This week on Bodies of Horror, host Nichole Goble is letting the freak flag fly this week with a discussion of Tod Browning’s 1932 film, Freaks. Incredibly controversial upon its release, it has left an indelible impression on pop culture and the horror genre – but did it have an impact on the perception of individuals with disabilities?

Freaks is the rare film where disabled actors are at forefront of a story that uses the setting of a sideshow to hone in on the “ordinariness” of their lives.

The history of the American sideshow intersects with disability in fascinating ways, and these two books are excellent resources if you’re interested in learning even more:

  • Sideshow U.S.A.: Freaks and the American Cultural Imagination by Rachel Adams
  • Freak Show: Presenting Human Oddities for Amusement and Profit by Robert Bogdan

Finally: shoutout to Freaks and Psychos podcast for their wonderful episode on Freaks!

Follow Nichole on Twitter at @NicholeInDC or e-mail bodiesofhorror@gmail.com.

Intro and outro music is “The Wind Frazzled Your Long Brown Hair” by Flashback81.Follow them at Twitter now, too: @81flashback

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