Tod Browning's cult chiller starring real circus "freaks" was greeted with screams of horror on its release in 1932, prompting a ban in the UK that lasted until the '60s. Decades on, it will still give pause to any gold-digging trapeze artists thinking about marrying a midget and then trying to bump him off for his fortune.
Browning ran away to join the circus as a teenager, and his handling of "The Living Torso", "Half Boy" and assorted Pinheads has the true compassion of an insider's vision. After the short, sharp shocks of Freaks, Browning's The Devil-Doll offers zany light relief. Lionel Barrymore plays an escaped convict hellbent on evening the score with the ex-partners who stitched him up.
He opts to dress up as an old woman and attack them using mind-controlled humans shrunk down to doll size. Firmly out of its tree from start to finish, the campy performances and bonkers dialogue make for plenty of cherishably deranged moments.
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