Director: Tod Browning
Year Released: 1932
Notorious film really got me thinking, but not about the 'story', which is fairly lame (revenge on a 'non-freak'), but about its shady intentions. The opening text (absent, I read, on some prints) talks about how these people were shunned by society, and deserve the respect a 'normal' human being should receive, but then, in the last paragraph, uses big bold lettering for the words "Abnormal" and "The Unwanted," accentuating that yes, above all, this is still an exploitation film. The anomalies are ushered out, one by one, this one with this deformity, that one with no legs, and they aren't 'really' a part of the story, they're just there for you to stare at, their presence not really needed until the end, where they become accomplices (and slap the audience in the face for wanting to watch). The moralizing is fairly weak - don't mock those less fortunate - though I believe the narrative would have been stronger had it not been trimmed by a half-hour by the studio.