All Good Sideshows Need A… – She Freak (1967)

Billed as horror and exploitation, this remake of Tod Browning’s Freaks features very little of either and when it finally gets around to showing anything, it is far too late for the audience to care in the slightest.

One has to wonder what went into the thought process of those who decided to put this to celluloid, if they thought this was going to be some great work or if they were simply looking to cash in on the drive-in craze of the day with a cheapie piece of schlock that would bring the teenage set in. Whatever the case, She Freak ended up being quite a failure on almost every level which is saying a lot. Whether it was the acting which was fairly bad, the lacklustre direction, the plodding story which accompanied it all or the utter lack of anything of note happening, this film missed more than it hit. If there was one thing that managed to stand out, it was the score which at least kept things a little lively at times.

As for the horror, it is hard to see what was so frightening about it all. There were no scares to be found and nothing was scary unless it was life in rural America, the prospect of a lifelong dead-end job, a cringey boss who does not understand the lines between employee and employer or the dying industry of the big top carnival. If the movie had had anything going on of note, more scenes with the freaks, a mystery or some murders or just a bit of blood, then maybe it would not have simply been one long monotonous chore which is exactly what it turned out to be. Even nudity would have livened it up somewhat and perhaps earned its moniker of exploitation and yet, all that was shown was a tiff between a couple of the carnival guys, a couple shots of the so-called freaks and the titular ‘she-freak’ which was just the lead actress with some pasted on bits on her face to make her look like a monster.

Even with a zero budget, She Freak could have been something if the writing had been up to par and had given something for the actors and actresses to do other than steal eighty-seven minutes of the audience’s time which come the end of the film, was the real horror.  If looking for a movie featuring this particular subject matter, stick to that film by Browning which is far more enjoyable than this one.

1 out of 5

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