What does one do after creating the iconic masterpiece Dracula (1931)? Well, one makes another masterpiece. Most of Tod Browning's resume is from the silent movie era. However, Dracula and Freaks are probably his best known films and showcase his ability as a director. Freaks is not so much horror as it is a thriller. The plot is truly original and the storytelling is very strong. Browning decided to use actual circus performers in this film and this only makes the viewing experience more powerful. I'm sure that 1930's audiences gasped as they saw the cast of characters walk across the screen. It is truly something to behold.
The set up for the film involves a love triangle between little people Hans and Frieda and Hans' wandering eye for Cleopatra, a trapeze artist. This film is ensemble acting at its finest. Noone steals the show but everyone contributes to the overall success and mood of the film. My favorite scenes are most definitely when the side show performers seek their revenge. These moments are ominous and creepy and raise the suspense level considerably.
A Google search will locate a copy of this film to watch online. However, I recommend renting Freaks because the restored version is really beautiful and clear. The computer screen just doesn't cut it with this one! If you love vintage horror films then Freaks is a must-see. Don't miss it!
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.