5V for Vendetta: The Letter "V" Is Hidden Everywhere
Last time, we mentioned Edgar Wright's obsession with cramming numbers into the background of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. But he certainly didn't invent the idea; the letter "V" and the number "5" ("V" being the Roman numeral for "5") are hidden in almost every frame of V for Vendetta.
You probably noticed the more blatant ones:
It's in the part that's exploding.
But some of them are subtle. For example, when we first see them, the characters Creedy and Finch are separated by a "V," foreshadowing what happens later in the film (Creedy wants to stop V, while Finch eventually decides to help V):
Also foreshadowing: One of these men is going bald.
When Natalie Portman wakes up in V's bachelor dungeon, she has a tiny cut on her head in the shape of a "V":
The character Gordon has a contraband Quran lying open on a pedestal. When books are open on a dais, they're typically flat, but not in this movie, sir:
You just got V'd in the F.
There's also a "V" prominently displayed in the hands of the clock behind the evil talk show host in every single frame of his program:
Also, he has the world's most punchable tie. Just thought we'd bring that up.
During the final fight, V throws two daggers at a time, which cross over each other in a "V" shape:
And then the daggers form five distinct "V" shapes while spinning through the air:
Because the symbolism here wasn't clear enough.
Then, Creedy fires exactly five shots at V, leaving a "V"-shaped bloodstain on the wall.
But, hey, you're perceptive. You probably caught all of that the first time you saw it. OK, so let's take it down to another level:
There's Evey's (Natalie Portman's) name: "E" is the fifth letter of the alphabet, "V" is the fifth letter if you're counting backward and "Y" is the 25th letter (five squared). Finch, who later helps V, has exactly five letters in his name. When V attacks the villain Creedy (whose name is also replete with "E"s and "Y"s), Beethoven's 5th just happens to be playing in the background.
Also? His hat brim makes a "V." And there are five "V"s on the wall behind them.
But wait, it gets even more obscure. V's favorite phrase is "By the power of truth, I, while living, have conquered the universe," which translates into Latin as "Vi veri veniversum vivus vici," or "five goddamned words that all begin with 'V'."
Finally, in what is perhaps the most mind-blowing detail of all, one of the film's major characters is actually named V.
4Shaun of the Dead: Full of Zombie Easter Eggs
Shaun of the Dead is an unapologetic homage to every zombie/horror movie and video game ever made. If you've seen it, you probably already know that there are hidden jokes throughout (for example, if you listen carefully to the news reports that play in the background, they mention things like the Rage virus from 28 Days Later and a crashed probe from Night of the Living Dead). But that's barely scratching the surface, so let's move past the obvious references and go straight for the "so impossibly obscure they shouldn't have bothered" stuff.
There are 170 Easter eggs in this frame alone.
For instance, when Shaun walks into a local shop to buy an ice cream, you can faintly hear the DJ on an Indian music station announce that the dead are coming back to life ... in Hindi.
And hey, remember the restaurant Shaun tries to book a table at, the one that you can't read the name of unless you pause it like we did? It's called Fulci's, a reference to famed Italian horror director Lucio Fulci.
It's a little known fact that Fulci was a giant sentient fish.
And Mary, the zombie in the garden that gets impaled on a pipe? If you freeze-frame at exactly the right moment, you can see from her name tag that she works at a place called Landis, which is a reference to An American Werewolf in London director John Landis.
Don't feel bad, it took us like five or six times, and you can still barely read it.
Did you ever wonder why Shaun owned so many vinyl records and had such a predilection for techno music? Well wonder no more, because if you look over Shaun's shoulder during this scene, you'll see a poster that says "Shaun Smiley Riley" on it, alluding to the fact that Shaun used to be a DJ, as well as telling you his full name, something that is never mentioned in the film itself (although it is referenced in a deleted scene).
Never referenced was Nick Frost's character's former career as Nick Frost.
Throughout the scenes where the cast is holed up in the Winchester, you can hear zombies clawing steadily at the windows. Although this easily could have been done in the sound mix in postproduction, Edgar Wright had extras stand outside and actually paw at the windows for several days, because realism.
But the ultimate act of attention to detail comes in the very first scene: When Ed and Shaun are having a drunken conversation after Shaun gets dumped by his girlfriend, Ed actually reveals the entire plot of the film:
A bloody Mary [Mary the garden zombie] first thing, a bite at the King's Head [Shaun's stepfather is bitten], couple at the Little Princess [meeting David and Diana at Liz's flat], stagger back here [pretend to be zombies] and bang ... back to the bar for shots [the final scene at the Winchester, where they shoot their way out].
Ironically, Ed was unable to see this coming.