- Banned in Britain: This movie was banned in the 1930s as it proved to be too scary for audiences at the time. Some viewers were emotionally scarred, and there are rumors that a female viewer had a miscarriage because of this movie.
- Beam Me Up, Scotty!: The famous "One of us! One of us!" scene has the freaks chanting more than just "One of us!" Specifically, it starts out with one of them saying "We accept her! One of us!" and then a few others joining in. Eventually it becomes "Gooble gobble! Gooble gobble! We accept her! We accept her! Gooble gobble! Gooble gobble! One of us! One of us!"
- Disabled Character, Disabled Actor: Notably, "Prince Randian" (who was born without limbs), Simon Metz (born with microcephaly, a smaller skull and brain), Minnie Woolsey (who suffered from Virchow Sekel Syndrome, a combination of skeletal malformation and dwarfism), and Johnny Eck (who had underdeveloped legs which he could hide under his clothing, making it appear he had no body below the waist).
- Executive Meddling: One of the saddest examples EVER, because the movie was so disturbing when it first came out that the MGM decided to cut most of it and transform the 90-minute-long film into... 60 minutes. Adding the first scene and the last one, when Hans and Frieda get back together. And no, you can't watch the original film because the scenes are lost forever. The most notable lost portion includes a shot of Hercules on display as a castrato singer (having had his genitals removed by the Freaks), after Cleopatra is shown as the chicken-woman.
- Incestuous Casting: Romantic couple Hans and Frieda were played by siblings Harry and Daisy Earles. Naturally, the love scenes with them are really downplayed.
- Old Shame: Before his death, Angelo Rossitto was asked about the film and this is what he said: "I don't want any publicity. When you look like me, walking down the street's enough publicity."
- Real-Life Relative: See Reality Subtext, below.
- Reality Subtext: Notice that Frieda and Hans' romantic relationship is very muted. It's because they were played by brother and sister.
- Trope Namer: For One of Us.