Monday, February 21, 2011

Two Years of Mondo Bizarro: The Asylum's Freakshow (2007)

After two years, this is what I get!  One of my favorite films from the 1930s is Tod Browning's Freaks.  The man was on top of the world.  He had just made Dracula for Universal and was given the green-light to do whatever he wanted.  He chose Freaks.  The movie was looked upon badly by many people and was banned in the UK for 30 years!  For a long time, people said 'nobody could ever remake Freaks today!'  That was taken as a challenge in 2007 by a little company known as The Asylum.  Yes, those guys.  They made a film called Freakshow, which claims to have been banned in 43 countries.  Does anyone believe that this film was even released in 43 counties- let alone 3?!?  The plot is basically the same as the first one, save for a few minor tweaks.  By the way, there are no pinheads or bearded ladies here.  I guess one dwarf and a guy with no legs will suffice.  You know that it's going to hurt, so let's just step right in and see the...
So what has changed in this version?
* A group of thugs now work at the circus and concoct a plan to rob the owner, not the dwarf.
* The strongman is not bad in this one.
* There's a corrupt and weak-willed Sheriff character here that serves no purpose.
* The dwarf is not a major character here.  His actual character is not really here, to be honest.
* The new plot of the women seducing the owner is bogged down with a bunch of minor sub-plots, including some woman who feels threatened by her.  It goes nowhere.
* The dinner scene is the same, only not nearly as effective and missing the famous phrase.
* The real tipping point involves a pair of thugs killing a little girl who spots them in the act of a crime.
* All of the guys meet bloody- barely-shown- deaths.  However, that is in contrast to...
* The famous 'Revenge Ending' is maintained, but all of the torture is shown.  In a nearly blood-less film, the finale involves a very-long torture scene!
* Instead of turning her into a 'chicken lady,' they just cut off all of her skin and make, a mummy, I guess.
After over seventy years, things have gotten moldy!  The plot of this movie is mostly the same, but too many changes were put in that ruin it.  I love Freaks, but this is hardly the same film.  The whole 'normal humans are the real freaks' idea is maintained, but handled in such a bad way.  The criminals add nothing and their presence feels forced.  It's like when people suddenly try to explain the reason zombies rise from the grave in a Night of the Living Dead remake.  Oh right- they did that...twice (Night of the Living Dead: 30th Anniversary and Night of the Living Dead 3-D)!  Everything that made the movie interesting is either taken out (the presence of real circus performers) or done in such a way as to make it seem very-forced.  "A pair of corrupt people- too subtle.  A whole gang of them- much better!"  If you want to watch Freaks remade in some way, maybe Freakmaker is better.  I haven't seen it, but it's hard to imagine that it's worse than this uneven, (quite frankly) boring film.
Next up, The Asylum strikes again with a movie whose title sounds goofy as all hell.  Since they hate logic, this film is treated 100% seriously!  Stay tuned...

*By the way, if you're waiting for my review of Shakma- don't hold your breath.  The movie just too 'eh' for me and this was more interesting*

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