It’s Popzara’s Movie Time! Podcast!, where our own movie nerds Ethan Brehm and Nate Evans take you on an unscripted journey yakking and chatting about some of their favorite movie moments and cinematic scenes, from past and present, presented without snark and snobbery for your listening pleasure.
On tap in this episode are two black ‘n white classics from very different eras in Hollywood that, in their own way, help affirm that humanity comes in many shapes and sizes, and often the real monsters are right in front of us.
The first is 1932’s Freaks. Directed by Tod Browning (Dracula), the film was both incredibly controversial and a box-office disaster upon release until it found an audience decades later on VHS. With a cast of actors with real disabilities it was called grotesque and exploitative in Pre-Code Hollywood, effectively ending Browning’s career and rendering most of its actors unemployable. But modern critics and film historians have come to reevaluate both the film itself and its message, in which our hosts enthusiastically agree.
The second is 1980’s The Elephant Man, directed by David Lynch, produced by Mel Brooks, and featuring one of the finest casts that included John Hurt, Anthony Hopkins, and Anne Bancroft, ever assembled in one film. It tells the real story of John Merrick, a man suffering from horrific deformities that made him a popular “freak show” attraction, shielding his gentle demeanor and humanity from those who couldn’t look past his appearance. Few movies have been called horrifying and heartbreaking, just make sure to bring the tissues.