An eerie line from Tod Browning's 1932 film Freaks and an oft-repeated pop culture reference (from The Simpsons to Robert Altman's The Player). The phrase was used by the carnival freaks to the beautiful and evil trapeze artist Cleopatra, who woos one of their own (a dwarf) to get at his money. Cleopatra's wicked treatment of the collection of sideshow freaks results in the expected come-uppance, which involves one of the most chilling moments in cinematic history. The freaks unite one rainy evening and hunt down Cleopatra's lover (Hercules, the circus strong-man) on the circus grounds, brandishing knives and all chanting, ”We will make you...we will make you...one of us...one of us...”
One particular scene burned in my memory: the expression on the face of the paraplegic, dagger firmly clenched between his teeth, worming his way through
the mud with dark intent.
One of us.