Squirm Over This…

14th January 1972, Squirm Over This ‘Kensington Post’ p30

Tod Browning’s FREAKS (at the Electric Cinema Club, Portobello Road, tonight (Thursday) at 11, tomorrow at 4.30 and 9, and on Saturday at 3 and 7) is a horror film made with the delicacy of humour necessary to make it bearable.

Browning used real freaks when he made this movie in 1932 with Wallace Ford and Leila Hyams. They enact the story of Hans the Midget and Frieda. whom he deserts for the beautiful trapeze artist Cleopatra.

FREAKS really is horrific. It was banned in this country until 1963, when horror films were busily outdoing one another in finding various forms of nastiness.

And it’s strange to watch a made nearly 40 years ago which seems to be hinting that normal people gazing at monstrosity may in fact be the more monstrous.

The movie is full of parodox. Not the least is the visible beauty which conceals the unseen evil: the visible horror is the real goodness.