The techniques of initiated chemical vapor deposition (iCVD) and oxidative chemical vapor deposition (oCVD) enable the fabrication of chemically well-defined thin polymeric films on complex objects with micro- and nano-scale features. By depositing polymers from the vapor phase, many wetting and solution effects are avoided, and conformal films can be created. In iCVD, a variant of hot filament CVD, the deposition rate is enhanced and chemical functionalities of the polymers' constituents are maintained by including a thermally labile initiator in the feed stream. Due to the low energy required when using an initiator, delicate substrates can be coated. In oCVD, infusible, electrically conductive films are formed directly on the substrate of interest as the oxidant and monomer are introduced into the reactor simultaneously. This Feature Article provides an overview of the work that has been done to develop iCVD and oCVD into platform technologies. Relevant background, fundamentals, and applications will be discussed.