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Why "Freaks" is a Cult Classic


When it comes to cult movies, one name that often pops up is “Freaks”. Released in 1932, the film is known for its unique plot and iconic characters. Despite being over 80 years old, “Freaks” continues to capture the imaginations of movie lovers. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at why “Freaks” is considered a cult classic.

The Plot

The movie “Freaks” tells the story of a traveling circus troupe and the strange and unusual characters that make up its cast. The movie is set in the late 1800s and follows the romance between a beautiful trapeze artist named Cleopatra and a dwarf named Hans. What makes this romance particularly unusual is that Cleopatra is only interested in Hans for his inheritance, not his love.

As the plot unfolds, we see the other members of the troupe, who are referred to as “freaks”, attempt to protect Hans from Cleopatra’s gold-digging ways. The climax of the film is a truly unforgettable scene, in which the “freaks” band together and exact their revenge on the conniving Cleopatra.

The Characters

One of the reasons “Freaks” has become such a beloved cult classic is the unforgettable characters that populate the movie. From the bearded lady to the armless and legless human torso, each character is unique and memorable. These characters not only add to the film’s shock value but also provide a glimpse into the lives of people who were often marginalized and ridiculed during the time period in which the movie is set.

One particularly noteworthy aspect of the film is the way in which the “freaks” are portrayed. Rather than being presented as objects of pity or horror, they are shown as complex individuals who are capable of love, loyalty, and bravery. This portrayal is a refreshing departure from the way many films tend to depict people with physical disabilities or conditions.

Shock Value

Another reason “Freaks” has become a cult classic is the sheer shock value of the film. Even by today’s standards, the movie is startling in its depiction of people with physical abnormalities. From the bird lady to the human skeleton, these characters are not only unusual but also unsettling to behold.

One scene, in particular, has become the stuff of legend. In this scene, the “freaks” chant “We accept her, one of us” as they welcome Cleopatra into their fold. The scene is equal parts creepy and mesmerizing, and it’s no wonder that it has become one of the most famous moments in the movie.

Cultural Impact

Despite being a financial failure upon its release, “Freaks” has had a lasting cultural impact. It has been referenced in countless other films, TV shows, and even music videos. The “one of us” chant has been parodied numerous times, and the unique characters have become iconic.

The film has also been cited as an inspiration by many filmmakers, including David Lynch, who has acknowledged that “Freaks” was an influence on his movie “Eraserhead”. Perhaps most importantly, “Freaks” paved the way for other movies that feature characters with physical abnormalities, such as “The Elephant Man” and “Mask”.


“Freaks” is a movie that has stood the test of time. Despite being over 80 years old, it continues to capture the imaginations of movie lovers all over the world. The unique plot, unforgettable characters, shock value, and lasting cultural impact are just a few reasons why “Freaks” is considered a cult classic. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, give it a watch and prepare to be both horrified and captivated.