Halloween is a great time of year to obsess over horror movies. While that can be the pathway to madness ("The Shining is Kubrick's confession to the Lincoln assassination!"), it can also yield fun results. Some scary movies are packed with spooky Easter Eggs you might not have noticed. SPOILERS for how ...
2018's Halloween served as a direct sequel to the original slasher classic, meaning that the rest of the franchise got the old "jack-o-lantern in early November" treatment. The movie featured the return of iconic characters like Michael Myers and Laurie Strode, as well as new characters like ... whoever that guy who got his head stomped on was. Halloween (not to be confused with Halloween, or that other Halloween) featured a deep cut shout-out to the first movie which you likely didn't notice.
When a father and son pull up to the site of the bus crash where Michael Myers has escaped, there's an odd song playing on the radio:
You might assume it's the director trying to throw a bone to his nephew's music career, but it's actually a reference to the 1978 Halloween. That's the same song Laurie is singing while being stalked by Michael's menacing shoulder blade.
Compass International Pictures
And here's the crazy thing: It's not even a real song. On the very first day of shooting, director John Carpenter told Jamie Lee Curtis to "just make up a song" to sing to herself. Curtis improvised what came to be known as "Close To Me." For the 2018 Halloween, director David Gordon Green hired a band to write and record a full version of the song, as if it were always a hit tune in the Halloween-verse.
It's a fun nod to the first movie -- and incidentally, way cheaper than a real song that exists outside of Jamie Lee Curtis' brain.
The recent horror-comedy Ready Or Not tells the story of a new bride being hunted by her in-laws during an ultra-serious game of hide and seek. It turns out that her new husband's great-grandfather (who made his money in the board game business) made a deal with the literal Devil. And if you think Satan isn't mixed up in the board game industry, try playing Monopoly.
We should perhaps should have clued in to these religious themes earlier, because our heroine is named "Grace," and her piety is further underscored by a scene in which she ascends from a Hell-like basement and stabs her hand with nail, an act not unlike a crucifixion. The patriarch of the family is named "Victor Le Domas," and "LE DOMAS" is an anagram for "DAMOSEL." So this hints that the "damosel," Grace, will be the victor. As for the dude who turns out to be Lucifer, his name is Mr. Le Bail.
Fox Searchlight Pictures
The movie is a pretty broad attack on the 1%, with politics being "a guiding principle" for the filmmakers, who were trying to show that "privilege and entitlement are really dangerous things." In the end, all the wealthy elitists are taken out by the curse of Mr. Le Bail. Of course, "MR LE BAIL" is an anagram of "LIBERAL." And remember the board games briefly glimpsed at the beginning of the movie?
Fox Searchlight Pictures
They too have hidden meanings that foreshadow what's about to happen. "Family Ritual" is obvious, but "Secret Council" points to what's plotting against Grace, while "Sunrise" hints at how by surviving until sunrise, she'll activate the curse.
Midsommar tells the story of a bunch of grad students who are inexplicably super hyped to vacation at a creepy Swedish commune instead of, say, Cancun, or Paris, or literally anywhere else. Their "in" is a dude named Pelle, who hooks them up with their Wicker Man by way of IKEA trip. In the end, in turns out that the people of Harga require human sacrifices in order to ... well, it's not clear.
While our protagonist Dani is crowned May Queen and spared, the rest are either burned alive or murdered and then burned. Earlier in the movie, Pelle casually mentions that his parents died in a fire. So in retrospect, we can't help but wonder if they were part of an earlier ritual.
The film begins with Dani's sister killing herself and her parents, to the shock of anyone who wandered into the wrong theater expecting Toy Story 4. Throughout the movie, Pelle is fixated on Dani, causing some to wonder if he actually murdered her family in order to set in motion the chain of events that leads to her becoming May Queen, like if Rube Goldberg was a freaky cultist. This may sound nuts, but when we first see Dani's parents, a crown of flowers (not unlike those made by the Harga) has been placed on top of a photo of Dani.
Fans also noticed images, such as Dani's dead sister's face, hidden in the trees. Like Where's Waldo, if Waldo was a grimacing corpse.
A Quiet Place tells the story of a post-apocalyptic Earth conquered by sound-sensitive alien monsters, and the few surviving humans who have to scrounge for the least flatus-inducing food. But how did these bugs overwhelm humanity when we have nuclear weapons and probably a few million cans of RAID? Since we were all waiting for John Krasinski's Lee to give knowing glances directly into the camera, a lot of us didn't notice that the movie actually explains this.
One clue lies in the fact that every time the monsters show up, the lights flicker slightly, like a gas station bathroom owned by David Fincher. At the very end, when an alien shows up in Lee's survivalist man cave, the TVs go from working to what we assume is scrambled porn.
Why? Because the aliens have electromagnetic powers. Which explains how they were able to take over. If you pause on Lee's handy exposition collage full of newspaper clippings, there are mentions of "power outages" and "magnetic pulses."
It's not just the aliens' ability to tear through the human body like it's a bag of Doritos; their electromagnetic abilities let them incapacitate the military. Why was no one able to take them down with, say, a giant hearing aid? Well, maybe we'll find out in the sequel.
Mandy is most well-known as the movie in which Nicolas Cage fights in a chainsaw duel -- which, frankly is how we imagine he settles most disputes. Cage's character, Red, battles the evil cult who murdered his girlfriend, as well as a biker gang seemingly comprised of strung-out cenobites. The cult is led by a creep named Jeremiah, who summons the bikers using the "Horn of Abraxas."
This may sound like a spooky made-up name, but it's actually a pretty loaded one. Abraxas' origins are somewhat convoluted, but he became a Gnostic god, and then later a demon in the eyes of the Catholic Church. Abraxas is also closely associated with snakes. Early in the movie, we see that Mandy is reading a book called The Seeker Of The Serpent's Eye, which could be connected to Abraxas. Or a reference to the fact that her boyfriend is the dude from the 1998 gambling drama Snake Eyes.
Abraxas was also apparently worshiped by psychologist Carl Jung, and appears in his series of Gnostic texts called The Seven Sermons To The Dead. Those texts were part of Jung's manuscript, called ... The Red Book. Yup, it shares the name of Cage's grizzled lumberjack.
Director Panos Cosmatos has stated that he wrote Mandy as a kind of "art therapy" to cope with the death of his parents. So it's possible that the Abraxas and Red references are cluing us in to how the director is going on Jungian journey, summoning visions and confronting evil spirits to explore his own psyche. This would also explain why certain characters are at times interchangeable. Like when Mandy and Jeremiah's faces blend together:
Similarly, Mandy and Red share the same shirt, because they're part of the same consciousness working through grief. That or this is all a coincidence, and they just wanted to make a badass movie that looks like prog rock album and a fog machine had a baby.
As we've mentioned before, Jordan Peele is a fan of cramming elaborate hidden messages into his work. Well, Us is no exception. So unless you're busy fending off a psychotic doppelganger, let's take a minute to try to unpack them all. For starters, there are a ton of appearances of the number 11 peppered throughout the movie. In the prologue, Young Adelaide sees a dude holding a cardboard sign with "Jeremiah 11:11" written on it. She sees it again when he's murdered in the present.
More obviously, we see 11:11 on an alarm clock, and the baseball game Gabe is watching, the score is 11-11. Less obviously, both the 1980s carny and one of the teenage twins is wearing a Black Flag shirt whose design could be read as "1111." It could also be a commentary on the commodification of punk culture, but that's a whole other conversation.
When the Wilson family's "Tethered" show up, their pose similarly evokes "1111." And those creepy rabbit cages? They're in rows of 11, presumably because whoever built this underground bunker was a big Spinal Tap fan.
Speaking of bunnies, they play a big part in the movie, but there are a whole bunch of them you probably didn't even notice. When we first see Zora, she's wearing a shirt with a rabbit on it. She later changes into a shirt with the word "Tho" -- which means rabbit in Vietnamese.
Also, Adelaide keeps a toy rabbit in the cabin, and in the flashback at the psychiatrist's office, we see her place a plastic rabbit in a line of other animals. Which also foreshadows the ending.
Come to think of it, hiding Easter eggs is itself a bunny reference. Whoa.
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