- Awesome Music: The loving cup song - not a masterpiece of composition, maybe, but it will haunt you, and what more can you ask?
- Fair for Its Day: The titular Freaks are presented as off-putting and creepy in their way, particularly at the signature "One of us" scene and at the ending when they enact their revenge. Cleo's fate of becoming a freak herself is treated as a horrifying punishment. But at the same time, they're unquestionably portrayed good, friendly people who attempt to stay upbeat and positive in spite of the prejudice they have to deal with every day. The villains of the story are two traditionally handsome, gorgeous, "Normal" people whose beauty is quickly revealed to be only skin deep.
- Moral Event Horizon: Cleopatra and Hercules' attempted murder of Hans and Venus toward the end.
- Retroactive Recognition:
- Signature Line:
ONE OF US! ONE OF US!
- Squick: The actors playing Hans and Freida are siblings. Knowing this makes the fact that they end up together sort of uncomfortable for some viewers.
- Ugly Cute: The Pinheads.
- Generally, all the freaks here are Ugly Cute. Johnny Eck is uncommonly handsome.
- Vindicated by History: At first dismissed as a horrific Exploitation Film, Freaks has since earned a cult following in the sixties counter-culture movement and is today recognized as a classic, particularly for its sympathetic portrayal of the titular "freaks."