The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Freaks.
“We accept you, one of us. Gooble-gobble, gooble-gobble.” This is the chant of Freaks, director Tod Browning’s bizarre morality play of betrayal and retribution in a circus sideshow. In this Pre-Code masterpiece, an evil trapeze artist seduces and marries a small-statured performer in hopes of murdering him and inheriting his secret fortune. Her plot raises the ire of the other sideshow members and the “Code of the Freaks” demands a harsh and terrible punishment for this “peacock of the air.” Browning, a former circus contortionist, shocked audiences and his studio by bringing true circus freaks to the silver screen (including a legless boy, a human torso, Siamese twins, a human skeleton, a pair of armless women, and microcephalics – called “pinheads” in the film), and in doing so Browning created a film that effectively ended his career but became a cult classic decades later.
- High definition digital transfer with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
- Audio commentary by Browning biographer David J. Skal
- Freaks: Sideshow Spectacle, a documentary on sideshow performers appearing in the film
- 3 alternate endings
- Special Message prologue added for the film’s theatrical re-issue
- Kim Newman on the banning of Freaks in the UK for 31 years
- Photo gallery of production and publicity stills
- PLUS: A booklet featuring new essays by scholar David Church and director Rona Mark, the original short story “Spurs” that inspired the film, and a script synopsis from the MGM archives