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Western Animation / Wendell & Wild

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"Everybody's got demons. My demons have names."
Wendell & Wild is a 2022 Stop Motion animated fantasy Horror Comedy film directed by Henry Selick written by Selick and Jordan Peele and based upon an unpublished book by Selick and Clay McLeod Chapman. Peele also stars in the film along with his regular collaborator Keegan-Michael Key.

Wendell and Wild (voiced by Key and Peele respectively) are a pair of scheming demon brothers who strike a deal with a troubled teenager named Kat Elliot (Lyric Ross) to escape the underworld to the Land of the Living. Along the way, the group will have to contend with a nun by the name of Sister Helley (Angela Bassett) and Klax Korp, led by Lane and Irmgard Klaxon, as Kat comes face-to-face with her past.

Also starring in the film are James Hong as Father Bests, Sam Zelaya as Raul, and Ving Rhames as Buffalo Belzar. The film was released in select theaters on October 21, 2022 before streaming on Netflix on October 28, 2022.

Previews: Kat's punk playlist 1, 2, 3, and 4, Cast announcement, motion poster, Teaser trailer, Trailer

Wendell & Wild provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents:
    • Buffalo Belzar forces Wendell and Wild to be his prisoners after they attempt to leave to start their own soul faire. He realizes what a bad parent he's been and gets better.
    • When the Klaxons see their daughter allied with the heroes, they don't hesitate to sic the bulldozers on her as well.
  • Accidental Misnaming: At one point in the movie, Siobhan accidentally refers to Raul by his deadname before apologizing profusely.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Father Bests' new 'makeover' courtesy of Wendell & Wild, bares a subtle similarity to David Lo-Pan from Big Trouble in Little China, who was also played by James Hong.
    • A project with Keegan Michael-Key and Jordan Peele where one of them plays a character named Wendell.
  • Aerith and Bob: The titular characters. Wendell's name seems even more out of place amongst his other siblings.
  • An Aesop: It's not always your fault when bad things happen, but it's your duty to try and make things better.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Wendell, Wild, and Buffalo Belzar are all purple-skinned demons.
    • Humans who are brought back to life all have unnaturally pale skin tones. The exception is the members of the Old Guard, who have been dead so long they're reduced to skeletons.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: The film opens five years prior to the present day, when an eight-year-old Kat loses her parents.
  • Almighty Janitor: Manberg, the wheelchair-using janitor at RBC, is also secretly a demon hunter who collects demons in jars.
  • Animate Dead: Wendell and Wild discover that their father's hair cream has the ability to raise the dead. Throughout the movie, the cream is used to resurrect Father Bests, the "Old Guard" of the town council, and Kat's parents. Sadly, its effects don't last.
  • Anti-Villain:
    • Wendell and Wild themselves, who are antagonists for the majority of the film, but only because they want to achieve their dream of building and running their own faire, where dead souls can actually have fun instead of being tormented like in their father's faire.
    • All Father Bests wanted was to keep his school running. While he is willing to do charitable things in exchange for funding (like accepting money from the "Break the Cycle" Program in exchange for letting Kat stay there), he's also willing to do less than morally dubious things too including working with the Klaxons (before and after they murder him) and raising the dead to override an election.
  • Artistic License – Law:
    • It's revealed that the "money" the Klaxons pay Wendell, Wild and Father Bests with is company currency that isn't worth the paper it's printed on. Siobhan admits that they also pay their employees in this instead of real money. In the US, company scrip hasn't been legal since the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 was passed, so that can be added to the Klaxon's ever-growing rap-sheet they accumulate in the film.
    • The Klaxon's villainous plot involves having Wendell and Wild resurrect the deceased "Old Guard" members of the town council so that they can finally have the votes to have the town demolished for their prison. While the film handwaves this by having one of the zombie councilmen point out that all living council members are entitled to a vote, realistically there would be questions of their status as members of the council as well as their identities. This is also turned the other way around when victims of the brewery fire are resurrected to expose the Klaxon’s murderers, with the killers’ arrests happening quickly sidestepping the roadblocks of verifying the victims’ identities and the world reaction to resurrection of the dead.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: In the third act Sister Helley helps Kat battle her inner demon, which has been growing stronger and slowly taking control of her through the mark on her left hand. Said demon is a manifestation of all the painful memories that shaped Kat into who she is today, and she is able to make peace with it.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The phrase itself is used as the Tagline in the first trailer.
  • Big Bad: Lane and Irmgard Klaxon, the heads of Klax Korp, want to demolish the town for their private prison and are willing to kill to get it done.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Kat and her allies save the town and the Klaxons are arrested for their crimes. Wendell and Wild make amends with their father and have a chance to build the Dream Faire they always wanted. However, the magic hair cream wears off and Kat has to watch her parents die for a second time, albeit this time it's more peaceful and they get to say their goodbyes.
  • Bloody Bowels of Hell: Buffalo Belzar's method of torturing souls involves eating and digesting them.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Kat and Raul are a gender-flipped, platonic example; Kat is the brooding, cynical one who has spent years in juvenile prison and Raul is gentle and supportive and has grown up with a loving parent.
  • Calling the Old Man Out:
    • While Manberg is not literally Helley's father, he was her mentor and taught her how to control her Hell Maiden powers, and she doesn't hesitate to call him out on exploiting her ability to summon demons just to entrap and collect them.
    • Wendell and Wild call Belzar out on never listening to their ideas or letting them out, which is what prompted them to run away.
  • Central Theme: Imprisoning or denying living beings their freedom for selfish reasons.
    • Buffalo Belzar has imprisoned his two sons Wendell and Wild "for life" due to their theme park idea, forced them to wear Institutional Apparel and makes them continually regrow his hair, which is framed as prison labor. They understandably chafe under his yoke and wish to leave. Only after he has a Heel Realization and agrees to respect their ideas do they decide to go home.
    • Manberg and Sister Helley are revealed to have summoned many demons, which Manberg keeps in jars. Helley eventually realized what they were doing wasn't justice, but entrapment and collecting. When Belzer reveals he lost all his other children to the human world, Manberg eventually realizes he essentially kidnapped a whole family and lets them return home with their dad.
    • The Orphanage of Fear that Kat was sent to after her parents died was run by a greedy matron who collected as many kids as she could so she could receive government money to raise them, only to severely neglect and mistreat them.
    • The Klaxtons' private prison business model involves packing as many people into their prisons as possible and providing as poor and cheap care as they can to save money. They also intentionally rig local education and judicial justice systems to keep as many people cycling back to prison as possible.
  • Christianity is Catholic: Kat goes to a Catholic school with nuns as teachers and a priest as the headmaster.
  • Claimed by the Supernatural: People like Kat and Sister Helley can be marked as a Hell Maiden by a deformation on their hand shaped like a skeletal mouth and nose. This allows them to summon demons to Earth, as well as enforce pacts they make with the demon at risk to their wellbeing. Through a risky ritual, it also allows them to master a unique supernatural power after confronting the negative memories that fuel it.
  • Creator Thumbprint:
    • Manberg is a wheelchair-using Mad Scientist, much like Dr. Finkelstein in Henry Selick's earlier film The Nightmare Before Christmas. He's far more heroic than Finkelstein though.
    • Kat and Raul are a gender-inverted Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl, with the girl being a brash, determined, spitfire with dyed hair and the boy more gentle, meek, and submissive. Much like Coraline and Wyborne. Said Brooding Girl also starts off very hostile toward and resists being friends with the Gentle Boy until they become Fire-Forged Friends. (Which was also present, to some extent, between Miss Spider and the Centipede in James and the Giant Peach).
    • Like most of Henry Selick's films, it involves a small town with lots of cloud cover, craggy hills, dead trees, and the whole community built around one gimmick. In The Nightmare Before Christmas, that gimmick was Halloween. In James and the Giant Peach, James' hometown was briefly a tourist hot spot for the said giant peach. In Coraline, the town her family moved to is very proud of its annual Shakespeare Festival. In Wendell & Wild, the Rust Bank Brewery was the heart and soul of the town until it burned down, and what's left of it resists being converted to a Klax Korp prison town.
    • In this film, Selick dusted off the concept of the afterlife looking like an Amusement Park of Doom he already showed in Monkeybone, on top of more characters with a Cubism-inspired design. Both films also have a tragic car accident kicking off the plot.
    • Like all his films, Selick averts the Jesus Taboo and has at least one character reference God by name. In fact, this film has Kat attend a Catholic all-girl's school, and doesn't hide the religious nature of such an institution. Father Level Bests even references and praises God directly a few times.
  • Deal with the Devil: Kat makes a deal with Wendell and Wild, agreeing to summon them to the living world in exchange for bringing her parents back to life. She makes another one when they get her to swear her eternal obedience, which her hellmark enforces.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Kat survived her hardships by growing tough and cynical, trusting no one but herself and believing she doesn't deserve love or friendship. Over the course of the movie she slowly thaws and accepts other people into her life.
  • Delinquents: Kat. Following her parents' deaths, she was put in the juvenile detention system for attacking a bully and spent years incarcerated before being released to Rust Bank Catholic School for Girls on a "Break the Cycle" program.
  • Dying Town: Rust Bank. The brewery fire caused a chain reaction of disaster that left most of the town deserted and bought up by Klax Korp.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Even the literal Hell demons are horrified by the Klaxtons' private prison business model, likely because they’ve been imprisoned themselves.
    • Wendell and Wild hustle Kat a few times regarding whether or not they can or will resurrect her parents, but even they are visibly disgusted by how readily Father Level Bests is willing to promise the Klaxtons they won't resurrect her parents, even though they promised and have the means to do so.
  • Evil Plan: The Klaxons intend on bulldozing the town of Rust Bank, displacing what remaining residence there are, and replacing it with a for-profit Private Prison. Using their ties to RBC, they will then use the "Break the Cycle" Program to turn RBC into a school-to-prison pipeline, securing profits at the expense of countless troubled adolescents.
  • Exact Words: Irmgard makes Siobhan promise to be at the bulldozing of Rust Bank, "all smiles". Siobhan is indeed there, and she is indeed all smiles...because she's joined Kat's side in protesting the private prison her parents want to build. She even gives them a cheery little wave whilst astride Spark Plug.
  • Fairytale Motifs:
    • The orphanage in Kat's flashback in the trailer resembles a giant boot, and is run by an old woman - as in the story of the old woman who lives in a shoe. The sign out front even indicates that it's called the Mother Goose Children's Group Home.
    • Raul depicts the Klaxtons as a two-headed dragon in his art project, and in the Bad Future that Kat sees, their planned prison resembles a giant stronghold with two blond dragons roaring from inside. Considering their established Greed, and private prison business model of packing as many prisoners in as possible so they can squeeze as much money out of them as possible, they basically resemble fairy tale dragons that guard their hoard of gold in their stronghold.
    • When Buffalo Belzer comes to the surface, he yells, "Fee, Fie, foh, fum! I smell the blood of two thieving bums!" Considering Wendell and Wild stole his magic hair cream and fled to earth, that makes them reminiscent of Jack and the Giant.
  • Fat and Skinny: As revealed in the first punk playlist, Wendell is tall and skinny while Wild is short and fat.
  • Fisher King: Kat's parents and the Rust Bank Brewery are a downplayed and justified example: The brewery was the main source of jobs and social life in Rust Bank. When her parents died and the brewery burned down with all its workers inside, most other residents fled the town to find jobs elsewhere. Klax Korp then bought up most deserted buildings and property, but since they simply want to demolish it to build a private prison, they leave most of the town a deserted and run down ghost town. Near the end, when Kat looks into the future, she sees herself and Raul rebuild the Rust Bank Brewery and bring more Break the Cycle kids into the school, which created jobs and hope for people to come back.
  • Foreshadowing: Shiobana's first interaction with Raul has her deadnaming him, than quickly correcting herself and apologizing for it correctly. It's the first sign that there actually is a decent person underneath her queen bee attitude and her upbringing.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing:
    • Shortly before being introduced to Wendell and Wild, the titular purple demons caricaturing Key & Peele, we see a purplish, two-headed worm pop out of an eight-year-old Kat's candy apple. One of the worm's heads is rounded and plump, while the other is sharper and more angular.
    • While Raul is hanging out with Kat's parents as they wait for her to come back, they have him listen to a rock song with the lyrics, "Freaking out! Freaking out!" Letting the audience know that something is about to go down. And then Father Level Bests, Wendell, and Wild show up to put their plan of "ding dong ditch, but with a twist" into play.
  • Freudian Excuse: We find out that the reason why Buffalo Belzar reacted so poorly towards Wendell and Wild's fair ideas was because all of his other children went missing under similar circumstances and he didn't want the same thing to happen to them.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Pausing while Father Bests is reviewing Kat's records reveals details such as her being 5'4" without her boots, her hair color being listed as black before being crossed out and rewritten to green, and her birthday being March 14th.
    • In the first classroom scene, Raul's notebook has a trans sticker on it, doubling as Five-Second Foreshadowing for anyone who doesn't know he's transgender yet.
    • The evidence board spread out on the Cocolotis' kitchen walls has newspaper articles and documents related to the brewery fire and Klax Korp, and sticky notes in English and Spanish about Marianne's findings for her case against the Klaxons. Some notes state that the Klaxons are barred from doing business in the UK and have off shore bank accounts, while other notes that state they were seen golfing with the defense attorney and that the fire chief had recently bought a new Porchse show their connections to various authorities.
    • The newspaper Irmgard is reading when Father Bests calls the Klaxons after his resurrection shows the council's prison vote takes place the week of February 29th.
    • In the first scene where Sisters Daley and Chinstrap are playing the accordion in the detention room, one of them has her right hand as a bird's foot instead of her usual human hand.
    • Names of the Old Guard members as shown on their graves include "Colonel" Spitz Bumstropp, Robertshaw "Bertie" Pinchpenny, and Phineas "Fin" Bredwel. They all seem to have been born in the late 1800s and have all been dead since 1952 at the very least.
  • Former Friends Photo: Raul shows Kat a picture from before his transition when he was still friends with Siobhan.
  • Friendless Background: Kat has been alone for most of her life and rejects all offers of friendship from the RBC kids because she thinks anyone close to her will die.
  • Golf Clubbing: Father Bests is murdered by the Klaxons in cold blood with a golf club.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: In the trailer at least, the car crash that kills Kat's parents isn't shown in the flashback — the camera just cuts back to present Kat before switching to the image of her parents in caskets just before the lids swing shut.
    • The scene explicitly showing Irmgard caving Father Bests' head in with a golf club cuts to their shadows.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Zigzagged; despite being a PG-13 film that uses the words "hell" and "ass", the souls Belzer torments are called the "souls of the danged" instead of the damned.
  • G-Rated Drug: When Wendell and Wild eat the magic hair cream, they act like they're high.
  • Grave Robbing: In the teaser, Wendell and Wild are shown unearthing coffins from a cemetery and messing around with the bodies.
  • Handicapped Badass: Manberg. He lost his feet, but still participates in the fight against the undead demolition crew.
  • He Knows Too Much: The Klaxons kill Father Bests after he reminds them that he vouched for them the night the brewery burned down, so they would continue funding RBC. They weren't taking any chances of the possibility of him betraying them.
  • A Hell of a Time: Wendell and Wild wish to build an amusement park called the Dream Faire with the intent for it to be "the funnest place above or below."
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Lane and Irmgard Klaxon have been trying to buy up all of Rust Bank for years so they can build a private prison. When the Elliots refused to sell their brewery, they burned it down with all the workers inside and were able to cover it up. They get their comeuppance when the dead brewery workers are brought back to life to testify against them (with the same magic hair cream they used to revive the old guard city council members to vote in favor of their prison), and are sent to prison for their crimes.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Mr. and Mrs. Klaxon prove to be far more despicable and villainous than any of the demons seen in this film.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Wendell and Wild look like exaggerated stop-motion figures of their actors (Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele).
  • Institutional Apparel:
    • Wendell and Wild are introduced wearing striped prison garb due to being "jailed" by their father for planning to run away and start their own soul fair.
    • Kat is reintroduced in grey institutional attire, having been in the juvenile prison system.
  • It's All My Fault: Kat blames herself for her parents dying, since she screamed, which distracted her dad to drive into the river. Learning to forgive herself is a huge part of her character growth.
  • Jar of the Bizarre: Manburge has collected and trapped demons in jars, which he puts them on display on the shelves of his laboratory.
  • Kick the Dog: When Kat is furious that her demons Wendell and Wild resurrected Father Bests rather than her parents, rather than explain or try to take her down, Father Level Bests smugly declares that he must be more important than them, smugly taunts her, and lies that she's holding him hostage so she'll be dragged off to detention. Really, there was no need for that.
  • Living Is More than Surviving: Part of Kat's Character Development is accepting this. Being tough is how she survived the foster system, but now that tough outer shell is stopping her from making friends.
  • Logo Joke:
    • The teaser trailer contains light purple and spectral green lines around the Netflix logo.
    • The actual film shows Kat's parents' brewery outside the window behind the Monkeypaw Productions logo.
  • Loophole Abuse: The Klaxons can't build their private prison unless the city council votes in their favor, and they've been blocked for years. Until they bribe Wendell and Wild to revive six dead city council members to outvote the five current members.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Even when they try to be scary and malicious, Wendell and Wild fail miserably. They strongarm Raul a couple of times, but but the worst they do is tie him up at one point (which he easily escapes from and lock him in a cage where he constantly gets licked in the face by Sparky). When they try to put Kat's parents back in their graves, the two laugh at their cartoon mallets and easily push them away with their legs, claiming Kat was scarier when she was three.
  • Moody Trailer Cover Song: A slow, ominous version of "How You Like Me Now" plays over the teaser trailer, complete with piano accompaniment.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The portraits of the "old guard" council members when they were alive reveal that the one in a sailing uniform resembled Osgood Fielding III.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: Manberg claims he's carrying out justice by luring and trapping demons. Helley retorts that he's really just trying to pad out his collection.
  • Numerological Motif: Many of the antagonistic forces in the film come in sets of two, or are associated with the number. The worm Kat found in her candy apple when she was eight had two heads, Wendell and Wild are the last two of Buffalo Belzer’s sons, Raul’s art project depicts a mother defending her child from a two-headed sea monster, and the Klaxons are associated with a two-headed dragon.
  • Nuns Are Spooky: Downplayed with Sister Helley. She has supernatural powers but she isn't evil.
  • Odd Name Out: Belzer's children have names like Belissa, Gnasher, Petty, Zastru, Wild...and Wendell.
  • One-Gender School: RBC is an all-girls school. The only boy in their curriculum is Raul, and he was female-presenting like the rest before coming out as trans.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: Buffalo Belzer is so huge that Wendell and Wild can live inside his nose and an entire amusement park can be held on his stomach.
  • Orphanage of Fear: Kat is shown to have spent time in a miserable orphanage in the teaser, with downcast kids and a greedy matron.
  • Personalized Pledge: As Ms. Hunter drops Kat off at Rust Bank Catholic Girls for rehabilitation, she tells her that "I'm betting my grandmother's frybread recipe on you."
  • Precision F-Strike: Wendell and Wild drop one when they threaten to undo Father Bests' revival:
    Wendell: What's to stop us from puttin' your janky ass back in the ground?
    Wild: Yeah, your janky, stanky ass.
  • Production Throwback: The ornament on the radio antennae of the Juvenile Justice van that drives Kat back into Rust Bank is Jack Skellington's headnote . The same head can be glimpsed in the end credits as well.
  • Punk Rock: Kat falls into this aesthetic - she has dyed green hair and her playlists are composed of Afro-Punk tracks.
  • Punny Name: Sister Helley. At first it seems like an ironic name for a nun, but she is also a Hell maiden like Kat.
    • "Father Bests" may be a pun on "for the best", since he does bad things in pursuit of noble goals.
  • Reflective Eyes: Used in the poster with Wendell and Wild being reflected in Kat's eyes.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: After being murdered by the Klaxons and resurrected by Wendell and Wild, Father Bests quotes the trope over the school loudspeaker, much to everyone's shock.
  • The Reveal:
    • Sister Helley and Manberg were formerly a demon-hunting duo, but went their separate ways when the former realized that the latter was only interested in collecting the demons as trophies instead of sending them back to their native realm.
    • The Klaxons were responsible for the brewery fire, deliberately causing Rust Bank to nosedive into poverty.
    • The demons that Manberg had trapped in jars are Buffalo Belzer’s missing children, thus making them Wendell and Wild’s siblings.
  • Revenant Zombie: Wendell and Wild use the magic hair cream to bring back Father Bests and The Old Guard back from the dead as these. Raul later uses it to bring Kat's parents back this way, too.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • A two-headed worm. It starts off as just an unusually deformed worm Kat finds in her candy apple when she's younger, but it goes on to represent the Klaxons and their corruption. Kat's initial vision of the future of Rust Bank depicts the worm- now a fire-breathing dragon with the same yellow hair as the Klaxons- rising from the prison they intend to build. Raul's mural depicts an ancient Mayan warrior defending their child from a giant two-headed sea monster (also with yellow hair), and when Kat shares her vision of Rust Bank's changed future with her parents, the logo of the new brewery depicts Kat's parents ripping off the heads of the worm.
    • Raul's art project involves a giant mural painted on the roofs of many houses, which will only appear when the snow melts. When Belzar comes for Wendell and Wild, he's so furious with them he seems ready to physically harm them... only for the snow to melt with the rising sun and for him to see a mural of parent protecting their child. This melts his own cold and hard exterior, as he realizes that he loves his sons under it all, and that imprisoning them was a misguided attempt to keep them from disappearing like their other siblings did before them.
  • Secondary Character Title: The movie is named after Wendell and Wild, but the main protagonist is really Kat.
  • Seers: One of Kat's powers is seeing the future and she has visions throughout the movie.
  • Survivor's Guilt: Kat struggles with blaming herself for her dad driving into the river, her inability to save them from drowning, and loathing herself for surviving when they didn't.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Wendell and Wild dress in fine top hats and vintage suits when in the cemetery.
  • Shout-Out: While driving through Kat's hometown, the young girl spots an old, ruined movie theater with the slogan: "That's All Folks"
    • The photo of one of the Old Guard when he was alive bears more than a passing resemblance to Osgood Fielding III from Some Like It Hot.
    • As befits Kat's goth-punk style, the movie is full of homages to punk (or punk-adjacent) musicians of colour. Most notably, Kat's dad is a fan of afropunk act Fishbone, while her Native American case worker, Ms. Hunter, wears a t-shirt for Link Wray, the Shawnee rock star who invented guitar distortion.
    • Manberg collecting demons by capturing them with a vacuum and putting them in jars may be a reference to Luigi's Mansion.
  • Sibling Team: Wendell and Wild are brothers who seek a way to the land of the living to open up their own amusement park.
  • Sickly Green Glow: Several characters' eyes glow green; Kat, Wendell, Wild, and Sister Helley.
  • Sinister Minister: Downplayed. Father Bests is in cahoots with the Klaxons. He vouched for them when they were accused of starting the brewery fire so they'd keep funding RBC. Unfortunately they still kill him in the first act.
  • Sincerity Mode: Wendell and Wild hustle Kat a few times (regarding whether or not they can resurrect her parents), but they genuinely like her. Every time they see her, their eyes light up and they exclaim, "Hell Maiden!" with big smiles on their faces.
  • Snow Means Death: Most of the movie takes place in winter and snow is always on the ground in outdoor scenes. There's also a lot of dying and undead characters in the movie.
    • A more specific example is Father Bests' body getting dumped in a frozen river.
    • A lot of Kat's memories of the town, brewery, and her house involve bright, warm, and golden colors and leafy trees which imply summertime, as she remembers when her parents were alive and the town was thriving. In the present, the muted colors of the cold snow, ice, and cloud cover convey how the town is emotionally dead and cold as the snow.
  • The Stinger: The post-credits scene is a cell phone video by one of the film's animators, showing that a puppet of Kat has managed to follow him home.
  • Sweet Sheep: Siobhan has a pet baby goat named Gabby, who is the movie's Ridiculously Cute Critter.
  • Take That!: Due to Jordan Peele co-writing the film, it would make sense that it includes some of his trademark social commentary with the main focus of attack being Private Prisons and the demolition of small towns to build said prisons.
  • Talking in Your Dreams: Wendell and Wild have the power to communicate with Kat while they're in the afterlife. They manage to appear in her dream as floating heads in the teaser trailer.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Irmgard Klaxon is much taller than her husband Lane.
    • Kat is also taller than Raul, who becomes her unlikely partner in crime.
  • Too Many Mouths: Hellmaidens are marked by the teddy bear Bear-zebub with an image of a skeletal mouth and nostrils on their hands. This is demonstrated with Kat and Sister Helley.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Kat wears her mother's necklace and carries around her dad's old boom box.
  • Trans Tribulations: Kat's classmate Raul is a trans boy (the only one in an all-girls school). His transition cost him his friendship with Siobhan's group. It's also implied that while his mother accepts him for who he is, some of her coworkers (some of which are elderly women) still haven't wrapped their heads around it.
  • Trapped in a Sinking Car: This is how Kat's parents died, with only Kat herself managing to escape the vehicle and be pulled to safety.
  • Villainous Gentrification: The Klaxons are a couple of private prison owners who wish to develop on Rust Bank so that, paired with the nearby school for troubled young girls, they'll have a school-to-prison pipeline set up to line their pockets. The climax involves collecting irrefutable evidence that they're the reason the town is dying in the first place just to facilitate their plans.
  • Visual Pun: Wendell and Wild scheme to build their dream faire right under Buffalo Belzer's nose... as the camera cuts to a wide shot to reveal that they literally live under his nose.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Raul used to be friends with Siobhan and the other "poodles" before transitioning to a boy.
    • Sister Helley and Manberg used to be demon-hunting partners, but Helley quit when she saw what they were doing was entrapment.
    • The ending implies that both parties have somewhat reconciled.
  • White Sheep: Siobhan, whose parents are legitimate psychopaths whereas her worst vice is ignorance that she actively works to improve.
  • Wingding Eyes: The old woman in charge of the orphanage in Kat's flashback gets dollar-sign eyes when she sees her.
  • Winged Humanoid: Wendell and Wild have tiny but functional bat wings on their backs.
  • Womb Level: Buffalo Belzar is large enough that Wendell and Wild can live in his nostrils.
  • Worm in an Apple: During the prologue, young Kat finds a strange two-headed worm in a candy apple she was eating while in the car with her parents. Her scream briefly distracts her father, leading to the car crash that kills both parents. Being able to see slightly into the future, this worm may have been a vision foretelling their deaths (they became worm food), her eventual interaction with Wendell and Wild (whom the worms vaguely resemble), and warning of the Klaxon's true nature.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Surprisingly averted. Wendell and Wild convince Kat to summon them to the land of the living by promising to revive her parents. When they discover they have the means to do so, they fully intend to keep their word. They only reluctantly plan to go back on the deal when the Klaxtons threaten to withdraw financial support for their Dream Fair. Even after they think their pet Spark Plug ate her, they're distraught, rather than relieved that they no longer have to break the news to her.


Video Example(s):


The Scream Faire

Lord Buffalo Belzer's Scream Faire. It's an Amusement Park of Doom for the souls of the damned located on his enormous belly, and befitting such a Hellish place, it's as dementedly horrifying as it is darkly humorous.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / Hell

Media sources: