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Old 07-30-2006, 01:17 AM
Scored: 6
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Default Sideshow

Reviewer: Rhett
Review Date: October 4, 2002

Released by: Full Moon
Release date: 4/23/2002
MSRP: $9.98
Region 0, NTSC
Full Frame 1.33:1

Sideshow's are a weird source of entertainment. People attend them and watch in both pity and disgust as these freaks of nature display their morbid differences from regular humans. But what if the transformations these freaks endure are everything they wanted, and everything they deserve? Cult Director Fred Olen Ray poses this question in his newest Full Moon flick, Sideshow. Here is a complimentary ticket to my review, use it if you dare!

The Story

inline ImageDesperately trying to escape the local Sideshow, a man crawls for his life. But led by the evil ringmaster, Dr. Graves (Phil Fondacaro), the circus freaks capture him and make him one of their own. Later on a group of teens: a special needs teenager and two best friends double dating with two girl friends, decide to go for a night out at the Sideshow. After getting duped by a corrupt carnie at a carnival game, Tommy (Michael Amos) and the rest of the group head over to get their fortune told. The fortuneteller informs them roughly that they will get what they've always wanted and what they deserve; giving them all passes to the freak show simultaneously.

inline Image The group witnesses some foul and repulsing freaks; one with a head in his stomach, a woman who can digest anything, one who can peal off her skin, and even a man that looks like a bug. Shocked and sickened, Jeanie (Jeana Blackman) flees from the Sideshow to get some fresh air. She is self-conscious about her weight, and seeing the beautiful body of the "inside out" lady was too much for her to "bare". She looks for an exit, and Dr. Graves offers her a shortcut for only $0.50, so she accepts. Graves then offers her a chance to have a perfect body, and she happily accepts, but the transformation is not quite what she asked for.

inline ImageJeanie is missing, and the rest of the group attempt to find her, but what they discover along the way is a window to their fate and their desires. Will they escape the circus alive, or will their desires consume their freedom?

Sideshow is a decent Full Moon film that delivers what it promises. The freaks look quite disgusting and complex, and the entire film sustains the carnival atmosphere quite ably. The story is cliché and predictable, but at a quickly paced running time of only 74 minutes, there is little time to feel disenchanted with the film.

inline ImageThe stumpy Phil Fondacaro (Willow) is great in his scene-stealing role as the eerie Dr. Graves, enticing the viewer to stick around and watch the film develop. His sinister smile and witty delivery of his dialogue make for entertainment, and give the film a feel of authenticity. He has played carnival workers in the past, most notably in Ghoulies II, and his handle on the creepy intrigue of Sideshow workers aids the film considerably.

This will hardly be remembered as one of Fred Olen Ray's better films, but overall the film is an adequate way to spend an hour and fifteen minutes. The acting wont win any awards, but if it is freaks you desire, then you will come out of this Sideshow feeling you've received your money's worth.

Image Quality

inline ImageThis is another of Full Moon's 1.33:1 full screen transfers, and it looks surprisingly sharp. The colors are nicely saturated and quite vibrant, and the print looks extremely well-defined. There is not a single spec of grain to be found, and even the black levels are respectable. I did notice some slight shimmering from Bobby's corduroy jacket, but other than that mild distraction, everything else from this transfer satisfies.


Presented in an English stereo track, this sounds clear and without distortion. The dialogue and music are well represented, and there is even some decent channel separation between the front speakers. For a low budget film of this sort, this is a quality audio transfer, and sounds at times moderately engulfing.

Supplemental Material

Although on the back it states that only a trailer is included, there are also a few other goodies. There is also a making of featurette under the "Videozone" heading, which runs about 11 minutes. It consists of interviews with Fred Olen Ray and a breakdown of the various make-up effects used for the freaks in the film. There is also a little 2 minute advertisement for Full Moon toy products included in the "Merchandise" section. Rounding off the set are some weirdly animated filmographies and a contact listing for Full Moon under the "Website" heading.

Final Thoughts

Sideshow is a film that satisfies thanks to its inventive creatures and an enjoyable performance by Phil Fondacaro. The video looks extremely sharp, and the audio transfer is more than satisfying. A short little featurette adds some substance to this disc, and for only $9.98 this disc will satisfy those looking for an in home trip to the freak show.


Movie - C
Image Quality - B+
Sound - B-
Supplements - C+

Technical Info.
  • Color
  • Running time - 1 hour 14 minutes
  • Urated
  • 1 Disc
  • Chapter Stops
  • English Stereo

  • "The Making of Sideshow" featurette
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Filmographies
  • Full Moon toy advertisement
  • Full Moon contact information

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