11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
"Dirty, slimy Freaks!",
By A Customer
This review is from: Freaks [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is a film filled with numerous contradictions. It at once makes an attempt to defy preconceived ideas about 'otherness', yet at the same time undermines these attempts and therefore serves to reinforce them. Brownings direction is magnificent. The viewer is both unsettled by the use of so-called 'real' freaks, yet also intrigued, which creates a complex relationship between viewer and subject. Ultimately, instead of us considering the distinctions between 'normal' people and 'freaks' to become blurred throughout the course of the film, they actually become more clearly defined, and in particular from the freaks' point of view. It becomes clear that they wish to preserve an identity of differentness and otherness and that is just what they do. They key scene for emphasising this fact is the wedding feast between Hans and Cleo. A communal cup is passed around the table accompanied by ritual chanting. But it is the freak community stamping their claim to a separateness and distictness from the rest of the circus folk. The chant goes "One of us. We accept her, we accept her. Gooble gobble, gooble gobble", firstly asserting their right to be different and to set themselves apart in their self-contained 'freak' community, and secondly emphasising their strangeness and otherness with the gibberish and nonsensical chant. All in all, this is an excellent film. The controversy surrounding the film's original release has made it all the more intriguing for the modern viewer who is attracted to the idea of controversy, however, it is likely that many such viewers will be disappointed. I myself was not.