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  • Ass Pull: A number of things either comes out of nowhere or violate previous continuity, all for the sake of comedy.
    • Throughout the Skye Daily segments, Rick's silhouette can be seen with his deformities, implying he's still a hideous freak. However, at the end, the lights over him are finally fixed and he's revealed to be perfectly normal and the deformities were nothing more than some regular cacti sitting on a shelf behind him, even though all the previous scenes showed they were obviously attached to him.
    • Skye is actually Elijah after he fell into the vat of Zygrot-24. Apparently, nobody, including herself, was even aware of this until they all notice her hideous feet, an Ass Pull in and of itself.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
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    • This might be the only film to start with an example, in which a news announcement declares that "the Flying Gimp has been destroyed." The Flying Gimp is never mentioned again and has nothing to do with the plot. It's a reference to the filmmakers' previous project The Idiot Box.
    • The Macheesmo commercial. It's... just an in-universe commercial that gets played in the middle of the climax.
  • Cult Classic: After Fox dumped the film, it managed to find an audience on video for its strange humor and Body Horror.
  • Ham and Cheese: Randy Quaid is clearly having the time of his life.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Randy Quaid playing a bearded long-haired raving lunatic twenty years before becoming one in real life.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Future indie film stalwart and Academy Award nominee John Hawkes plays Cowboy.
    • Catherine Hardwicke, future director of the first Twilight film, has a bit part as a drunk party guest.
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  • Tear Jerker: The death of Sockhead.
  • Uncanny Valley: Claymation is already unsettling enough by itself; it can be downright horrifying in live action.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • The movie may have been made on a shoestring budget, but Screaming Mad George's creature effects are second to none. In a Q and A, Alex Winter mentions his dislike for CGI and is glad that the effects were done the old hand made way.
    • Also, the opening credits sequence.
    • Some really cool stop motion animation for Ernie and Julie's transformation and later when Suggs turns the EES into a big shoe.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: A lot of the references were already somewhat dated when the film premiered, and might now come across as cryptic to younger viewers.
    • Ernie and Julie fight over antiperspirant, saying, "It's strong enough for a man, but made for a woman," referencing a popular slogan for the brand Secret at the time of the film's release.
    • Skye asks what Ricky's in-flight movie was, referencing a time when airplanes would air the same movie to all passengers. In modern times, airplanes that offer media do so from personal panels, allowing each passenger to select what they watch. Topping it off, the in-flight movie is Return to the Blue Lagoon, a film from 1991.
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    • Ricky's very loud wardrobe screams early 90s.
    • Elijah emphasizes that his freak show is inaccessible by phone, which wouldn't be the case in the time of cell phones.
    • The brief Running Gag of Bob Vila popping up to dispense remodeling advice. Vila was most famous in the 1980s during his run on This Old House and continued his notoriety into the 1990s, but hasn't appeared in a TV series since 2007.
    • Ricky is stymied from escaping on a boat (on dry land) by the use of "the Club" on its steering wheel. The product achieved mainstream notoriety in the 90s due to an aggressive advertising campaign in that era, but is today all but forgotten.
    • Stuey gets his story published in the Weekly World News, a tabloid newspaper of the type that was popular before the internet became the source of choice for spurious journalism. The paper has been out of print since 2007.
    • Ricky admits that his original idea on how to escape was to grow Sea Monkeys, a novelty product that reached its heyday in the 1960s and 1970s.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • The joke about the stereotypical gay men being "too sensitive" to watch the freak show would probably not appear in a modern film.
    • The Bearded Lady's dilemma brushes pretty roughly against trans issues in a way that probably wouldn't fly in modern times. She says that she accepts and likes herself as a woman, which is a fairly progressive take for a 1993 character, but then appears happily cured and restored to masculinity in the end.
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