Prompt Day #118: As if you were writing a review or an entry for the TV Guide, synopsize a mock sequel to an existing horror movie.
I read my prompts the night before so I can sleep on them and think on them throughout the day before writing in the evening. Most mornings, I have my idea and can work it out in my head the rest of the day. Last night though I could not come up with a horror film that didn’t already have a sequel or worse yet: a remake. (It’s getting as bad as the damn super hero flicks). Then, as I walked downstairs this morning, I glanced at my DVD shelf and saw Tod Browning’s Freaks. And there it was. Now, if you are a horror movie fan, and you haven’t seen Freaks, you must see it. The greatest part of the film is that it used actual circus “freaks” as actors. That could never be done today—God no. It is so politically incorrect (I mean murder, zombies, living-undead mating is all perfectly acceptable but exploiting a “freak” is not). Just a warning (to save me from the inevitable “that wasn’t scary” comments): If you do watch it, it isn’t gore-filled or thrill filled like today’s films but when you see a man with no arms or legs wallowing through the mud in the rain just to exact revenge, it’s still pretty creepy. As for the rest of what I say in this faux review—it’s all made up.
From a movie that left us squirming in discomfort, comes a long awaited sequel eighty-three years in the making. If Tod Browning’s Freaks taught us that we should not judge a book by its cover, then Rob Zombie’s sequel, Geeks, illustrates the adage ‘you are what you eat’. Picking up where Freaks left off with Cleopatra, the once beautiful trapeze artist reduced to freak status after an act of revenge, who has become the newest star of the freak show. The circus itself has been purchased by Hans, Cleopatra’s ex-fiancé now a millionaire and happily married to Frieda. Hans hires a geek named Monstroso who sets his sites on the once beautiful Cleopatra…but for what purpose?
Rob Zombie steps in to fill the vacancy in shock-horror left by Browning and does it delightfully. If anyone can film a movie with the same jaw-dropping, gut churning, controversial subject matter as Browning’s Freaks, Zombie would be the natural choice. To expect Zombie to bow to today’s politically correct standards that Browning was able to work free of, would be a naive error in judgement. This film focuses not only on circus freaks (and yes folks, they still exist in small, seedy small town traveling carnivals all over this country) but also on sexual sadism and cannibalism in a no-holds-barred manner Browning surely would have approved of having worked in a traveling circus before taking on the film.
Go see The Geek. See what happens to a squeamish little film after it’s laid in wait for an entire generation only to emerge at the beckoning of a fearless film maker reminiscent of its creator. Zombie manages to remain loyal to the feel of the original film while exposing the full extent of the depravity found hiding behind the entrance curtain of a faded and dirty circus tent. Step right up folks, Step right up.