SHE FREAK (1967)
Article 2153 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-6-2007
Posting Date: 7-5-2007
Directed by Byron Mabe
Featuring Claire Brennen, Lee Raymond, Lynn Courtney
A waitress in a small town tries to escape her dreary life by joining the carnival. She romances the owner of the freak show while seeing the ferris wheel operator on the side.
FREAKS was such a daring and controversial film that it was years before other movies would start ripping it off. I think this may be the first one. It takes an entirely different approach than the Browning movie, though; it concentrates entirely on the woman in what amounts to the Olga Baclanova role. Unfortunately, this means that the freaks are never developed as characters; as a matter of fact, except for midget named Shorty, we never see any of the freaks until the last five minutes of the movie. As a matter of fact, we don’t see much of anything until the last five minutes of the movie; if the filmmakers hadn’t loaded their eighty minutes of movie with so much incidental carnival footage, maybe they wouldn’t have had to squeeze fifteen of their twenty minutes of plot into the last five minutes of the movie. On the other hand, maybe that’s a good thing; it spares from having to see most of the cast trying to act. And there’s actually something rather interesting about seeing all these scenes of carnivals being built and taken down; it gives a little slice-of-life feeling to the affair. Still, it’s as slow as molasses and rather tiresome. The most interesting thing about it is the first appearance of screen villain Bill McKinney, most famous for playing one of the mountain men in DELIVERANCE. Ironically, given her character in this movie, Claire Brennen actually had a long-term affair with midget Felix Silla.