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Coney Island’s Eak the Geek Can Handle a Bed of Nails, but Is Still Scared of Freaks

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Coney Island strongman Eak the Geek (aka Eduardo Arrocha) is currently in the middle of
getting his law degree, but he fondly recalls his his stint in in the famous sideshow. “It was the single most influential thing in my life,” he says, “I wound up working there longer than anyone else… but after a while you have to let go of it.” Eak hasn’t given up sideshows entirely — he’s taking a term off to tour the country and perform at private events. “I still have my bed of nails, and all my props,” says Eak. “The open road beckons, and I’m going crazy to get out there.”

While Eak is more comfortable on a bed of nails than most of us are in our office chairs, a scary movie– “Preferably from the 1970s!”– will still give him ferocious nightmares. He became intrigued with the macabre during his childhood in Mexico City. “They had all these low-budget vampire and werewolf movies that were very melodramatic and scary, where the good guys are redeemed and the bad guys go to hell,” he recalls. It’s not surprising that after all these years, he still can’t get enough of the 1932 movie Freaks. “In the time of that movie, people wanted to see freaks but not hear them, so the film humanized them quite a bit. A movie like that could never get made now, though,” believes Eak. “Even if they did it with Hollywood types, it just wouldn’t be right.”

Eak the Geek’s Top 10 Horror Films

10. The Fly
9. The Shining
8. Ben
7. The Exorcist
6. The Omen
5. Halloween
4. Carrie
3. Nosferatu
2. Rosemary’s Baby
1. Freaks

“It plays on what people are most afraid of,  that imperfect picture of ourselves,” says Eak about Freaks.
“I know there are movies that are a lot more horrific, but there’s
something great about a psychodrama like this… a mirror that reflects
who we are.”

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