- Adaptation Displacement
- Complete Monster: Christian Szell. A psycho Nazi dentist who loves his torture methods, as it is shown in the infamous "Is it safe?" sequence where he tortures Babe Levy (Dustin Hoffman) with his dental instruments, digging into one of his cavities. He also has the particular skill to kill his victims with a retractable blade, making them die slowly and painfully.
- Fridge Logic: Why does Szell go to a New York diamond market in person to do business when he could send a lackey or do business by phone?
- Is it safe? Is it safe? Szell is too paranoid to do this. As Babe mentions in the film's (and I think the book's) ending, all of the trouble came because the Nazi was afraid that he would be robbed by anyone he worked with. The book has a few excerpts of his thought process, obsessing over his safety.
- ''CALL THE POLICE!!''
- What are the police going to do when the people after Babe are working for a rather shadowy branch of the government?
- Ho Yay: Henry and Janeway. (It's more explicit in the novel.)
- Memetic Mutation: Is it safe?
- Nightmare Fuel: The torture sequence. It takes every fear people have of going to the dentist and amps it up to Eleven on the nightmare dial.
- During screening, the director noticed a LOT of people leave during the drill scene... and tentatively come back.