"The Last American Freak Show"
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the last American Freak Show. Careering across America in a ramshackle old school bus, run on stolen vegetable oil, and piloted by Lowrent the Clown. Samantha X and Dylan have started their own show, staring such self-defined freaks as The Lobster Girl, The Half Woman, Dame Demure, and The Elephant Man. This motley crew of outsiders are resurrecting the dying art of the sideshow, but with attitude. They flaunt their disability - what makes them `different' is also what unites them.
Disability is ubiquitous. Over 50 million Americans and 3 million British people are disabled. Where are they? You hardly ever see them and when you do it's usually in transit or in a situation outside of their control. This is why the "The Last American Freak Show" is important. It shows disabled people taking control of societies perception of them and reflecting it back at itself. It also shows the disabled as ordinary people and not as some kind of pitiful hero or brave plucky competitor in the rat race of life. Disabled people are discriminated against at every level of society and the fact that this film makes some able-bodied people feel uncomfortable is a testament to this fact.
This film is meant to make the watcher question their own concepts of disability and to cause debate and dissension amongst the consensus view that flaunting your body is considered wrong (unless, of course, it's beautiful). I make no apologies for the discomfort factor – it's what I felt making it and it's what I want you to feel when you watch it, and I want you to laugh as you find yourself looking beyond the bodies and at the people living inside them.
Disabled people calling themselves freaks, enjoying it, and hitting the road to exhibit their deformities, tell their stories and entertain a paying audience. This isn't a story that's traditionally acceptable. The film is as far removed from the clichés of disability in cinema as it is possible to be. Destined to be a classic, The Last American Freak Show is an evocative, compelling, often funny and personal documentary looking into the world of the disabled and the sideshow. A world you never knew existed.