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->''The media made them superstars.''

Considered to be one of the most controversial films of the 1990s, ''Natural Born Killers'' is a film by Creator/OliverStone. It derives from a screenplay written by Creator/QuentinTarantino (which itself was a rewrite of friend Creator/RogerAvary's script, The Open Road, elements of which also contributed to ''Film/TrueRomance''), who conceived it as a dark exploitation thriller (with elements of satire), but Stone extensively rewrote it to the point where Tarantino [[DisownedAdaptation disowns it as part of his work.]] Stone turned the story into a satire of [[IfItBleedsItLeads the incestuous relationship between crime, the media and pop culture]], and how the latter two glorify the former and turn mass murderers into cult heroes. The film tells the tale of Mickey (Creator/WoodyHarrelson) and Mallory Knox (Creator/JulietteLewis), who captivate the world with a cross-country murder spree. Despite being sadistic and largely unrepentant murderers, the media (led by a tabloid journalist played by Creator/RobertDowneyJr) turns them into pop culture icons.

While the equally corrupt detective who arrested them (Tom Sizemore) and the warden (TommyLeeJones) at the prison holding the two plot to have Mickey and Mallory killed while transporting them to a mental institution for psychiatric testing, Mickey uses a post-Super Bowl special interview to stage a riot in the prison and escapes with his bride to freedom, leaving a trail of carnage in their wake as the entire prison goes up in flames and the staff is savagely slaughtered by the prisoners.

A psychedelic and surrealistic film (one that has been called "The Most Expensive Student Film Ever Made") the film sadly fell victim to MisaimedFandom as some fans actually ended up liking Mickey and Mallory and their ultra-violent killing spree, which was what Stone was condemning. Similarly, quite a few critics failed to see the condemnation of media hype, instead fixating on the perceived glorification of violence. (Ironically enough, Tarantino's original script arguably places more emphasis on the "evil" of the Knoxes--making them less sympathetic.[[note]] Tarantino himself soundly condemned the "sitcom" sequences in the film, apparently for that reason.[[/note]] And those on the "side of the law" are ''not'' the NotSoDifferent types Stone makes them into....)

!!This film provides examples of:

%%* AbusiveParents: Mallory's parents, and maybe Mickey's, too.
* AdaptationalHeroism: [[DownplayedTrope To an extent]]--the Knoxes are hardly "heroes"; still, Stone's film has them moralizing (eventually calling out Gayle for his antics) and expressing regret for some of their actions. The AbusiveParents angle also provides sympathy of sorts for them. None of this is in Tarantino's original script, which has the couple as something of a dark {{Deconstruction}} of the ''BonnieAndClyde'' concept.
* AdaptationalVillainy:
** Jack Scagnetti was written by Quentin as more of a tired, worn-out KnightInSourArmor, living with a reputation based on past glory, who ''eventually'' [[KnightTemplar snaps and attacks Mallory in the climax]]--as opposed to the corrupt, murderous DirtyCop obsessed with Mallory that Stone's film made him.
** In addition, Mallory's parents were not originally written as sexually abusive. In Tarantino's original script, the given reason for Mickey killing Mallory's parents was that they wouldn't give their blessing to the couple's marriage. The DisproportionateRetribution turned UpToEleven is discussed by Scagnetti and company as being the couples' EstablishingCharacterMoment.
** Wayne Gayle does ''not'' kill anyone himself in Tarantino's script.
* AmbiguouslyHuman: Owen Taft - [[spoiler: he appears out of nowhere at the beginning and end of the film, and in the original cut, just before he kills the Knoxes he says he "came from the fire."]]
%%* AppealToInherentNature: "Look, bitch, you knew I was a snake."
%%* AssholeVictim:
%%** Mallory's father and Jack Scagnetti.
%%** The redneck gang.
%%* AxCrazy: Two guesses. Mallory is the worst.
%%* BadassBeard: Wayne Gale
%%* BaldOfEvil: Mickey towards the end.
* BerserkButton: The only person who calls Mallory "You stupid bitch" and lives is Mickey.
* BottomlessMagazines: Nobody really seems to be particularly concerned with bullet counts here. A particularly obvious example happens during the prison riot, when Wayne fires a pistol with the slide locked open.
* ChewingTheScenery:
** [=McCluskey=], with his [[EvilLaugh "horrific fucking laugh"]].
** Who can forget "Jesus Harold Christ on a fucking rubber crutch!"
%%** Wayne Gale, of course.
%%* ClusterFBomb
* CultSoundtrack: The [[Music/NineInchNails Trent Reznor]]-compiled soundtrack, which includes songs by Music/LeonardCohen, Music/PattiSmith, Music/BobDylan, Dr. Dre and Tha Dogg Pound.
* DamselInDistress: Mickey does, effectively, rescue Mallory from her immediately-dangerous plight (continuous sexual and verbal abuse from her father) and liberate her from the house in which she's basically trapped. This does also involve him orchestrating the killing of the monster that is keeping her there (her abusive father).
* DerangedAnimation: During some of the more psychedelic scenes, we're treated to random frames of Mickey running down a hallway and a perverse FelixTheCat attacking Mallory and getting shot.
%%* DinerBrawl: Or a Diner Massacre anyway.
%%* DirtyCop: Jack Scagnetti and the prison warden.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Mildly. Despite killing over 50 people, Mickey is still disgusted at how the media has sensationalized his actions. He glorifies in it because he's an insane killer - what's ''their'' excuse?
-->" You'll never understand Wayne. You and me, we're not even the same species. I used to be you then I evolved. From where you're standing you're a man. From where I'm standing you're an ape. You're not even an ape; you're a ''media person''. Media's like the weather, only it's man made. Murder is ''pure''. You're the one made it ''impure''. You're buying and selling fear."
* TheFamilyThatSlaysTogether: [[spoiler:[[SubvertedTrope Subverted]]. Mickey and Mallory end their killing sprees after they decide to settle down and have kids.]]
* FanDisservice:
** Mallory's armpits.
** The numerous [[FootFocus shots of Mallory's bare feet.]]
* TheFarmerAndTheViper: A variation is recounted by a Native American who shelters Mickey and Mallory. [[spoiler:Sure enough, he's killed by Mickey, but accidentally - Mickey comes out of a nightmare and fires his gun on reflex. Mallory is not amused.]]
* FreezeFrameBonus: The credits of the fake sitcom "I Love Mallory" are full of [[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110632/faq#.2.1.12 punny names and jokes]] such as "Best Boy: C. Noevil".
* FreudianExcuse:
** Mickey and Mallory both had abusive fathers, with Mallory's dad molesting her and Mickey's dad killing himself in front of his son.
** Scagnetti had a similar excuse, as his mother was killed by a spree killer (Charles Whitman).
* HilariouslyAbusiveChildhood: The scene showing Mallory's family life is done in the style of a 50's sitcom, complete with canned laughter, exaggerated set design, and sitcom-styled joke script... which informs the viewer that Mallory's father has been raping her for longer than her brother has been alive (because the only reason Kevin was born is because Dad didn't realize he was in his own bedroom and not Mallory's) and her mother doesn't object because he beats her.
* HollywoodHealing:
** For someone who has just been bitten by a rattlesnake, Mickey didn't have a problem engaging in a shootout.
** Also, Mallory gets sprayed in the eyes with mace by Scagnetti and is able to see perfectly not two minutes later.
%%* IfItBleedsItLeads: A ruthless satire of this trope.
%%* IllKillYou: Everyone. Yes, everyone.
%%* ImportantHaircut: Mickey, right before his interview.
* KarmaHoudini:
** [[spoiler:The two run away and spend their days in an RV, raising their kids and being normal. Oliver Stone was actually aiming for this trope - they're heroic, in a twisted sort of way, because they killed the mass media figure that propagated their doings, the corrupt cop and the warden.]]
** Not so, however, [[spoiler:in the deleted scene. See KarmicDeath below.]]
* KarmicDeath:
** [[spoiler:In a deleted scene, instead of [[KarmaHoudini running away and raising a family]], Mickey and Mallory are killed by the same serial killer that helped them escape the prison, because [[WordOfGod Stone said]] that the best comeuppance for the two was to be killed by "their own ilk".]]
** [[spoiler:When Wayne Gale, the bastard who propagated Mickey and Mallory's killings, starts killing people himself for the sake of ratings, Mickey and Mallory give him a ''vicious'' TheReasonYouSuckSpeech before killing him as well.]]
* MindScrew: All the strange imagery inserted almost subliminally into the film, such as a beheaded, bloody man sitting on a couch which also begins moving near the end of the film (the fake sitcom at the beginning is also credited to "Headless Mann Ltd."; see FreezeFrameBonus above).
%%* MoodDissonance: All the frakkin' time.
* NoFourthWall: Played with during Wayne Gale's televised interview with Mickey at the prison (which is aired as the "halftime show" during the Super Bowl). At one point the screen unexpectedly fades out...and then fades back in to show a Super Bowl commercial for Coca-Cola. But we don't see the frame of any television screen around the image, in effect fusing us with the in-universe audience watching the interview. [[YouBastard Pretty sobering if you think about it.]]
* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: Mickey is on the very justified receiving end of this by police after the shootout that leads to his and Mallory's arrest.
%%* OutlawCouple: Mickey and Mallory
* ThePlan: [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] in that Mickey and Mallory didn't actually plan the riot. They instead attribute their miraculous escape to "fate."
%%* RedOniBlueOni: Mallory and Mickey, respectively.
* RevisedEnding: Creator/OliverStone's original ending had Mickey and Mallory being murdered by the prisoner who helps them escape from prison.
%%* ScaryShinyGlasses: Mickey's glasses.
%%* SlasherSmile
* SpareAMessenger: Mickey and Mallory always leave one survivor at the scenes of their killing sprees... Until the very end, when they shoot the journalist that was with them because he unfortunately had a camera which documented everything, serving as a means of telling their story.
%%* StrawmanNewsMedia: Type 4.
* TitleDrop: "Shit, man. I'm a Natural Born Killer."
%%* VillainProtagonist
* WeddingRingRemoval: Played with: Mallory takes off her wedding ring to wash the dishes, but Mickey is horrified by this and insists that she must never take it off.
* YouGottaHaveBlueHair: Mallory's mother has purple hair, mostly a ShoutOut to Alex's mother in ''Film/AClockworkOrange''.