Horror Movies, Horror Bodies: Blurring the Freak Body in Cinema
This chapter examines the disabled body as a sight of spectacle and identification in film through a lengthy discussion of Tod Browning’s 1932 film Freaks. The discussion frames the chapter because Freaks serves as an example of how film has interpreted the freak show and the freak body and has provided a groundwork for both creating and understanding future melodramas and horror films. The chapter also examines horror staples Rosemary’s Baby and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre , as well as The Funhouse, and the melodrama The Elephant Man . Each discussion unpacks the human monsters who exist at the center of the films, how the monstrous body is portrayed, and how these films work either in or against the tradition of the freak show.