Lon Chaney's classics the films are classified as horror for the subject matter and disturbing makeup for the time.
The main difference between The Joker and this silent film is that The Man Who Laughed is a good guy, Who has been wronged from childhood and still suffers from a cruel society through out his entire life. He is a clown in the circus but this poor mans act never stops. He is starred at wherever he goes and the general public feels no pity. Instead they point and laugh with out a care to how "the clown" feels.
Freaks. Olga plays The Duchess, a member of the royal family and for her own greedy reasons decides that she is going to marry the laughing man. Of course this will all end in tragedy and I couldn't help but be reminded of Lon Chaney's Laugh Clown Laugh due to the tone and similar plot. I also couldn't help but think to myself how much better this film would have been if it were directed by Tod Browning and stared the great Lon Chaney. This is the perfect role for Chaney and of course he would have brought a lot more to it.
The main high note here is of course the face of the laughing man but some of the other fun and oddities that this one has to offer aside from the Iron Maiden scene is, a dog named Homo, a mass hanging that leaves limp, lynched bodies across the land. Miss Olga (Freaks) Baclanova gets fully naked for the camera in a bath scene and a man has his throat ripped out by a dog (Homo) in true Lucio Fulci fashion.
Worth a watch at least once for those who can dig silent film but it does take some concentration to stay awake during the slow parts.