Freaks (1932)

The halls of the macabre grotesque are decked with plate glass views of the machinations of hell as you continue on to the pathos of heaven.

Some can only stomach this film as a statement against eugenics, though it’s not exactly that. It’s more a warning against meddling with those who are best left alone and a recognition that in reality evil has no predefined physical form. In fact it’s one of the first and best ever comedy horrors in film history while masterfully managing to build an unsettling web of tension and disquiet.

Moreover it’s just a thoroughly enjoyable piece of cinema from start to finish for fans of horror and classic film alike. Normative viewers however might struggle to connect the artistic-moral statement with the disturbing imagery (assuming they get over the fact that it’s all in black and white). It’s also plainly a timeless masterpiece.

Through an acceptance of the uncomfortable and unique horrors facing the “genetically disadvantaged” and outright deformed – and doing so without being a pity party – its ultimate achievement is the not so small feat of being a deep and honest reflection on what it means to be human.