Although the term is certainly not “PC” these days, so called freaks have been around for as long as life has been present on this shiny lump of crap we call home. Whether incredibly small or tall, or replete with more or less digits than standard, we all love ‘em.
Anyway, through the ages, the strange and the dark have been put on a shelf for us to humiliate. Why stop now? Sick Chirpse continues this age old tradition.
Joseph Merrick AKA The Elephant Man – Born 1862: Arguably the most famous of his cohorts, had a fairly miserable 28 year long life suffering from what some think may have been a heavy mix of neurofibromatosis type I and Proteus syndrome. He turned to the freak show industry to save him from the workhouse. He had some adventures along the way though, including being robbed of his savings and abandoned by his Manager in Europe and meeting the Princess of Wales who sent him a Christmas card every year. By all accounts he was a mild mannered chap and I’m sure he would have turned in his over sized coffin if he had seen the following footage.
The film entitled “Freaks” which actually uses “differently abled” people as actors, produced in 1932, rightly caused a bit of a stir as people in the West slowly came to the decision that perhaps people shouldn’t poke fun at and abuse those less fortunate than themselves. Sounds obvious when you say it like that, but us humans are slow to empathise and quick to make a buck. Shortly after an early screening of the film a lady threatened to sue MGM as she blamed the film for causing her to miscarry. At that point much of the film was removed taking it from 90 minutes down to 64. One section that was unfortunately removed was a gruesome sequence showing Hercules being castrated. Apparently these sections are now lost, not sure how much of a loss that really is to be fair. Even with the worst of the scenes edited out the crowds were still pretty negative, quelle suprise. Before the release of this film the Director had had some success with a Dracula film, but this shocker pretty much decapitated his career. The film was banned in the UK for 30 years, here’s why: