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Circus Freaks and Sideshows
These titles explore the historical and modern histories of the circus freak show. Composed of both natural and made "freaks" these oddities were exhibited as a supplement to the main big top and gaming attractions. For a smaller traveling circus, having a good sideshow was essential to getting enough visitors to cover expenses and make a profit. Staples of the side show included contortionists, giants, midgets and dwarves, alligator-skinned people, people who had been born without all their limbs, fat people weighing many hundred pounds, and the tattooed people. Animals born deformed, both dead and alive, were exhibited as well. In the post-modern sideshow, the performers are more often freaks of the "made" variety, whereas historically many of those who performed as circus freaks were born with physical differences or deformities.
Inside Teradome: An Illustrated History of Freak Film (Creation Cinema)
by Jack Hunter
Jack Hunter makes clear his purpose at the end of the preface to INSIDE TERADOME: "This book is also written from the viewpoint that 'bizarre' films...represent the pinnacle of cinematic art, since any artistic medium can only be explored to its full potential when used to express imaginative extremes." That said, he has produced a wonderful catalog and commentary on films and photographic media that feature human anomalies, both genetic/organic (little people, giants) and man-made (tattooed people), both at the sideshow or for the movies. From Tod Browning's classic FREAKS to the pictures of Joel-Peter Witkin, from THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI to Jodorowsky's SANTE SANGRE to David Lynch's THE ELEPHANT MAN, Hunter has managed to cover it all. This book is *loaded* with pictures, letting you in on the freakish details in case your local video store isn't this broadminded.
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