The ‘Freak Show’ Trailer Will Speak To Everyone Who Has Ever Dared To Disrupt Gender Norms
4 days ago
If you can in some way identify with being a “gender obliterater,” then you need to watch the first trailer for Freak Show. Based on the eponymous novel by iconic club kid James St. James, the movie follows self-proclaimed gender-obliterating teenager Billy Bloom, as he traverses the difficulties of attending a Red State high school as a radical non-conformist. Bloom strikes up even more controversy when he decides to run for Homecoming Queen. Featuring a phenomenal cast including Laverne Cox, Abigail Breslin, Willa Fitzgerald, and Bette Midler as Bloom’s extravagant yet distant mother, Freak Show looks to be a proudly queer dramatic comedy (emphasis on the drama). And whether you’ve in some way lived this experience or know James’ work already, you will definitely recognize something vital within the trailer.
For instance, you’re likely already familiar with James as a result of the 2003 cult-classic, Party Monster, which was based on his memoir, Disco Bloodbath. The book documented his own life in the New York City club scene, as well as the rise of his peer, Michael Alig, the infamous club kid upon whom Party Monster is based. Though Alig was notorious in his own right, it was his drug addiction and subsequent shocking murder of Andre “Angel” Melendez (for which Alig plead guilty) that officially made him the subject of tabloid headlines and media attention. Though Alig’s crimes were the focus of Party Monster (which starred Macaulay Culkin as Alig and Seth Green as James), it’s worth noting that the movie brought queer club culture back to the attentions of the mainstream at that time.
The lead character of Freak Show might be fictional, but from the looks of the trailer, Bloom feels like a younger version of what we see of James in Party Monster. Proudly queer, fabulously dramatic, and tenacious in his knack for subverting gender norms, the character will be immediately recognizable to anyone who falls within the extensive LGBTQ+ spectrum. These are qualities that were also recognizable on a personal level to James, too.
In an interview with Punk Globe, James revealed Freak Show was written specifically for teenagers after he was approached by an editor about potentially following up Disco Bloodbath with a Young Adult effort. “My first response was: ‘Usually they try and keep me AWAY from the teens,'” he joked, “I have a rather Satanic reputation among parents, after all,” but then revealed that this is what ultimately inspired him to move forward with it. Particularly, as he knew how much his younger self would appreciate such a book. James explained that Freak Show reflected his “high school experience” and said, “it’s all me,” before elaborating: