Freaks

Women and Gender in Cult Films and B-Movies: The Roundup

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‘Freaks’: Sing the Body Eclectic

Freaks poster

Freaks (1932) is a true cult movie, one that’s ridden a rollercoaster of opprobrium and acclaim since its initial release. Tod Browning’s sideshow-set horror-romance destroyed his career (and several others), caused such disgust in early audiences that one woman (allegedly) miscarried, outraged critics and moral guardians, traumatized some of the performers who appeared in it, languished in obscurity after being banned for three decades, resurfaced on the exploitation circuit in the 1960s, and earned a spot in the National Film Registry archives in 1994 before enjoying its current status as a one-of-a-kind classic. It’s been repeated to the point of cliché, but Freaks, once seen, is never forgotten. Love it or hate it, it will stay with you for the rest of your life.