Stills and set photos from Freaks (1932 dir. Tod Browning).
Joining a circus at the age of sixteen, Browning insisted on use actual sideshow attractions for the cast rather than make-up and effects. Though based on the short story “Spurs,” Browning based aspects of the movie from his experiences in the circus, portraying “freaks” as honorable trusting people while those that are “normal” were monsters.
Audiences mostly reacted negatively, not comfortable seeing actual freaks on the movie screen (it has even been said that Myrna Loy and Jean Harlow turned down roles as they were not comfortable starring alongside the rest of the cast) insuring that the film was a financial flop. Browning career’s was derailed as a result.