- Oscar Wilde
October is my favorite month of the year. Not just for the changing foliage, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin beer, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin pie. But also for the last day of the month, Halloween. I don’t know why, but I have always loved this holiday. As a child my family did not celebrate Halloween. No passing out of candy, no going around to stranger’s houses, and certainly no scary movies. Yet I was always drawn to it, the atmosphere of it.
Maybe the biggest aspect of this holiday, if not for scaring people, is dressing up. What are you going to be for Halloween? is the question starts to pop up around the beginning of the month. I don’t typically dress up for Halloween, but I have friends that do it every year, even if they’re the only person dressed up. The basic premise is that you can be anything you want on Halloween. It's the one night of the year where is it not frowned upon to dress up like a vampire hooker, or a disco zombie. This raises a question, why do we love to be someone we are not?
I think this relates, fittingly, to our fear. Our fear of who we are. Our identity. Being someone you’re not has its benefits. We all act unlike ourselves at different points in our lives, whether it’s to impress your girlfriend’s father, or to get into a club underage. But in the end you can’t escape who you are. Being your true self is one of the biggest fears we will face as humans. And it doesn’t matter how you dress yourself up, eventually your true nature will be revealed.
The film opens at a side show. A backdrop Browning would visit later in his masterpiece Freaks (1932). The sideshow boss is leading the crowd around introducing them to each performer with copious amounts of alliteration, after which they perform. This introduction not only gives us a backdrop for each individual character, but also gives us a glimpse into the nature of each character. Their perceived identity and their actual one, which is a theme that will carry forward as the film progresses.
After Hector taken away by the police for murder, the unholy three, Rosie, and Echo’s pet ape retreat to a cabin outside of the city. There Rosie pleads with Echo to help get Hector released, telling him that she will stay if he does this for her. So Echo goes to the trial. Meanwhile, Hercules just happens to also be into Rosie. He tries to get her to leave with him, and the loot of course. Tweedledee doesn’t like this one bit. He releases the ape in an attempt to kill Hercules. The ape gets Hercules, but not before he kills Tweedledee. Back at the trial Echo comes forward with the truth after some distressful decision making in the courtroom. Both he and Hector are set free. Echo returns to the sideshow, telling Rosie to be with Hector.
Tweedledee or Little Willie has a complex about his size. While his diminutive stature is directly related to his job, it is also a part of his identity. He doesn’t want to identified as little, or inferior, or a child. Ironically, he plays a small child when the group moves into the bird shop. He defends his size with violence or the threat of violence, not afraid to kick a small child in the face or threaten violence to Rosie if she talks stating “If you tip the bulls off to who we are, I'll lay some lilies under your chin.” Which is probably the greatest line to ever come from a small man dressed up as baby in film history. The animosity felt by Tweedledee about his size also makes him aggressive verbally. He taunts Hercules, manipulating him to get the results he wants. This behavior ultimately leads to his death. Because let’s face it, a twenty inch tall man can only push people around for so long before they push back.