Freaks (1932)

Director: Tod Browning
Writer: Willis GoldbeckLeon Gordon
Based on: Tod Robbins‘ short story Spurs
Cast: Harry EarlesDaisy Earles, Wallace FordLeila HyamsOlga BaclanovaRoscoe AtesHenry Victor
Seen on: 22.6.2016

Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova) is the new star of the circus. The beautiful artist is sure to have all the eyes on her and she certainly has Hans’ (Harry Earles) attention who starts wooing her despite being married to Frieda (Daisy Earles). Cleopatra laughs away his advances – he is a dwarf how could he possibly imagine that she could love him? She much rather spends her time with Hercules (Henry Victor). But when Cleopatra hears that Hans has a substantial inheritance, she plans to marry him to rob him of it. But the other disabled circus performers and a couple of able-bodied allies are set to protect their own.

Freak is definitely an important film in cinema history and is an interesting watch. Much has been made of its portrayal of the eponymous “freaks” and their disabilities. I’m a little torn on that count, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy watching the film.



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Vampyr (1932)

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer
Writer: Christen Jul, Carl Theodor Dreyer
Based on: Sheridan Le Fanu‘s book In a Glass Darkly, which contains the novella Carmilla
Cast: Julian West, Rena Mandel, Sybille SchmitzMaurice Schutz

Allan Gray (Julian West) arrives in a small village where he is soon swept up in somehow supernatural affairs. It starts when a strange man enters his hotel room and leaves apparently his last will and testament there but gets even worse from thereon out. Allan is haunted by weird dreams that lead him to the local castle and the daughters of its owner, Giséle (Rena Mandel) and Léone (Sybille Schmitz). Léone appears to be anaemic, but there are also strange bitemarks.

Vampyr was shown right after Invocation of My Demon Brother at the Filmmuseum and they both share a certain disorienting quality. It was much more of a fault for Vampyr, but the film’s atmosphere and the wonderful visual effects make up for it. Continue reading