* AcclaimedFlop: Roger Ebert heaped praise on it, giving the movie four stars. It has since been VindicatedByHistory and is held up as a classic.
* ActorInspiredElement: After Richard O'Brien was cast as Mr Hand, the rest of the actors playing the Strangers were told to match his performance.
* CastingGag:
** WordOfGod is that the Strangers were inspired by Riff-Raff from ''Film/TheRockyHorrorPictureShow''. So Mr Hand is played by Richard O'Brien.
** Jennifer Connelly had previously starred in ''Film/MulhollandFalls'' and ''Inventing The Abbotts'' - and this was the third film in a row that had her playing someone in a 40s/50s setting.
* DuelingMovies: A four-way contest - between ''Film/TheMatrix'', ''Film/TheThirteenthFloor'' and ''Film/{{eXistenZ}}''.
* ExecutiveMeddling:
** ViewersAreMorons, so we have to explain the plot in an OpeningNarration so they don't get confused and scared. Thankfully excised in the Directors Cut (or just mute the sound for the first few minutes.)
** The movie was given an R rating by the MPAA mostly because it had a "weird" concept (there were a few shots of topless women, but their collective duration is very short). At least that's what they'd have you believe: according to [[Creator/TreyParkerAndMattStone Matt Stone]] and the documentary ''Film/ThisFilmIsNotYetRated'', the MPAA is extremely unkind to independent features and will rate them as anything, whether or not they see fit. Before they were bought by Warner Bros., New Line Cinemas couldn't get the MPAA to ''return their phone calls.''
* FakeAmerican: Rufus Sewell (British) and Melissa George (Australian) both do very good American accents.
* FlipFlopOfGod: There are two differing opinions between the director Alex Proyas and the co-writer David S Goyer. Proyas believes [[spoiler: the humans are the inhabitants of an interstellar space ship that were abducted by the Strangers]]. Goyer on the other hand believes [[spoiler: they're all actually dead and the city is a sort of purgatory for them]].
* NonSingingVoice: Jennifer Connelly's singing is dubbed in the theatrical version, but her real voice is in the Director's Cut.
* PropRecycling: Several of the sets from this film were reused in ''TheMatrix'', most recognizably the corrugated rooftops seen during Trinity's run from the cops in the opening, and the staircase with the black-and-white tile floor from the SWAT raid and Morpheus' capture.
* PlayingAgainstType: [[Creator/KieferSutherland Jack Bauer]] as a creepy, limping, and cowardly German scientist.
* ShrugOfGod: Alex Proyas says of those who suggest the Strangers parallel the Greek Gods manipulating mortals?
--> "I do like Greek mythology and have read a little of it, so maybe some of it has crept into the work, though I don't completely agree with that point of view."
* {{Tuckerization}}: Dr Schreber is named after Daniel Paul Schreber - a German judge who suffered from psychosis and suspected schizophrenia. His book ''Memoirs of My Nervous Illness'' is alluded to many times throughout the film.
* UnbuiltCastingType: In one of his earlier roles, Rufus Sewell plays around with his later typecasting as villains - as it's left in doubt whether John Murdock is actually a serial killer. [[spoiler: He's not and he's meant to be implanted with that persona]].
* WhatCouldHaveBeen:
** An early draft of the script would have had Dr Schreber getting skinned alive during the climax. [[spoiler: The Strangers were also going to win, making for a complete DownerEnding in the process]].
** William Hurt was initially asked to play Dr Schreber, but ended up cast as Inspector Bumstead. Dr Schreber himself was conceived as being an older man, but Alex Proyas felt that making the character younger gave him more reason to try and rebel.
** Bumstead was the main character in the early draft - which revolved around a 1940s detective who goes insane trying to solve a case where the facts do not make sense. Alex Proyas felt it was better to set it from the perspective of the guy being chased instead.