Review: She Freak
Blu-ray: She Freak (1967)
Another in 101 Films AGFA line of releases (make sure to read my reviews of Effects, Lady Street Fighter and Jungle Trap), She Freak once again gave me another dollop of low budget indie filmmaking that thoroughly entertained me.
The story (what little there is) revolves around Jade Cochran (Claire Brennen); a woman jaded with her life as a waitress, so walks out and gets work at a travelling carnival…only to discover that she detests the “freaks” that work there.
However, she uses the people there to her advantage and puts herself into a position to not only have her lustful desires satisfied (with no nudity I must add), but also to acquire the money and power she desires too.
She Freak owes more than a passing nod to Tod Browning’s Freaks, but where it differs the most is in the narrative. To be more specific; Freaks has one and She Freak doesn’t…well, just about the bare minimum.
If you thought Rocky 4 was the ultimate “montage movie”, then wait until you get a load of this, with about half of its running time (at least) taken up with shots of a real life American carnival in the 1960’s playing out in front of you while 60’s surf rock pumps out through your speakers (I was getting flashbacks to the likes of Beach Blanket Bingo and others of its ilk).
I can see the montage heavy narrative being a problem for a lot of viewers, but regular childhood visits to the Blackpool Pleasure Beach ,and more specifically local carnivals that visited where I used to live, made the scenes of real carnival life absolutely fascinating to me.
Cochran’s monotone delivery of her lines and the way in which she paused for way too long after almost every sentence became something of an endearing factor rather than an annoyance, making me laugh on more than one occasion when the person in the scene with her began to do the same too.
The ending comes as no surprise, and we finally get to see the titular “She Freak” after waiting all through the movie for her. This is made all the better by the make-up effects being…well…unforgettable.
The picture quality from a 4K restoration of the original 35mm camera negative is superb; bright and colourful, really bringing to life the carnival atmosphere. While the special features kept me engrossed long after the main feature had ended, with a particular shoutout to “THE LAUGHING, LEERING, LAMPOONING LURES OF DAVID F. FRIEDMAN”: a feature-length compilation of trailers from the Something Weird vaults, which had me constantly pausing to write down the titles of movies to put on my watchlist. An archival commentary with producer David F. Friedman and Something Weird founder Mike Vraney also added to my appreciation of the main feature too, with Friedman being a great commentary guest and having lots of stories to tell.
Another low budget indie gem that certainly won’t appeal to everyone, but once again, if the previous AGFA releases from 101 Films scratched that elusive indie itch, then She Freak will certainly do the same.
• 4K restoration from the original 35mm camera negative
• Archival commentary with producer David F. Friedman and Something Weird founder Mike Vraney
• ASYLUM OF THE INSANE: SHE FREAK inserts preserved in 2K
• THE LAUGHING, LEERING, LAMPOONING LURES OF DAVID F. FRIEDMAN: a feature-length compilation of trailers from the Something Weird vaults, newly preserved in 2K
• Vintage shorts from the carnival midway
• Promotional photo gallery
• Booklet with essay by Something Weird’s Lisa Petrucci
• Reversible cover artwork
Released 14th March 2022.
Review by Dave from a disc kindly supplied by 101 Films.