Reviews

Freaks/The Devil Doll

4

Tod Browning's cult chiller starring real circus "freaks" was greeted with screams of horror on its release in 1932, prompting a ban in the UK that lasted until the '60s. Decades on, it will still give pause to any gold-digging trapeze artists thinking about marrying a midget and then trying to bump him off for his fortune.

Browning ran away to join the circus as a teenager, and his handling of "The Living Torso", "Half Boy" and assorted Pinheads has the true compassion of an insider's vision. After the short, sharp shocks of Freaks, Browning's The Devil-Doll offers zany light relief. Lionel Barrymore plays an escaped convict hellbent on evening the score with the ex-partners who stitched him up.

He opts to dress up as an old woman and attack them using mind-controlled humans shrunk down to doll size. Firmly out of its tree from start to finish, the campy performances and bonkers dialogue make for plenty of cherishably deranged moments.

Film Details

  • 12
  • UK Theatrical Release Date: September 27th 2002
  • Genre