepts than sideshow performers, Freaks has lost any fright is once held. Viewing Freaks seventy-nine years after its original release feels more like a study in film than a true scare. Freaks may pale in comparison to many of today’s horror films but it still holds value among those who treat movies more as an experience and less as entertainment.

Horror films of the 1930’s can only be described as having captured the essence of early Hollywood, of when art came in a variety of forms, even scares. With the newness of the talkie and the act of many directors adapting German expressionist techniques to dramatic films, classic horror films such as Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, and even Freaks, have had the ability to withstand the test of time. While many of the early horror films are not as intense or graphic as horror films of this era, one must question will these newer film be considered classics in another seventy-nine years as Freaks is? What is this generations Dracula? What is this generations Bride of Frankenstein? What is this generations Freaks? Will films such as the Saw franchise be look back upon in greatness and studied by film students or as filming technology improves will it be laughed at?

For some, it may be difficult to view Freaks as a horror film. In the almost eighty years since its release society has become more excepting of persons with deformities and disabilities. In the past someone with dwarfism or born without limbs could be seen as terrifying. There are in fact very few horror films from this era that do not feature a monster that is not disfigured in some way. In a time when a person born with a disability was sent away to live in a asylum or not allowed to leave their home, it is not surprising that the cast of Freaks would be seen as frightening. It is only today that we are getting better at embracing those who look different. It is this reason alone that makes one question if this classic horror film is purely just a sad little love story.

Freaks, while not perfect by any measure, is still a very interesting and prevailing piece of work. Known to have inspired The Ramones to David Lynch, Freaks has earned its right to be considered a counterculture cult film. It is by no means a movie for the average movie watcher. A passionate fan or student of film can look past the weak voice work and at time poor acting, to see how this misunderstood work of art is truly a significant piece of horror movie history.

Freaks receives a 7 out of 10

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