India has been an avid fan of all things spooky and scary ever since she can remember.
"F$#k your circus."
— "Freakshow," 2007
Honestly, I don’t even know where to start with this movie. I began watching "Freakshow" with reasonably low expectations, but the film blew me away—in all the wrong ways. It’s a bizarre, exploitative flick which isn’t bad enough to be entertaining and not good enough to make it worth your while. If you’re looking for a movie about a group of vengeful circus performers, you’re much better off with 1932’s "Freaks." It may be in black and white, but it’s far more unsettling than "Freakshow" will ever be.
The 2007 film—if you want to call it that; I prefer the term "dumpster fire"—follows a group of thieves who decide to rob the wealthy circus owner who has just hired them. According to its poster, "Freakshow" is banned in 43 countries—and I can see why (though not for the reasons you might think).
This may be an odd detail to obsess over, but I couldn’t help noticing that none of the thieves—apart from Lucy (Rebekah Kochan)—appear to bathe on a regular basis. Couple that with their bad attitudes and subpar work ethic, and it’s a wonder that anyone (even a delusional circus owner) would hire them. They spend most of the movie lounging around and getting drunk, with the occasional conversation about robbing the circus thrown in for variety.
Crime Doesn't Pay
Not to mention that, for a gang of experienced criminals, these guys aren’t very good at their job. Although they make a deal with the local sheriff to “rob” him while he’s delivering the troupe's money to the bank, they then decide to go with the much riskier—and ultimately unsuccessful plan—of having Lucy seduce Lon (Christopher Adamson), the owner, in hopes that he’ll reveal the money’s location. Spoiler alert: this doesn’t end well.
Surrounded by Idiots
Sadly, the circus performers are no wiser than their shady new hires. For some reason, the group is stupidly loyal to Lon, even though he’s a self-absorbed loser who treats them like crap. Also, what’s up with the boils on his neck and back? It almost looks like Lon has syphilis, but I’m guessing that isn’t the case since Lucy is willing to sleep with him. (I doubt she’d want to risk catching the so-called “French disease,” regardless of how much money the guy might have.)
Speaking of Lon, he might be the stupidest character in the entire movie (though he has some stiff competition). After all, the guy is willing to believe Lucy is sleeping with him without ulterior motives, even though anyone with a brain could tell she’s up to something. Call me a cynic, but it’s obvious that a young and beautiful woman wouldn’t sleep with a man who’s hideous inside and out. (Though to be fair, Lucy’s no barrel of laughs either.) After all, in addition to being covered with sores Lon has a less than charming personality. The one person he treats with any consideration is Lucy herself, and that’s only because she’s riding his pony, if you know what I mean. Yet Lon somehow falls hard enough for Lucy—despite knowing her for just a few days—that he’s determined to marry her and is devastated when she reveals her real opinion of him and his “family.” How delusional can you get?
What Genre is This Again?
“Freakshow” is supposed to be a horror movie, but the only real horror is the fact that someone was willing to produce this garbage. That aside, the movie devotes most of its time to Lon and Lucy’s “romance” and the many uncomfortable sex scenes which accompany it rather than actual horror. (It is pretty gross watching them get it on, but still.) Perhaps the most excruciating scene occurs when Lon is having a conversation with his wife, Sherri (Sharon Edri), while also receiving a blowjob from Lucy. Just . . . why? And just in case you’re tired of watching the ill-fated couple do the horizontal tango, the film includes several liaisons between one of Lucy’s friends and Margaret the Cannibal Girl (Amanda Ward) as well. Wonder how Margaret performs her act?
If you were paying attention, you noticed that Lon—despite his desire to marry Lucy—already has a wife . . . or does he? Turns out he’s unattached, since he and Sherri are only pretending to be a couple to make Lon seem “more likable.” Not sure how that’s going to change anyone’s opinion of the guy given that he’s still a massive jerk, but okay. In case things aren't complicated enough, Sherri is also Lon’s stepsister and is obsessed with the idea of “protecting” him from Lucy. Seems like Sherri wishes she could be the one getting hot and heavy with her stepbrother (in which case, she has seriously bad taste). Regardless, the whole situation feels more like a soap opera than a horror flick. How on earth did this movie manage to earn a score of 15% on Rotten Tomatoes? Will wonders never cease?
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