Freaks is a 1932 American pre-Code horror film produced and directed by Tod Browning. The original version of the film, running 90 minutes, was considered too shocking to be released, so several scenes were cut, resulting in an abridged runtime of 64 minutes. The original version no longer exists.
The film is based on elements from the short story "Spurs" by Tod Robbins.
The eponymous characters were played by people who worked as carnival sideshow performers and had real deformities. The film stars Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Olga Baclanova and Roscoe Ates. Among the deformed cast were dwarf siblings Harry and Daisy Earles, Johnny Eck who had sacral agenenis, the conjoined twin sisters Daisy and Violet Hilton, and Schlitzie.
In-Person Screening and Post Film Q&A with Jeremy Moss
(Running Time: 61:35)
A fantasia of post-indoctrination, immigration, and iconography. A pageant of wanderers and searchers: Mormon missionaries, a pioneer, polygamists, scouts, hunters, church-goers, and an aspiring prophet walk and walk and walk. A pilgrimage of memory, history, ancestry, and place.
An experimental documentary that interrogates and explores the seeds of the filmmaker’s own religious indoctrination and eventual apostasy. He revisits the European landscapes where his ancestors were converted to Mormonism in the 1800s. He examines the desert places they colonized in the American West. He returns to Brazil and interviews individuals he had converted to the faith twenty years ago. Part diary film and part surrealist essay, the film deals with the experience of conversion and indoctrination, the pain of apostasy, and the discomfort and contentment from never fully breaking free.
Shot on location in Sweden, England, Northern Ireland, Brazil, upstate New York, the Great Plains, and the state of Utah. The film was completed at the Light Cone Atelier 105 post-production residency in Paris.
Jeremy Moss is a Pennsylvania-based filmmaker from the American Southwest. His films often overlap a number of genres—including dance film, surrealist non-fiction/fiction, and film emulsion-based abstraction. His work has screened at festivals and venues including Edinburgh International Film Festival, Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, Chicago Underground, TIFF Bell Lightbox, Artists’ Television Access, Anthology Film Archives, UnionDocs, and Microscope Gallery. He is an Associate Professor of Film/Media at Franklin & Marshall College. His films and videos are distributed by Light Cone.