She Freak (1967)

Claire Brennan plays Jade Cochran, a diner waitress who hates freaks and sadly for her, she’s pretty much in a remake of Tod Browning’s Freaks but, you know, 35 years later and somehow with a lower budget. Within minutes — and just one ferris wheel ride — she’s the wife of circus owner Steve St. John (Bill McKinney) and moments after that, rough trade Blackie Fleming (Lee Raymond) is treating her how she likes being treated behind her new old man’s back and then, even sooner than that, Steve’s dead at the hands and switchblade of Blackie and Jade owns it all.

Again, if you saw Freaks, you know how this all ends, the comeuppance of it all, right? The effects are rudimentary but effective and I mean, you can’t call a movie She Freak and not have a she freak.

Directed by Byron Mabe (The Acid EatersSpace ThingNude Django) with inserts from Donn Davison. Donn was the manager of Florida’s Dragon Art Theatre and one of the guys who would work four-walled theaters and talk marks into buying gimmicks. He also narrated the trailer for The Crawling Thing and Creature Of Evil.

This was written by Michael B. Druxman (who also wrote Cannon movie Keaton’s Cop) and producer David F. Friedman, who produced this and also plays the carnival barker. He learned how to make movies in the army and when he was discharged, he sold army-surplus searchlights. His first customer? Kroger Babb, perhaps the most carny of all carnies. And this, Friedman entered the world of film, working with Herschell Gordon Lewis, making more money in softcore and retiring when hardcore took over.

Filmed during the Kern County Fair and the Ventura County Fair, She Freak takes advantage of the rides and attractions of West Coast Shows, which was such a major company that they could do five carnivals in different locations at the same time. Most of their crew are in this.

Even though Jade and Shorty (Felix Silla) are at odds in this movie, the truth is there’s a thin line between love and hate. This movie started a nine year affair between the two that was kept a secret, even when Brennan gave birth to Silla’s son.

You can watch this on Tubi.

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