1930 radio series and resulting franchise:
- Awesome Music: "Omphale's Spinning Wheel" by Camille-Saint-Saens. "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?"
- Fair for Its Day: While the pulps often reflected the stereotypes of its day, it was a policy of long-time editor John Nanovic to constantly chip away at these elements in the magazine's stories. The Shadow would be notable for having African-American, Jewish and Chinese-American characters who were useful and often crucial parts of The Shadow's team. Nanovic also instituted two important rules: First that outside of plot-relevant needs, the main villain had to be a White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant — "Fu-Manchu"-style villains, or other ethnic Big Bads were by and large out. One of the major exceptions to this rule was Shiwan Khan. Second, he dogged Gibson to drop the "Asian Speekee Engrish" Chinese characters, encouraging him to introduce Dr. Roy Tam (who spoke perfect English) and to soften the dialect of other Chinese characters.
- Family-Unfriendly Aesop: The radio episode "The Spider Boy." Thanks to Values Dissonance, we are told that Domestic Abuse is a minor peccadillo that can be solved simply by apologizing to the victim...but that owning an unusual pet (a large spider) that at no time harms or even threatens to harm a human being is a horrific crime deserving of a Karmic Death.
- Nightmare Fuel: As awesome as the Shadow is and as he's firmly planted on the side of right he's no nice guy and he has no qualms about harming you or even tricking you into killing yourself and if you're one of his agents, you'd best behave yourself and do as he orders...
The 1994 movie:
- Awesome Music: Jerry Goldsmith's beautiful score for the movie, especially The Shadow's theme-tune and Taylor Dayne's "Original Sin".
- Complete Monster: Shiwan Khan is a descendant of Genghis Khan, and wishes to follow in his ancestor's footsteps and try to Take Over the World. Unlike Lamont Cranston, the titular Shadow, who regrets the evil acts he has done in the past, Khan revels in his evil deeds. Khan uses his Psychic Powers to force a security guard to kill himself, forces a cabbie to crash into a gas tanker and makes a sailor jump off the Empire State Building because the sailor made fun of the way Khan dresses. Khan also forces Margo Lane, Cranston's Love Interest, to try and murder Cranston, hoping that Cranston would kill her instead and then return to his old evil ways. Khan also kills one of his Mongol warriors when Cranston was able to control him. Khan kidnaps Margo's father, a nuclear physicist, and forces him to build a crude nuclear weapon, which he plans to use to destroy New York City, so the world will bow in fear to him.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Shiwan's Narmy boasts that he's "the last descendant of Genghis Khan" became this when genetic studies confirmed that about 0.5% of the world's population are the likely descendants of Genghis or his immediate male relations. One of his present-day descendants is an actor who's built a career around playing his own ancestors on Chinese-Mongolian TV.
- Magnificent Bastard: Khan and to an extent Lamont himself.
- Narm: The Lanes are hypnotized by a ... cigarette billboard.
- Nightmare Fuel:
- Lamont's nightmare that he tears off his own face, revealing Shiwan Khan's undeneath.
- Come to think of it, Shiwan Khan in general. Any guy who can hypnotise you into killing yourself and does so for fun is pretty NF.
- The Phurba is pretty scary as well.
- Older Than They Think: This applies to the action figure line that accompanied the movie. One would believe that Dr. Mocquino, the Voodoo Master, was a toyline-specific villain, but he did, in fact appear in the pulp magazines and radio show.
- Special Effects Failure: In the establishing shot on the bridge, the Shadow's long cloak is supposed to ominously billow out behind him, but he isn't wearing one. This is because the cloak was intended to be a CG element, but there wasn't time to composite it in. Less "Special Effects Failure" and more "Special Effects Absence".
- Visual Effects of Awesome: The Shadow himself walking out of the shadow he cast against the wall after the Mongol warriors use it to pinpoint him and nail him to the wall with crossbow bolts (but only managed to pin his cape to it).