Monday, August 10, 2009


Alright perverts, I've been drinking all day. It's my day off and I like to drink all day on my day off. Nothin' wrong with that and nothing wrong with watching a little bit of carnival exploitation from the 70's on your day off either. In fact, I can't think of a better way to pass the time. Thus I give you She-Freak, David Friedman's Freaks, as it were. Not nearly as entertaining as Tod Browning's original version, which we all know and love so no plot synopsis will be necessary here, partially because I'm buzzin', but Lord love it for many, many reasons. But, there are things I hate about it, but we'll get to those uno momento.

Reason #1 to love She-Freak. It seems like it was made by someone with a fetish for carnivals. I myself have a carnival fetish and love anything to do with one. My lunatic friends and I go to the state fair here every year and make complete trashy asses ourselves all day long. Talk about drinkin' all day. We drink Bud and watch the demolition derby and eat fried everything! It's a glorious day, my favorite day of the year, really. But yes, there is many a shot of people enjoying the carnival, eating cotton candy, reveling in the carnival, etc. etc. There is even a multitude of shots of the carnival being set up, and these shots take place well into the movie, at one point, they set up some bumper cars at like the 55 minute mark. The damn thing is nearly over! And they're still setting up. Like I said, carnival fetish. I'm very turned on right now.

Reason #2 to love She-Freak. It's called She-Freak. You know I love things concerning the ladies, and this just puts it right out there on the table. She's a freak and she's a lady. In my Quagmire voice, all right!

Reason #3 to love She-Freak. It's modeled plotwise after Tod Browning's wonderful wonderful movie. No, it doesn't feature actual freaks (one of the reasons to hate it), but it's still kinda sorta true to its source material - it follows the same formula anyway - and I love Tod Browning and I love his movie Freaks.

Now for the shit list.

Reason #1 to hate She-Freak. It does not feature actual freaks like its inspiration. Early on, when our protagonist Jade first joins the carnival, she takes in the 10 in 1. She expresses to her stripper friend, Moon, how disgusting freaks are and how she would prefer not to be near them. Always the sympathist, Moon assures Jade the freaks are better off in the show than out in the real world, but Jade still detest them. I don't know if there was just a lack of natural-borns or what, but all this has going for it is a sword swallower and an old lady that kisses a snake. And Friedman himself is the barker. That's pretty cool.

Reason #2 to hate She-Freak. It is slow. Slow as molasses. It's like a nudie movie only no one is nude and the nude parts have been replaced by the site of the tilt a whirl whirling for twenty minutes at a stretch. I'm exaggerating of course, but still. It can get real boring watching barefoot roughnecks assemble a ferris wheel. I know I said I got off at the carnival shots, but seriously, even I have a threshold for such things.

Reason #3 to hate She-Freak. Jade is gross. She looks like Jocelyn Weinstein. Her face is like a plastic surgery accident gone wrong and this was in the days before plastic surgery was in vogue. She does not own the coniving character of Jade at all, and seems actually more at home in her role once she becomes a freak show attraction. I could have used a much more attractive and convincing actress in the Jade role.

Ah well. Gotta love it and gotta hate it. Sometimes you gotta do both. I want more freaks and I want them now. But I gotta give props because I just do. I'm so eloquent.


  1. Personally, I'm always drunk, so you're preaching to the choir. I've always been curious about SHE FREAK, and after your entertaining review, I kinda want to see and kinda don't want to see it. Funny that. I love the one-sheet though.

  2. I saw this movie on USA network at like 1AM when I was in middle school. It was hosted by Roseanne's lesbian pal Sandra Bernhard. The titular She-Freak is still not as disturbing as the original chicken woman from the 30's.

    I find most exploitation movies dull. All the money was spent on gore or convincing someone to take his or her clothes off. 98% of the movie is just filler.

  3. HW, you and me, the drunkingtons of the horror blog-iverse. Just take a deep breath, chug your cabernet - that's how I do it - and watch the carnival get set up again and again. You know you want to.

    Jake, you are quite correct, sir. That Olga chicken in Browning's original is fabulous. You know, there's an Olga in this movie too, she's a fortune teller with a fake gypsy accent. And what's wrong with a little gore and a little nipple here or there? I'll watch some filler to get to the goods :)

  4. Jenn: I'm just loving the poster art. The movie might be filler, but that poster knows the right notes to hit. I'm loving the guy at the very bottom-center with the baby face, holding a switch the size of monky wrench. And who could not love, at least a little, a movie with the tag line: "In the dark corridors of every woman's soul there lurks a She Freak!"

    Entertaining as always. Loved the idea of you doing a Quagmire voice. All Riighhht! -- Mykal

  5. The poster is sensational, I must say. I KNOW for a FACT that in the deep corners of my soul there's definitely a she-freak lurking around. Hell, not even in the deep corners. More like right on the surface, babies!

  6. Jenn: I couldn't stop myself. I got the Something Weird DVD release of this. Bad girls and cheap, carny freaks will be my undoing. -- Mykal

  7. Jenn: Well, actually, they have already been my undoing. - Mykal

  8. Great review and very entetaining. I've known about this movie for sometime now, but I keep putting it on the backburner. I think it's time to seek it out. Now someone just needs to review Something Weird's 1972 schlock-fest BLOOD FREAK, a pro-Christian/anti-drug film featuring a mutated, turkey-headed killer. Because nothing says "pro-Christian" like a heap of Herschell Gordon Lewis-style gore!

  9. Hexenkult, thank you and your wish has been granted. I have reviewed Blood Freak in these very pages. Look to the right and find the 'turkey monster' tag and your dreams will come to fruition. Love Blood Freak. Bless their sick and amazing hearts over at SW.

  10. Jenn: I watched She Freaks last night. You were sooo right about it being slow. If I had to watch that damn carnival go up and down one more time I might have blown my brains out. Also, I do believe the courtship of Steve and Jade was the longest in screen history. The endless shots of them cavorting around got to be quite torturous.

    My favorite scene was when Blackie invites Jade into his “place,” which is the ass end of one of the carnival’s trailers. Not sure if it was the mattress flung in the corner, or the spray painted graffiti on the interior walls of the trailer, but something did the trick. Did you notice he had spray painted his name in black over the mattress? Worked like a damn charm.

    Must disagree about Jade (Claire Brennen). I didn’t think she was gross at all, quite cute, in fact. The real beauty, though, was Lynn Courtney, who played Moon the cootchie dancer – She was downright beautiful. Also, I thought Bill McKinney, who played Steve St. John, was just about the creepiest leading man in the history of film. – Mykal

  11. Really, Mykal? You thought Jade was kinda hott? I was much more on the Moon side, as were you as well it seems. I think it was something about that face and that diner dress and that dumb Southern accent that turned me off. I don't know, I needed more, um, I don't even know. She was weird to me.

    I'm glad ya got through it though, it's really not too horrible. I guess I want to like it more because of the subject matter, but it just falls a bit short for a few reasons.

  12. If you're not going to showcase real freaks, take a walk. SHE FREAK had the vibe and the good intentions, but those intentions didn't extend to liberating some freaks from a forgotten sideshow and grandfathering them into the movie business. Dwarfs are the easiest freaks to collate, but it's not like it was impossible to find thalidomide-fed malforms back in '67. That was a great decade for hideous birth defects.

    The movie is still worth catching, but Browning's FREAKS will remain one of the greatest movies ever made.

    I recently caught the Japanese THE DWARF. Now that knew how to showcase a half-pint.

  13. Phantom, you're preaching to the choir, man! In other words, you nailed it. This movie's got like one dwarf and he's not even showcased.

    Have you seen the Sinful Dwarf? Now that is a movie. It's got a dwarf and he's sinful and everything!

    Somebody needs to make a movie about the Lobster Boy. Didn't his family murder him or something? I think I have the true crime book about that whole sordid affair 'round here somewhere...

  14. Good old Grady Stiles Jnr., the goddamn fuckin Lobster Boy. I have much love for him and his ilk. I'd love to make a movie myself about that clawed wonder. And a brutal bastard he was, too.

    The Sinful Dwarf is a great favorite. And, you're right, he's definitely sinful.

    If you're going to have dwarfs, use them right.

    Over the next few days I'll do a little blog on the dwarf from the Japanese 'The Dwarf'. He even carries a severed hand (ala Dick Laymon's 'The Woods Are Dark' and Teruo Ishii's 'Blind Beast Vs. Killer Dwarf'). Buit it did it first.

  15. HA! She Freak!! Don't have the movie, but I have a DVD with HOURS of old B movie trailers, and She Freak is on there. I got the DVD from a company called "Something Weird Video".