FilmCow is a Florida-based animation studio headed up by Jason Steele. They are the creators of weekly shorts, both animated and infrequently live-action. Their most notable works include many animated series, including Charlie the Unicorn, Llamas with Hats, Marshmallow People, Ghost House, Shadowstone Park, Detective Heart of America and the longer animations The Cloak and Spatula Madness.
They are also behind various other many one-shots and three feature-length films: An animated film based on Spatula Madness which was never finished* ; A live-action film named Nick: The Feature Film, a mockumentary about a film director who is perhaps too obsessed with a regular man named Nick, and records an entire day in his life; and their most recent: Detective Heart of America: The Final Freedom.
Tropes that appear in their videos include:
- A God Am I: In "Cupcake Pals", one of the cupcakes climbs on top of a refrigerator and declares that now he is god.
- All There in the Manual: George's wife, with the exception of the first seconds of "The Animal", is only referred to as "woman" in the videos, but the playlist for the series reveals her name to be Angela.
- Professor Toothy's backstory is revealed in a novella the creator released on Amazon.
- Alternate Character Interpretation: "It's Aladdin!" portrays Aladdin as a deceitful Jerkass who only cares about sleeping with Jasmine.
- Likewise, "It's Super Mario" portrays Mario as a racist, murderous maniac.
- Author Appeal: Butts. As evidenced by Lizardman from Tricorn and Obama. Ghost House is a series dedicated to butts (and also ghosts.)
- Art Shift: The "It's..." series (so far including "It's Aladdin!", "It's Cake Boss!" and "It's Super Mario!") has noticeably worse art in comparison to the standard fare videos that are posted on the channel.
- Ass Shove: Chris is on the receiving end of one of these thanks to a huge sword flying from the sky, courtesy of Rob's artistic impression of the end of "Nick: The Feature Film".
- Ax-Crazy: Zach. He's killed 28 dentists and stolen their teeth.
- Bait the Dog: The brown ferret in "Ferrets" seems to be a Nice Guy, singing a happy song to cheer up his sad friend...that eventually devolves into a Villain Song about Holocaust denial, eugenics, inappropriate touching, murder and eating brains.
- Big Bad: Dad Cop 2 has Mister Kill/The Chief of Police.
- Big Eater: Star Catfish from "Charlie the Yannicorn", who is constantly hungry and thinking about food. Ends up being a Chekhov's Gun when he ends up saving the day by eating the ghost king.
- Black Comedy: A lot of the site's humor involves things that are normally played for utter horror by other people.
- Black Comedy Rape: "Bino The Elephant." He's crawling up my urethra!
- Blatant Lies:
- At the beginning of "Chris Draws a Cartoon", Jason says that he wrote something that wasn't too difficult for Chris (who has never drawn before) to handle. Cue the characters describing the highly detailed Scenery Porn around them, forcing Chris to work very hard on just about every scene.
- Wizard Horse is not using Google glasses to take pictures of you without pants on... Ok, glass, zoom in...
- "I am Zulway, God of Mercy. You have broken one of Zulway's twelve tenets of mercy, prepare for merciless destruction."
- Zulo's reaction to Grimace's story about Joe Biden is "This is great. I'm...glad to be hearing all of this."
- Bolt of Divine Retribution: Cupcake Jesus in "Cupcake Pals". He is totally fine with the three cupcakes being atheists, but when they keep rubbing it in his face he puts one of them in the blender.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: "Ferrets" is a gradual example of this, as Harold slowly realizes how unhinged his friend is during the latter's List Song.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer:
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Why should Doctor Fabulous remember who Zorg is? He battles a thousand alien scumbags every week!
- Cartoonland Time: Taken to ridiculous lengths in the "Ghost House" series. In 2, Beth gets pregnant with the protagonist's children, and then gives birth to them the next day. By Day 29, the protagonist is apparently a grandfather.
- Cats Are Snarkers: In the "Cat Monarchy" game, the two advisers and the true king whom you act as regent for are full of this.
- Catchphrase: The "Ghost House" videos have the narrator make some revelation about the situation he's in and say "Oh shiiiiit!..."
- Chekhov's Gun: In the feature film 'Detective Heart of America: The Final Freedom', the character Chess Mate states that he has organised a suitcase full of acid to fall exactly where Heart of America is standing. However, the suitcase is timed to drop tomorrow, and Heart of America gets hit by a car before it drops. Later on in the film, Heart of America and Glorslax are trying to drive away from an alien approaching their car. Just when it's about to reach the car, the suitcase (with Chess Mate inside) falls on top of the alien, killing it.
- Cloud Cuckoo Land: The skits tend to be in places where.......things happen. Like going to Candy Mountain and having your kidneys stolen. Or having a sentient, communist hating, Cloak and a disembodied, singing, head and spine talk about the sweet milk from the breasts of Freedom. Save for a select, completely frazzled few, virtually everyone in the skits are crazy to some extent.
- Creator Thumbprint: Horses and other ungulates are an extremely common topic in his videos.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: Amongst his insane and downright creepy outbursts, Dennis from The Magical Realm of Horseman says a few very insightful things.Dennis: (In response to one of Horseman's egotistical rants) One day, the universe will collapse into entropy and even Shakespeare and Coca-Cola won't be remembered. So what chance do you have?
Horseman: Oh for God's sake, Dennis, stop Holocausting my party.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Nick could have been this in Nick: The Feature Film, but Rob plays into this trope much more. That is, until Chris shows up and blows him out of the water in regards to craziness, and Chris ends up being the resident Cuckoolander.
- Cluster F-Bomb: The entirety of "OMG CRACKLIN' OAT BRAN"
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: In "It's Super Mario!", Toad points out the racism in Mario's rather poor imitation of an Italian, comparing it to "putting on a bad Chinese accent and yelling 'fried rice' a bunch." Then...Mario: Mario can do Chinese!
Toad: No, no, please don't -
(Mario turns into a more "Chinese" version of himself)
Chinese!Mario: It's-a-me, Mari-roh!
Toad: God, no...
- Didn't Think This Through: In "A Serious Business Meeting", Johnson breaks into song about how Tom's advertising proposal is "totally gay". Johnson is promptly fired.
- Disproportionate Retribution:
- Zulway, God of Mercy's judgements always involve mercilessly exploding the perpetrator, no matter the offense. Such offenses include disagreeing with Zulway on which ice cream flavor is best.
- Detective Mittens murders the proprietor of Joe's Italian and frames him for a serial killing spree, because he sent Mittens the wrong take-out order twice in a row.
- Downer Ending: The end credits of Detective Heart of America: The Final Freedom confirms that the Bad Future was not prevented.
- Evolving Credits: "Detective Heart of America".Credits: (Episode 1): Detective Heart of America, he saved the day! Took out his fuckin' gun and blew Pinocchio away! AMERICA!
Credits: (Episode 2): Detective Heart of America, he saved the day! Took out a big ol' boot and beat that baby in the face! He's going to jail!
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin:
- Hit It With A Car, where Chris Alex hits everyday objects with a Cadillac Eldorado.
- Seven Weeks of Cat Monarchy. The Monarch of the Cat Kingdom has taken a sabbatical from his duties, and you have seven weeks to rule the Kingdom in his place.
- Extreme Doormat: Angela always cancels her plans and apologizes for it whenever Horse Man plans his own parties.
- Fantastic Racism: In "Stanley and the Pineapple", the pineapple and the orange are this.Cucumber: "I have to go to heaven now. See y'all!" *dies*Pineapple: "He's not going to heaven."Orange: "Cucumbers have wicked souls."
- Likewise in "The Lonliest Platypus", Madam Horsington states that alligators are "dangerous and shifty" and that she would never hire one.
- For Science!: Dr. Z's reason for doing just about anything in "Bino the Elephant".
- Gainax Ending:
- "Marshmallow People 2".
- "Marshmallow People 3" even more so...
- Every episode of Dark Midnight.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: One of the puppet creatures when he finds out that Biscoff Spread is made of cookies.
- Happy Ending: Spatula Madness
- Mystery of the Missing Emerald Necklace, aside from being the only part of the Westington Manor trilogy where the elephant detective does not die, ends with the mystery being solved and the culprit finally being caught and arrested, albeit in the most anticlimatic way imaginable.
- The Hedonist: Both of the Marshmallow People. Becomes a plot point in the second video when they realize that nothing they do fulfills them, and they try to make up for everything they've done.
- House Rules: Chris's version of Monopoly in Nick: The Feature Film appears to be entirely made up of these.
- Hollywood Atheist: The cupcake pals.
- I Am Not Shazam: Subverted in Dad Cop 2. The protagonist's name is Dad Cop 2.
- I Ate WHAT?!: "The Walrus Song".Tim: I've been feeding you walrus meat.
Mister Walrus: What?!
Tim: That glop I feed you every morning is walrus meat. You're a cannibal.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode of The Ghost House (besides the first one) is named after a movie sequel subtitle, such as Reloaded, Return of Jafar and Into Darkness.
- Informed Attribute: Pretty much everything that Angela fears about the animal/dinosaur/alien/robber. No matter what she says about it, from what we see it's pretty much just standing/floating there doing nothing but meowing occasionally.
- Innocent Innuendo: The late night visitors in "Socksual Innuendos" insist that their double entendres are unintentional, but the protagonist is not convinced.
- It Amused Me: The reason why the pink and blue unicorns did what they did to Charlie.
- Jerkass: There are several, though whether they're aware is another matter.
- Karmic Twist Ending: Nick: The Feature Film features one: Robert can't bring himself to allow Chris to end up as the hero of the film, so he gives his "artistic rendition" of what happened as the film's ending, and ends up putting Chris through the most insufferable pain possible.
- Kick the Dog: "Mr. Happy Face" is just a scene about a happy face murdering a child's dog and later the child itself. The YouTube description points out that everybody seems to be upset about the dog being stabbed to death and forget the kid completely.
- Lame Pun Reaction: Yannicorn groans when Star Catfish, having been told that there's nowhere around to get a pot pie, says that he feels like he's going to pot cry.
- Mad Libs Catchphrase: Horse Man thinks that this is the 9/11 of tropes. One commenter even took this to its literal extreme by saying "9/11 was the 9/11 of terrorist attacks."
- Mood Whiplash: "OMG BISCOFF SPREAD" begins as what seems like an advertisement for the spread, but quickly devolves into a nightmarish descent into madness over said foodstuff's contents.
- The Movie: "Detective Heart of America: The Final Freedom", a full length film based on the two DHOA shorts.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Zulway, God of Mercy self destructs when he realises just how unmerciful he himself is.
- My Rules Are Not Your Rules: The rules to Chris's game of Monopoly in Nick: The Feature Film appear to be this. He ends up giving Robert the two worst properties in the game and a grand total of three dollars.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Hit It With A Car. Chris Alex rams a shiny yellow Cadillac Eldorado into everyday objects, and he cannot be more excited. Contrasting this is Nick Alex, who looks at things more objectively.
- Narrating the Obvious: The random cop from "The Cloak" stating that he's a cop and upholds a variety of laws and edicts.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The Device from the "Dark Midnight" episode of the same name reveals that the reason Rebecca killed Tim was because she found out he was secretly an alien and also a ghost. slightly deconstructed when she questions a couple Plot Holes the reveal of the latter brings up.
- Not Me This Time: After weeks of Relno the Storykeeper telling (true) stories in which the shadowy hand of the C.I.A. is behind events, he stresses that "The Hand That Guides the Butcher" is not about the C.I.A. ...It's about the C.I.C., and later the C.I.A.
- One Steve Limit: Averted. There are two characters named Angela. The girl from The Magical Realm of Horse Man and "woman", George's wife (see All There in the Manual).
- Orifice Invasion: To Bino The Elephant. Courtesy of a sentient flower. In Hell.
- Our Demons Are Different:
- A talking flower that takes pictures of monkey penises and climbs up people's urethras while singing.
- A man wearing a black hat and a black coat who sings about the specials at Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Little Caesars.
- Overly Long Gag: The Mystery of series, where every episode involves waiting for a chandelier to fall. It does in the second episode, on George Zimmerman's head.
- Palette Swap: The ferrets in "Ferrets" have the same design except for their color and the markings around their eyes.
- Parody Commercial: The OMG CRACKLIN' OAT BRAN and OMG BISCOFF SPREAD are these. Fannie and Earl begins as a usual skit but suddenly turns into a commercial for Pizza Hut by a singing "spook".
- Pastiche: Many of the live action videos...
- Politically Incorrect Villain: In "Ferrets", the brown ferret sings to the grey ferret (Harold) about things that make him happy. In this song the brown ferret reveals that he thinks the Holocaust was a lie and that he supports Eugenics.
- Precision F-Strike: In the final scene of Professor Toothy.Man: *holding a bag of sugar* Boy, I could sure go for some Skittles or a whole bucket of Froyo or some shit!
- Possibly the first they ever did is at the end of Detective Mittens. Early cartoons in general had little to no harsh language.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: From Dad Cop 2:Chief: You're off the case!
Dad Cop 2: Oh yeah? Well you're...
Dad Cop 2: Off the face!
Mister Kill: That's right, Dad Cop 2. It's now time for you... To Dad.. Cop... DIE!
- Also attempted by Mister Kill/The Chief of Police in the end of the same video:
- Random Events Plot: Ghost House, as summarized by a YouTube commenter. This was during episode 8, so it's only gotten weirder since then.Higbey The Demon: "For anyone wondering, he was apparently convinced he was a ghost, got in a relationship with a ghost, had three ghost kids, one of which married a ghost horse and produced a half horse half human ghost grandson, and his ghost girlfriend left him and he discovered he was not a ghost after all, got a butt transmitted disease, survived it, then his half ghost horse half human-ghost grandson pranked him into thinking he was in a ghost crackerbarrel and never served him food, then there was a lot of ghost murders by a serial killer, and everyone was okay because ghosts just come back after dying, but one day everyone was upset, and we learn it was because it was him, the human, that had been stabbed, so his death would actually have a meaningful impact, he is rushed to the hospital, and the events in this hospital take place.The location of the ghost house, the identity of the man, and the identity of the murderer are still undetermined."
- Retired Monster: In "A Murder has Occurred", the detective investigating the murder casually remarks that he was once in prison for war crimes.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After the fraternity of fruit members loses half its members to a sniper, they become a fraternity of fruit revenge. The next scene shows the leader Garry (an apple) with a scar across his eye, a hook for a hand, and another scar on his cheek. We don't see the actual roaring rampage but we are told that they made their way from the mountains of India to an abandoned warehouse in Equator, and as Garry says "the trail stops here" that somewhat implies a roaring rampage.
- Scenery Porn: Chris is forced to do this several times in "Chris Draws a Cartoon". Eventually he gets fed up with it.
- Scream Discretion Shot: In "Bino the Elephant", when the flower from hell is crawling up Bino's urethra. We instead see Dr. Z listening to Bino's screams via their communicators.
- The Secret of Long Pork Pies: In "The Walrus Song", the singer reveals that he has been feeding the walrus the meat of other walruses, and rubs it in her face for the rest of the song.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: At the end of The Mystery of the Missing Emerald Necklace, the Detective's monologue on how much investigating it took to reach Westington manor is interrupted by the thief showing up and confessing to the crime. The rest of the episode is the two of them awkwardly standing around waiting for the police to arrive.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Bino the Elephant's title theme, aside from being ridiculously catchy for a song that plays over a video of an elephant being dropped into hell, features a sound clip of children cheering at three moments which coincide with when Bino gets trapped in hell, Bino catching fire, and Bino being impaled on spikes.
- Stealth Parody: Hit It With A Car is a stealth Affectionate Parody of the destruction genre of YouTube videos such as Will It Blend? and Is It a Good Idea to Microwave This? They even featured Blendtec blenders in one episode. Of course people don't get the joke and often request crazy things for them to hit with a car including another car.
- Stop Helping Me!: In "Professor Toothy", an office worker is constantly harassed by a talking tooth named Professor Toothy who randomly shows up to give him dental advice and force-feed him lamb chops. The fourth time Professor Toothy shows up, the man attacks him with a bag of sugar.
- Stylistic Suck:
- The charlie teh unicron series when compared to Charlie the Unicorn.
- "Wizard of the West" is another example.
- Subverted Kids' Show: Sort of. Any cartoon that starts off innocent and especially when it starts off sweet is guaranteed to become totally horrifying toward the middle. The shorts that start off bizarre maintain a subtle creepiness (such as "In This Box").
- Surreal Humor: Oh, very.
- Take That!:
Protagonist: I can't be a ghost dad! I hate that movie and Bill Cosby is a rapist!
- Steele made an entire cartoon attacking Chris Brown; it even used some of the man's own words against him.
- People expected his John McCain cartoon to be this, but it turned out to just be a nonsensical, surreal cartoon that happened to star the politician. In the Filmcow DVD commentary, Jason Steele even emphasized that the cartoon wasn't supposed to have any political agenda or message; he just liked how McCain always said "my friends" and thought it would be funny to base a cartoon off of that quirk.
- charlie teh unicron a rather crudely drawn and animated Charlie the Unicorn pastiche, was most likely aimed at people who kept requesting new episodes of the latter.
- The Mystery of the Missing Silver Pendant is one against George Zimmerman.
- ''Ghost Dad 2: The Reckoning" has a short one at Bill Cosby.
Protagonist: You're Not a Religion you're a Pyramid Scheme!
- "Spatula Madness" has an entire song ripping on France. The protagonist of the movie, Edward, even says "I'm sure France would be nice if they killed off all the French".
- Spatula Madness also has one against Scientology. At one point he has to fight off a group of well dedicated Scientologists.
- The "Marshmallow People" cartoons are one towards people who bitch about being bored online.
- Merlin the Wizard Fish Reacts to the Fine Bros was, as one might guess, a rather vicious attack on the Fine Bros. for their attempt to copyright reaction videos, pointing out the hypocrisy of them copyrighting their video format when they have used content from other channels (including Film Cow's) without permission in their own videos.
- Professor Toothy seems to be a parody of every annoying character from every educational children's cartoon ever. He gets his face burned off when the man he's been harassing dumps a bag of sugar on him.
- Talking Animal: A great number of the cartoons.
- Telefrag: Bino accidentally kills Dr. Z's wife this way. But it's okay. He has more.
- Tempting Fate: Done intentionally by the guy being bothered in "Professor Toothy" in order to get Professor Toothy to show up so that he can attack him.
- The Genie Knows Jack Nicholson: "It's Aladdin!" parodies this, the genie only knows how to do impersonations of celebrities who won't exist for another thousand years.
- Tomato in the Mirror: Parodied in the "Ghost House" series. The twist at the end of 1 is that he's been dead all along and is one of the ghosts, and the twist in 6 is that he's not. He's been deluding himself the whole time into thinking he was, when actually he was in a Cracker Barrel.
- Trademark Favorite Food:
- George in "The Animal", "Jurassic Park 5", "Prometheus 2", and "The Robber" is making eggs at the start of each episode. Naturally, he never gets to eat them.
- Professor Toothy doesn't eat lamb chops himself...but he loves to make other people eat them.
- Trigger Happy:
- George Zimmerman in "The Mystery of the Missing Silver Pendant".
- The eponymous character from Dad Cop 2. He even ends up shooting the Chief of Police.
- Twist Ending: Played for Laughs as a Running Gag with the ending of every episode of "Ghost House", always accompanied by an "Oh shiiiiiit!...":
- 1: The protagonist of the series is, himself, a ghost.
- 2: Beth's ghost babies are the protagonist's children.
- 3: The protagonist isn't a ghost and never was.
- 4: The protagonist gets infected with Zach's BTD.
- 5: The "ghost house" is not, and never was, a ghost house - it's actually a Cracker Barrel restaurant.
- 6: The head chef at the Cracker Barrel is the protagonist's half-horse grandson.
- 7: The protagonist has been stabbed by the ghost murderer, and needs to be hospitalized.
- 8: His penis has been replaced with an ugly bird head.
- 9: The ugly bird head that replaced his penis has subsumed his body, turning him into his own genitals.
- 10: He manages to wrench his head free from the sexy anthropomorphic bird's crotch and becomes a beautiful butterfly.
- Unusual Euphemism: Doctor Fabulous gives us "Oh sweet fancy Moses, what is that?!"
- Horse Man refers to things he dislikes as "The 9/11 of _______," and calls out his friend Denis for "9/11-ing up the mood" by making his party awkward.
- The 'Verse: Fannie and Earl takes place in the same universe as Detective Heart of America, as shown in The Final Freedom.
- Villain Song: Make Me Smile from "Ferrets"
- Virtual YouTuber: Vulo the Face Borrower is a parody of these. She is a strange walrus / seal like monster with the face of Cat Girl (who is now a coma without her face).
- Visual Pun: The Mystery of the the Missing Emerald Necklace has the culprit immediately surrendering to the elephant detective, and then they just stand there silently and awkwardly as they wait for the police to arrive. The obvious question would be why the culprit would steal all those treasures and then give up, but it's not mentioned because they're not talking about the elephant in the room.
- Warm-Hearted Walrus: "The Walrus Song" features a cute little walrus wearing a bow. The poor thing is traumatized when her owner suddenly reveals that he's been feeding her walrus meat.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Professor Toothy naturally gets horribly burned by sugar.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Big Bad of Spatula Madness.
- Wham Line:
- "Cupcake Pals":Cupcake: HELP ME, JESUS PUT ME IN THE FUCKING BLENDER!
- "The Walrus Song":Tim: I've been feeding you walrus meat.
- "OMG BISCOFF SPREAD" has one that isn't really that shocking, but is treated as such by the puppets:Puppet 2 (describing the foodstuff) It's made out of fucking cookies!
- "Ferrets" has a Wham Lyric:Ferret: Everybody knows the holocaust was a lie, so let's sing about the things we like and don't be shy...!
Harold: Wait, what was that about the holocaust?
- "Obama's Terrible Secret":John: I know your favourite Pokémon is... Mr. Mime!
- "Nick: The Feature Film", just when things are starting to look up for Chris:Rob: Chris smiled the biggest smile of his life, a face made from pure sparkling bliss. And then a huge sword came flying out of nowhere and plunged right up his ass.
- "It's Cake Boss"Buddy: My wife's birthday's coming up. I'd thought I'd surprise her with something special. A CAKE! It's her favorite flavor too! In fact it's the same cake I've surprised her with for every birthday and anniversary since we've been together. One year she said she didn't want anymore cakes, so I locked her in the cellar for a while.
- "Cupcake Pals":
- Whodunnit to Me?: In the short story "Well, I Was Murdered in a Lake Again" the protagonist has this happen to her twice, each time returning to life because she killed the Psychopomp that came for her.
- Word-Salad Horror: Jason's monologues in the "Month Of..." videos have been rapidly descending into this, whether by design or...something else. Even his speech trying to tell his audience that he's "okay" still comes off as very unnerving.
- Yandere: Robot Ice Cream Sandwich is this to Derrick in "In This Box."
- You Bastard!: Merlin, the Wizard Fish lapses into this a lot, musing about how ungrateful and insignificant the audience is.