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The genesis of MGM's Freaks was a magazine piece by Ted Robbins titled Spurs. The story involved a terrible revenge enacted by a mean-spirited circus midget upon his normal-sized wife. In adapting Spurs for the screen, writers Willis Goldbeck, Leon Gordon, Edgar Allan Wolf, and Al Boasberg retained the circus setting and the little man-big woman wedding, all the while de-vilifying the midget and transforming the woman into the true "heavy" of the piece. German "little person" Harry Earles plays Hans, who falls in love with long-legged trapeze artist Cleopatra (Olga… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Freaks is sumptuously produced, admirably directed, and no cost was spared. But Metro failed to realize that even with a different sort of offering the story still is important."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer definitely has on its hands a picture that is out of the ordinary."
‑ , New York Times
"[VIDEO ESSAY] In spite of the tremendous success he enjoyed with "Dracula" in 1931, Tod Browning's directorial career was effectively ruined after he made "Freaks" the following year."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"Freaks is one of Browning's more consistently fine films, a landmark still worth seeing."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"The movie's influences can be found in nearly every conceivable corner of modern film."
‑ Phil Villarreal, Arizona Daily Star
"Director Tod Browning, one of the few truly individual directors in the U. S., is a specialist in horror."
‑ , TIME Magazine
"It has now achieved deserved recognition as a masterpiece."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"Firmly out of its tree from start to finish, the campy performances and bonkers dialogue make for plenty of cherishably deranged moments."
‑ , Total Film
"A masterpiece."
‑ , Film4
"...drills into our hindbrain and jolts our atavistic response to the not-normal, then forces us to confront our prejudices and feel something -- revulsion, compassion, or surprise at the realization that those aren't mutually exclusive responses."
‑ Mark Bourne,
"If the heart of the horror movie is the annihilating Other, the Other has never appeared with more vividness, teasing sympathy, and terror than in this 1932 film by Tod Browning."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"A masterpiece of the horror mold, and one that warrants a loyal audience."
‑ Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed
"To the horror movie, a genre he helped create, he brought a taste for Victorian melodrama and an understanding, which he must have gained in the circus, for the isolated lives of weird and deformed outsiders."
‑ Philip French, Observer [UK]
"Absolutely spine chilling Tod Browning classic horror film. "We will make you one of us." Yike!"
‑ Steve Crum, Dispatch-Tribune Newspapers
"Unclassifiable odd masterpiece."
‑ Kim Newman, Empire Magazine
More reviews for Freaks on Rotten Tomatoes

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