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31 Days of Horror: ‘Freaks’ sets the stage for physically deformed villains

Freaks

Written by Tod Robbins

Directed by Tod Browning

USA, 1932

“For the love of beauty is a deep-seated urge which dates back to the beginning of civilization. The revulsion with which we view the abnormal, the malformed, and the mutilated is the result of long conditioning by our forefathers.” – Introduction, Freaks

Tod Browning’s cult film depicting the terrors of sideshow performers, both how they are perceived by the public and the acts of violence they are driven to commit, sets an unusual and intriguing precedent for future horror cinema tropes.

Freaks initially portrays the titular troupe with unique deformities as unsuspecting prey to two of the carnival’s “normal” performers and lovers, Cleopatra the trapeze artist (Olga Baclanova) and Hercules the strong man (Henry Victor). Cleopatra’s plan to marry and murder Hans the dwarf man (Harry Earles) for his large inheritance victimizes the condition of the “freaks,” placing
See full article at SoundOnSight »

14 Streaming Movies to Watch This Week

Netflix just doesn’t slow down its new streaming releases, with a huge crop recently being added on the first of the month and more noteworthy titles appearing on regularly. The great variety in titles can be easily seen by taking a look a rich, slow Western-horror, an absurd comedy, a dude punching wolves in the face, a prescient media classic and . The New and Noteworthy The Burrowers (2008) It’s 1879 in the Dakota territories and someone is attacking entire families in their homes. Some individuals are slaughtered and their bodies left behind while other family members are taken. Assuming the attacks to be the work of the Sioux, a group of settlers set off to find the missing members of the Stewart family. Along the way, they meet up with the vile, racist Captain Henry Victor (Doug Hutchison) and his troops. The settlers part ways with the Captain and his men and, as
See full article at FilmSchoolRejects »

After Dark: Tod Browning’s Freaks (1932) Review

Freaks (1932)

Directed by Tod Browning

Written by Willis Goldbeck & Leon Gordon based on the story “Spurs” by Tod Robbins

Starring Wallace Ford (Phroso the Clown), Leila Hyams (Venus), Olga Baclanova (Cleopatra), Henry Victor (Hercules), Harry Earles (Hans)

Director Tod Browning grew up in the circus – under the big top – amidst manic clowns, hairy women and human deformity all lined up for our entertainment. These were his people. Roll up, roll up.

Roll up, roll!! Dare you see Freaks: the controversial classic, banned in the UK for 30 years!! Gather round and gasp at these misshapen misfits. Dance with the Pinheads; lust after sexy Siamese Sisters; be confused by Joseph/Josephine the half man, half woman; and cower at the murderous Code of the Freaks!!!!

“Gooble-gobble, Gooble-gobble,

One of us, one of us!”

It was made in 1932 and has gathered a reputation as a perverse masterpiece. People cower at its name,
See full article at Obsessed with Film »

Win Anna May Wong Titles – Java Head & Tiger Bay on DVD

To mark the release of the Anna Wong double bill including Java Head and Tiger Bay on DVD now, Optimum Home Entertainment have been given three copies to give away!

Anna May Wong (1905 – 1961) was the first Asian American movie star to become an international star. Her career spanned over four decades. She started in Technicolor’s first two-strip color movie, The Toll of the Sea (1922) and was chosen by Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. to be in The Thief of Bagdad (1924), and co-starred with Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express (1932). Both Hollywood and Europe proclaimed her exoticism and she became known for her fluid grace and languid sexuality on screen.

Java Head (1934) – Directed by Thorold Dickinson & J. Walter Ruben and starring Anna May Wong, Elizabeth Allan and John Loder

A heavy-breathing melodrama of the White Cargo school, Java Head was adapted from the novel by Joseph Hergesheimer.

The port city of Bristol, England,
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DVD Double Feature - Anna May Wong in Java Head & Tiger Bay (1934)

It’s taken pretty much for granted in modern cinema that, for a Chinese film role, you cast a Chinese actor. Just as leading men no longer black up in boot polish to play Othello, actresses long ago stopped painting their eyes slanted to look Chinese. It’s daft, it’s unconvincing, and to the actors turned away for being ‘too Chinese for screen’, it’s racist.

In Anna May Wong’s day though, this was standard practice. In spite of this idotiic, pig-headed racism shown to her by studio bosses, Wong carved out an enviable career for herself, becoming the world’s first Asian-American star. She cut her acting teeth playing alongside the inimitable Douglas Fairbanks in The Thief of Bagdad (1924); Shanghai Express (1932) saw her upstage Marlene Dietrich in the slinky seductress stakes. After all that, Hollywood’s ridiculous Hays Code forbade her to share an on-screen kiss with
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Exclusive: Doug Hutchison Talks Vampire Killers

To read “From the mind of Doug Hutchison”, for genre fans anyway, is an invitation to be freaked out. The actor, who has given horror fans such memorable characters as Eugene Victor Tooms in two episodes of “The X Files” – “Squeeze” and “Tooms” (both in Season One of the show), Percy Wetmore, one of Stephen King’s more horrific villains, in Frank Darabont’s The Green Mile and most recently, Henry Victor, the racist and borderline sociopathic Army officer in Jt Petty’s, The Burrowers, is also a writer And serious horror fan himself.

Beginning in October 2008, under the banner of his own production company, Dark Water, Hutchison launched a web series entitled, "Vampire Killers". Set in modern day Los Angeles, the premise is that in a city the size of La, with a vampire population of over 500,000, there are only 4 vampire killers to deal with the problem. And a problem this is indeed.
See full article at Dread Central »

She Married A Midget

Film Forum is freakin' out with a 10-film salute to Tod Browning (1880-1962), the carnival barker turned film maker with a taste for the macabre.

The flicks will unreel as Monday-night double features through June 8.

"Freaks" (1932), Browning's most notorious work, kicks off the series tomorrow.

Rarely shown and banned in Britain for 30 years, it is set in a circus sideshow featuring "nature's mistakes," played by real-life freaks: the co-joined Hilton sisters (no relation to you know who), Pinheads Pip and Zip, the Armless Wonder, Frances the Turtle Girl,
See full article at New York Post »

The Burrowers (DVD Review)

In writer/director J.T. Petty’s The Burrowers, carnivorous creatures roam under the soil of the young American frontier, creeping up on unsuspecting settlers and burying them alive, left to rot in the dirt. Lionsgate appears to be taking a similar tactic with The Burrowers itself, as this cleverly plotted and delightfully sinister film has been dumped into the vast graveyard of the direct-to-dvd market (streeting April 21) with a middling package that can’t even be bothered to list the correct running time on the back cover (it’s a half-hour off the mark). It’s inexcusable treatment for any movie, but practically a crime when the victim is capable of holding its own next to the best of the genre.

Actually, make that “genres,” because The Burrowers isn’t just a great horror movie; it’s a great Western as well. There was always a powerful lurking fear in
See full article at Fangoria »

The Burrowers - Trailer

It is 1879. Coffey (Karl Geary), a young Irishman settled on the plains of Dakota, is about to ask his sweetheart to marry him. His dream of wedded bliss is shattered, however, when something or someone attacks the young lady's family farm, kidnapping the women and children and slaughtering the men. Coffey joins a group of local ranchers and cavalrymen in search of the victims, who are assumed to be prisoners of a fierce band of natives.

Put off by the sadistic and single-minded tactics of self-appointed group leader Henry Victor (Doug Hutchison), Coffey sets out with a couple of ranchers (William Mapother and Highlander's Clancy Brown), as well as a teenaged boy and a freed slave (Sean Patrick Thomas). They soon discover mysterious holes in the ground and a catatonic girl buried in the dirt, suggesting that they may not be hunting an ordinary tribe. A sinister enemy seems to
See full article at LateFilmFull »

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