Things you missed in it

Fans of the new IT film have not been shy about sharing their love for the terrifying take on the Stephen King classic. Raking in upwards of $500 million, IT has become the box office’s highest grossing R-rated scary movie ever — when not adjusted for inflation — beating out The Sixth Sense and The Exorcist, according to Forbes.

While a few interesting Easter eggs based on the original novel have made their way to the screen — including the abandoned house on Neibolt Street and Bill’s trusty Schwinn bicycle, Silver — there are a few slightly more terrifying things you might have missed while watching the hit horror movie. So here are nine hidden meanings and moments in IT that might make you fear more than just getting pulled into the sewers.

1. It’s Hands Turn Into Werewolf Claws

Warner Bros. Productions

Pennywise the Dancing Clown is only one of It’s many forms throughout the movie. From Georgie to Beverly’s dad to the terrifying flute woman, It takes on children’s greatest fears. In the novel and the 1990 miniseries, Richie’s biggest fear is the werewolf from I Was a Teenage Werewolf. While Pennywise doesn’t turn into a full-blown werewolf in this adaptation of the story, he does attack the Losers with a creepy werewolf claw after Bev stabs him in the face. This Easter egg, as pointed out by YouTuber CZsWorld, is a fun nod to the original that also shows Pennywise feeding off of the kids’ unspoken fears, demonstrating how powerful he really is.

2. It Has Put the Adults in Derry Under a Spell

Warner Bros. Productions

Probably one of the freakiest scenes in the novel and most subtly creepy in the film, is when Henry Bowers and his gang are attacking Ben alongside the road and a couple drives by without saying a word. The glazed look in their eyes and nonchalance at witnessing a little boy have a knife carve into his stomach is hauntingly unsettling and hints at the fact that the people of Derry are under some sort of spell. This can also be seen in the adults’ behavior in the original film. Whether this is something caused by It or not, the adults in Derry seem to purposefully remain completely oblivious to any kind of danger or negativity that would make their quiet little town anything other than safe. Pretty spooky when you think about it.

3. It Was Watching Ben in the Library

Even if you noticed the other two freaky moments when you were watching the film, this one was a little easier to miss. According to Twitter user @WH_Woolhat, something isn’t right about the frame of Ben researching in the library. While Ben is in the library reading about the Easter egg explosion in Derry, someone seemingly harmless lurks in the background. The librarian who gave Ben the book he is reading seems to be watching him intently as the pages flip on their own, eventually revealing a photo of a little boy’s decapitated head sitting in a tree. When the frames change, the librarian is on the opposite side of the room, suggesting that the woman standing behind Ben while he was reading might have really been It in disguise all along.

4. The Headless Boy Was From the Ironworks Fire

Warner Bros. Productions

Poor Ben doesn’t get off the hook easily after seeing the decapitated head of one of the boys who died in the Easter egg explosion, according to YouTuber CZsWorld. Ben follows the balloon in the library down to the archives section, where he comes across the body of possibly the same headless boy from the photo. It, in the form of the headless corpse, chases after Ben, making his fear from the book he was reading into a reality.

5. Mike’s Vision Might Have an Even Darker Meaning

Warner Bros. Productions

The Black Spot was a nightclub in Derry that black soldiers from a nearby Army base would often frequent decades before the film took place. The club was ultimately burnt down by a white supremacist group and left few survivors. As YouTuber CZsWorld points out, this is likely a nod to the original story’s inclusion of prevalent racism in Derry, which fuels Henry Bowers’ hatred for Mike. In this version of the story, Mike’s dad, who was inside the club at the time of the fire, managed to survive. But both of Mike’s parents did end up dying in a fire later on, possibly leaving him fearful of what could happen to him and making the vision he saw of the burnt hands coming out of the door much darker.

6. It is More Flexible Than You Realized

With so much going on in the scene at the Neibolt house, all of It’s creepy tricks might have been a lot to take in. One thing you might have missed — and one thing I noticed — was when It was crawling out of the refrigerator to attack a wounded Eddie was the way he twisted out of the box. The creepy clown’s arms and legs dislocated and spun around to bring him to a standing position in a way that would make even the most talented circus performer jealous. But just when you thought he was done unraveling himself, It twists himself 360 degrees while his head stays perfectly still, making him 10 times scarier than before.

7. Eddie’s Fears Catch Up with Him in the Chase Scene

After his father died from cancer, as mentioned in the book, Eddie’s mother becomes very overprotective of him and insists that anything he does will make him sick. Eddie grows up believing that he is very ill even though his only real symptom is his asthma. As YouTuber Hybrid Network explains, Eddie’s intense fear of becoming sick manifests itself in the form of the man with leprosy, who hands him one of his pills when he spills them in the road in front of the Neibolt house. While he may just look like some kind of zombie at first glance, the man is actually a physical representation of what Eddie fears most.

8. Bev’s Eyes Turn White

Warner Bros. Productions

During the scene in It’s lair with the bodies floating in the air like horses around a carousel, Bev seems to be doing more than just floating. YouTuber CZsWorld points out that her eyes have lost their natural color and turned completely white, suggesting that she isn’t herself and possibly that It is controlling her. Bev is ultimately awakened from the spell she’s under when Ben kisses her, proving that she was in some sort of hypnotic trance.

9. It’s Eyes Don’t Reflect in the Water

As YouTuber CZsWorld points out, the original trailer for the new IT shows It in Bill’s flooded basement. As creepy as the clown’s face already looks in this scene, it’s even more terrifying when you realize that his glowing eyes are not reflected in the water, making you wonder what IT really is and why he has this ability. While this seems to be an editing error that was fixed when the official film trailer was released, the lack of a reflection only adds to It’s overall creepiness.

10. The Mural in the Alley Has Pennywise on It

Warner Bros.

In the scene where Ben and the rest of the Losers are outside the drugstore, there just so happens to be a super creepy mural in the background. On it, you can see Pennywise lurking next to Stanley’s head. As if this movie didn’t have enough horrifying clowns already!

Pennywise is haunting Hollywood through September. All images: io9

Hollywood and Vine is one of the most famous intersections in the world. It’s a place packed with crazy Los Angeles characters, but even Hollywood and Vine doesn’t feel ready for Pennywise. From now until September 10, the corner sports a terrifying addition: the Neibolt Street house from It.

Based on the popular novel by Stephen King, a new adaptation of It opens on September 8. It’s about a group of young kids from Derry, Maine who begin to uncover a horrible evil that lives in their town. An evil that can take many forms, but is most famously a clown named Pennywise. In the book, an early encounter with It is at an old, abandoned house on Neibolt Street. Later, the kids visit the super creepy house and discover it’s kind of a home base for the creature.

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So, to help promote the movie, Warner Bros. has completely taken over a lot on the corner of Hollywood and Vine in Los Angeles and made a life size replica of the house, complete with actors, props, and more. Small groups walk through the house together, which is filled with gross, creepy details. I took the tour this past weekend and even as we approached it, there was an almost supernatural feeling.

Here’s the house from across the street.

As we got closer, we could even see the street sign:

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It really does take over the area and is packed with details:

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Once my group got to the front of the house, we were greeted by Georgie, one of the crucial characters in It, complete with yellow raincoat and red balloon. In fact, there are Georgies all over the outsides of the house, which is unsettling on its own. As we walked in, Georgie explained what’s going to happen and we immediately began to hear very uncomfortable, very loud cackling from all around. We hadn’t even seen anything yet, and it was already kind of scary.

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Up a spiral staircase we went, down a hallway and into the first room. Now, I’m not going to spoil every single thing, but I will post a few photos to give you an idea. The most interesting thing about all the rooms along the 20-minute-or-so tour is that, in most cases, the scares don’t come to you. You discover the scares yourself. We were encouraged to walk around and explore each room, looking at all the creepy old toys, games, pieces of paper and more until someone eventually triggered a scare or two in the room. That could be an actor jumping out from a corner, a mechanical contraption or a video monitor. You just never know.

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For example, right off the bat, the first room is filled with clowns:

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Really creepy clowns.

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The clowns are all stationary, so we walked around with a very strong sense of foreboding. And yes, the clown posse includes Pennywise from the It mini-series, which we saw in the most recent trailer.

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Let’s just say one of the clown stopped being stationary, many screams were had, and we walked into the next room. Immediately, you sense this is a kind of a media room with all kinds of cool, interesting things laying about such these old school horror magazines and comics (nice DC tie in, Warner Bros.).

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Or this map of the Derry sewers, which are also very important to the story.

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This was probably my favorite room in the place because there’s so much to look at. For example, I walked up to a TV that had some ominous static playing on it. But as I approached, a video came on. I caught this one frame.

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Yeaaaaah. But that’s not all. Much like in the film’s trailer, a slide projection then clicks on. It starts super nice. Family vacation photos and stuff. Everyone stood around waiting for something bad to happen, and it did.

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Oh, but that’s not it. The side wall then gets its own, full-on projected video. The new, movie Pennywise, has officially began to take over.

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The third room we walked into is a nursery…except all the toys are dusted over and the crib is broken on the floor. Oh, and you can’t miss the these three doors.

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Georgie told us not to open the doors until he said, so we didn’t. I would have rather jumped out a window. Instead, we walk around the room and realized the whole room is covered in decor like this.

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So that’s pretty messed up. Something else happens too, which I will admit got me to jump. And once that was over, Georgie chose someone to open the first door. I don’t want to spoil them all but I will tease by saying this is behind the one labeled “Not Scary at All”:

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At this point, the imagery seemed to get even more gruesome and we knew that were were building up to the big finale. But how could something top this?

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Or the downright disturbing look of this?

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Then, finally, we reached It’s trademark sewers below Neibolt Street. There are two, both dark. Then the one on the right starts to blink and smoke and out comes Pennywise.

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Those photos don’t really do Pennywise justice. He moves, talks, and the lighting really makes for a great effect. There’s one more little thing and out the door we went, back to the streets of Hollywood.

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Aesthetically, the Neibolt House is astonishing. Crowds lined the fences around the corner to take photos of the exterior. And once you enter the lot, the attention to detail both outside and in is incredible. You almost believe this is a real house that just happens to exist in the area.

As for an authentic, scary experience, it’s a bit more mixed. As evidenced above, there are plenty of unsettling images and a jump scares and almost all of it is interesting and fun to look at. But, depending on your level of courage, nothing is too over-the-top. Kids who frequent Halloween haunts like this probably won’t get the same thing out of it as someone who is scared of clowns or a fan of King’s work. But the production value throughout is really impressive and, considering the experience is free, it’s certainly more than worth checking out.

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Find out more information about Neibolt House . It opens September 8.

In Cary Fukunaga and Chase Palmer’s original drafts for last year’s screen adaptation of Stephen King’s IT, the history of Derry was explored via a series of flashbacks. Unlike the ’90 ABC mini-series – which brushed over both the Maine hamlet’s past, as well as Pennywise’s ability to control minds – Palmer and Fukunaga were fascinated by the ancient evil’s psychic abilities, which resulted in the 1960 fire at The Black Spot, as well as the 1879 slaughter at lumberjack bar “The Silver Dollar”.

The Black Spot Massacre was the most egregious omission from the finished film, as it completely altered Mike Hanlon’s (Chosen Jacobs as a juvenile; Isaiah Mustafa as an adult) back-story (who lost his parents to a fire). Furthermore, the mythology’s excision actually lessened the narrative by narrowing the scope of IT: Chapter One. In the book, Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) isn’t merely the demonic devourer of children he’s reduced to in Muschietti’s movie. He’s an infectious evil, injecting hate into the hearts of Derry’s residents throughout the ages.

For King, IT was a saga far broader in thematic reach than its central characters, as beneath all the haunted house histrionics, there’s a rather tragic American subtext. Derry, Maine could be any town in the US – filled with racial and class divides, plus a legacy that’s passed down from one generation to the next. This barstool historian play on horror strengthens the idea that the places we grow up in mold our minds before trailing us into our adult years (which is what Chapter Two will center on for the Losers Club). Hometowns are spaces we wish to flee from when we’re children, and King literalized that notion by making Derry a lethal prison that the Losers thought they escaped, only to return 30 years later to find the town has morally rotted away in their absence.

The greatest racial chasm appeared in the form of the Black Spot fire, where Derry’s iteration of the Ku Klux Klan (The Maine Legion of Decency) burned the African-American club down while being controlled like puppets by Pennywise. In Fukunaga and Palmer’s draft, Mike’s father Leroy (William in the book) relays what he witnessed that night in 1960. “I saw what was really responsible for that fire, Mikey” Leroy says. “Not the Legion. See those white boys, they were there, but there was something else, orchestrating ‘em. Had ‘em all in a fit and frenzy, moved to his whims. This thing, I don’t even know how to describe it…”

Suddenly, we’ve leapt back in time to the canal that borders the Black Spot, as the Legion has lit it on fire, causing its patrons to try and escape the smoking deathtrap, jumping into the water as they go. We watch as Pennywise pounces, dragging victims under the surface. Leroy and his friend Dick swim to shore and watch as the beast feeds, continuing to use the fiery disaster as a cover, its red balloon acting as a kind of buoy that lifts him over the canal’s surface. In the book, Mike’s father recalls seeing a hovering red bird, with red balloons spread out beneath its wingspan (the very same flying creature that menaced his son at the Ironworks ruins). Regardless of whether Derry’s central terror manifested itself in the form of a clown or a hawk, the thematic messaging was clear: Pennywise stoked the racist fire in those white men’s hearts, causing them to commit a heinous atrocity.

None of this made it into Muschietti’s movie, which is unfortunate; not just because it would’ve been a rather harrowing, emotional scene to see come to life on screen, but also because it jettisoned so much of the novel’s underlying social strife. Thanks to rewrites performed by Gary Dauberman (who is the sole credited scribe on Chapter Two) and the director himself, IT streamlined 1,138 pages into the nostalgia-laden spook-a-blast haunted house picture we received. After all the behind-the-scenes strife regarding Fukunaga’s exit, it was easy to see why the studio would want to play Chapter One a touch safer, releasing the roller coaster version of this story, which was still a ton a fun (not to mention easier to sell to a mass audience). Nevertheless, while watching IT for the first time, it was tough for this writer not to wonder what could’ve been. Could IT have been peppered with both this style of mainstream, crowd pleasing scares, as well as a healthy seasoning of “social horror”?

Yesterday’s news that Québécois actor/auteur Xavier Dolan (Mommy) has been cast in the role of Adrian Mellon – the young gay man who is thrown off Derry’s Kissing Bridge at the beginning of the novel (thus causing Mike to call all the Losers back to Derry) – points toward Muschietti and Dauberman possibly atoning for the removal of the Black Spot Massacre from the first Chapter. A truly awful sequence, after the hate crime is performed, Pennywise drags Adrian’s broken body under the bridge and, while staring up at his lover with “eyes like silver dollars”, bears glistening fangs and takes a bite out of the man’s armpit. In the chronicles of King fiction, it’s some of the most stomach-churning imagery the author ever invented.

Like the Black Spot tragedy, Mellon’s demise is again a symptom of the bigoted disease that worms its Lovecraftian tentacles through the town. Reading the chapter on paper reveals some of King’s more problematic tendencies, as his intent (to comment on early AIDS era homophobia) is somewhat undercut by his excessive, coked out prose. In case the murder doesn’t convince you, King then has the lead detectives on Mellon’s file badger his boyfriend, before pretty much giving up on uncovering the killer before the search even begins, due to not caring who killed the “queer”. It’s the horror fiction equivalent of your favorite drunk uncle trying to tell you why gays are good people too, but can’t stop using slurs while he does so.

Adrian Mellon is a risky inclusion, and while it’d probably be much easier to wring hands about this revelation, one could also count it as a sign that Muschietti & Co. are capitalizing on the massive success of the first film, and actually making a movie that might have a little more on its mind than just scaring the shit out of you. Toss in the fact that “social horror” is now experiencing quite the boom after the critical and commercial triumph of Jordan Peele’s Get Out, and the time just seems right for IT to be cinematically realized, with all of the gut punch pontificating regarding the state of the American small town not only accounted for, but literally opening the film at your local multiplex.

Muschietti has hinted in the past that he’s going to also apply a radical approach to Hanlon’s character in Chapter Two, as he’s gone on record saying:

“My idea of Mike in the second movie is quite darker from the book. I want to make his character the one pivotal character who brings them all together, but staying in Derry took a toll with him. I want him to be a junkie actually. A librarian junkie. When the second movie starts, he’s a wreck.”

Now, we’ve been interpreting the “junkie” comment literally up until this point, but it seems prudent to point out that the full quote is “librarian junkie”. What if the Black Spot incident found its way back into the drafts of Chapter Two, and Mike has committed himself to researching and collecting every little bit of data regarding how Pennywise manifested himself in the prejudiced attitudes of Derry’s residents? It’d be another solid do-over for the director and screenwriter, as so much of Hanlon’s story as a kid was somehow delivered to Ben Hanscom (Jeremy Ray Taylor as a juvenile; Jay Ryan as an adult) that he became something of a non-entity. Moreover, even if Mike became a literal “junkie”, that could still be a solid jumping off point for how he coped with his neighbors’ scarring approach toward race relations.

Obviously, we’re just going to have to wait and see how all of this develops once more details begin to trickle out regarding the production, and then the finished film hits screens on September 6th, 2019. However, as a personal plea to Andy Muschietti, this writer asks that he just do it. Take the risks and make a mature horror movie out of the book’s “adult” section. If you were ever going to get a chance to perfectly adapt (and, dare I suggest, possibly even improve upon) the Great American Horror Novel, the time is now. Have IT own the novel’s complicated social commentary, warts and all. Film fans will be all the better because of it.

Mike Hanlon, the black kid in Stephen King’s ‘It,’ has a remarkable backstory. The movie erased it.

It’s safe to assume that few moviegoers went to see It this weekend looking for a treatise on race in America.

Most went to be terrified by the demon clown introduced in Stephen King’s 1986 novel, and if the audience response on Friday was any indication, they got what they wanted. But as with most entertainment produced in the United States, race was rarely far from the surface. And for fans of the book, the racial undercurrent that made it such a startling and multidimensional read in the first place has been stripped from Andy Muschietti’s adaptation.

Blackness occupies an unusual space in King’s novel. Of the seven children at the center of It, only one — Michael Hanlon — is African-American. In the book’s parallel storylines, he is arguably the most important character. Twenty-seven years after the children first confront the titular entity, it is Mike, now a librarian in their hometown of Derry, Maine, who summons the gang for a final showdown when they’re adults.

FilmSelect Trailer/YouTube

Horror fans are familiar by now with the genre’s tendency to kill off black characters early — an emblem of the subordinate role black people play in most white-centered entertainment. If they’re not sacrificial lambs or obligatory black best friends, they’re magical negroes or mammies: tokens to signal a storyteller’s superficial commitment to racial diversity or stepladders to facilitate a white protagonist’s growth.

Audiences rarely get to see these black characters’ inner lives. They are less human than they are window-dressing, with little to suggest their experience in the story is in any way textured by race. All context — historical or otherwise — that might explain why a black character is alone in this all-white environment, acting like it’s not weird at all, is conspicuously missing from much American entertainment.

It’s absurd, especially considering how few white people have black friends to begin with. This is why Mike Hanlon is so special.

The story of Mike’s family — as King tells it in his novel — is a story of racial violence. The son of a farmer who wound up in Maine when the Army stationed him there as a young man, Mike’s experience in Derry is defined largely by the tragedies his family endured living in the crosshairs of white supremacy.

The Losers’ Club section of the novel is set during the late 1950s, in contrast to Muschietti’s adaptation, which is reset in the Reagan ’80s. Mike and his parents are thus subjected to New England’s brand of Jim Crow terrorism in the book. An early scene that stands out — set years before Mike is born — involves white Derry’s violent response to a speakeasy the elder Hanlon, Will, and his fellow black soldiers set up to pass the time.

The bar — called the Black Spot — becomes wildly popular, replete with live jazz and the sort of racial intermingling that draws the ire of Maine’s Legion of White Decency, a fictional Ku Klux Klan equivalent. The group responds by sneaking outside the establishment one night and setting it on fire while its patrons, black and white, are partying inside.

King spares few details in recounting the horrors of the blaze. At one point, he vividly describes a young white man trying hurriedly to extinguish the flames consuming the back of his girlfriend’s dress, before the room gets too hot and he flees with the stampede of other revelers, leaving the woman behind to burn.

Mike recalls this story as it was told to him by his dying father — a grim totem of the price the Hanlons paid to live in Maine when they did. “I don’t know why it happened here ,” Will tells Mike. “I can’t explain it; but at the same time, I ain’t surprised by it.”

FilmSelect Trailer/YouTube

The racial animus that fueled the speakeasy arson bleeds into Will Hanlon’s early years as a farmer as well. He recalls that so many rocks and empty beer cans were thrown at their home the first year they lived there that he had to replace 20 broken windows.

The family is further terrorized by their racist white neighbor, Butch Bowers, who at one point poisons all of the chickens in the Hanlon family’s coop. Butch’s son, Henry — assuming the intergenerational mantle of his father’s bigotry — becomes Mike’s biggest tormentor as a child, bombarding him with racial slurs and, echoing his dad, eventually killing Mike’s dog.

Mike’s knowledge of his family’s experience with racism ultimately sets him up to become the town’s de facto historian. Unlike his white friends — all of whom flee Derry as soon as they’re of age — Mike stays committed to uncovering the town’s sordid past, setting himself apart as the only character willing to stick behind and reckon with the gang’s collective ghosts.

Even as a child, his historical curiosity makes him invaluable to their battle against It. Mike is the one who discovers that It is an ancient entity who has haunted Derry for centuries. During a carbon monoxide-induced hallucination, Mike and Richie Tozier witness the moment It first landed on Earth from outer space, eons ago.

FilmSelect Trailer/YouTube

Perhaps audiences should expect that much of this would be lost in the translation from novel to film — especially when dealing with a book as dense as King’s epic, which crams more backstory and character development into its 1,138 pages than most prestige television shows accommodate in one season, let alone a two-hour movie.

But as my colleague Kristen Yoonsoo Kim pointed out, Muschietti’s adaptation goes a step further than merely cutting corners in the name of economy. The film doesn’t just flatten Mike’s backstory. It reduces him to the kind of token black character that King’s novel was so adept at avoiding.

In the film, Mike barely has any lines. The role of group historian has been taken from him and given to a white character instead. He still gets targeted by Henry Bowers, but gone is the racial subtext that made the experience so entwined with Derry’s history of violence. His blackness seems largely incidental. And as a result, the film never has to address the messy topic of race or how it informs the lone black character’s life.

It would be one thing to gripe about this for failing to stay faithful to the novel — which probably would have been impossible anyway, gargantuan as it is. But by turning Mike into a token instead of a person, the filmmakers did a greater disservice. They robbed audiences of one of the more intriguing black characters in modern horror history.

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Easter eggs can be found in a wide array of movies and are often inside jokes or winks to the audience. The horror genre is no exception to this, and some of the best Easter eggs can be found in some of your favorite scary films. The Easter eggs are referential, can make the movies scarier, and can even give the films new meanings.

10. Psycho

Alfred Hitchcock is known for making cameos in almost all of his films, but one that many people miss is hidden in one of his best known and well regarded movies: the grandfather of slasher films, 1960’s Psycho. At the 6 minute and 39 second mark, you can see Hitchcock through the window when Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) walks into the bank where she works. Hitchcock is standing on the street, wearing a Stetson hat and looking away from the bank.

It’s one of his best hidden cameos, but one that’s a bit harder to find happens in the film Lifeboat, which takes place in, obviously, a lifeboat adrift on the ocean. In that film, Hitchcock’s picture is in an ad for Reduco Obesity Slayer, which is on a newspaper that one of the characters is reading.

9. Silent Hill

Based on the moody and atmospheric video game of the same name, Silent Hill is a frustratingly mediocre film. It’s about a woman named Rose, who has an adopted daughter named Sharon. Sharon sleepwalks while repeating the words “Silent Hill,” which turns out to be the name of a town. Looking for answers, Rose and Sharon head to the desolate and constantly foggy village. Once there, Sharon disappears and Rose scours the town looking for her.

There are two unique Easter eggs that are nods to horror classics. The first is when Rose comes upon a school called Midwich. This is a reference to The Midwich Cuckoos, which was adapted into the 1960 film The Village of the Damned. The second Easter egg is when Rose comes across a movie theater that is showing a double feature – The Last Man on Earth and The Omega Man. These films are based on the same book, I Am Legend, which was written by sci-fi and horror great Richard Matheson.

8. Godzilla (2014)

While it could be debated that Godzilla isn’t a horror movie, the fact that it’s about giant monsters wreaking havoc is enough for us to consider it one. That being said, Godzilla contains a few great Easter eggs. One of the first happens in the opening credits, when the words are being redacted from the screen. As Bryan Cranston’s name appears on the screen, it says, “Walter Malcolm has claimed that government men dressed in white lab coats routinely appear at site and BRYAN CRANSTON shortly after the event all residents are sworn to silence.”

Malcolm is a connection to Cranston’s second most famous role, Hal in Malcolm in the Middle. Then, as the words are redacted, the words “Walter” and “White” are left on the screen and everyone should probably know what that’s a reference to. Another Easter egg is the name of the ship that accidentally discovers Godzilla: the Nautilus. The Nautilus is a reference to Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which is about a submarine called the Nautilus that also has a problem with a large monster. Finally, a third Easter egg can be seen in Ford Brody’s room when he was younger; his walls are decorated with posters from old Godzilla films.

7. Insidious and Insidious: Chapter 2

The first two Insidious films have some of the more creepy Easter eggs in the horror genre. In the first film when Renai Lambert (Rose Byrne) is tidying up the second house the family moves into, there’s a single shot that tracks her as she walks through the home. It seems pretty innocuous, but as she puts clothes in the basket, you can see the Dancing Boy ghost facing the wall beside the coats that are hanging up. If you watch the video above, you’ll see him at about the 32 second mark.

There’s a similar Easter egg in the sequel, Insidious: Chapter 2. Again, Renai is doing housework when the detective calls. As she’s walking through the house, talking on the phone, if you look to the very right of the screen you can see the ghost of Parker Crane in another room, but as Renai moves towards that room, the ghost disappears.

6. Cloverfield

This found footage film about a monster attacking New York City is framed in an interesting way. At the beginning of the film, it’s presented as a classified video collected from a personal recording by the United States Department of Defense. On a few of the title cards, it briefly flashes an octagon logo a number of times. That logo should be familiar to fans of the television show Lost because it’s the logo of the Dharma Initiative, a secret research program that was involved in fringe science. That’s no coincidence, since Lost creator JJ Abrams produced Cloverfield. Another Easter egg can be found at the very end of the closing credits. During the final song, there’s a garbled walkie-talkie transmission. It’s indecipherable upon first listening to it, but if you listen to it backward it says, “it’s still alive.”

Finally, an even more obscure Easter egg in the final scene may give a clue to the monster’s origins. After the climax of the film, it cuts to a clip of main characters Rob and Beth on a Ferris wheel on Coney Island, months before the events of the movie. The shot lingers on the water for a few moments and at first it seems to be a pretty simple scene with nothing too interesting to note, except to remind the audience that the characters were real people. But, if you watch the shot of the water, on the right hand side, something falls from the sky into the water. This has led people to believe that the monster came from space.

5. Shaun of the Dead

The first film in The Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy, Shaun of the Dead, is littered with Easter eggs that are references to other great zombie movies. For example, when Shaun is looking for a restaurant to take his girlfriend to, he opens the phone book and finds a listing for a restaurant called Fulci. That’s a nod to the Godfather of Gore, Lucio Fulci, who is known for his 1979 film Zombie (aka Zombi 2). Another reference to a great horror icon is the store where Shaun works, which is called Foree Electronics. Ken Foree is the actor who played Peter in the zombie classic Dawn of the Dawn. Another reference is that the first zombie that Shaun and Ed encounter, Mary, works at a grocery store called Landis. John Landis is the director of American Werewolf in London and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

The Easter eggs and references come fast and furious – so much so that even George Romero didn’t pick up on a reference to his most famous film when Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright screened Shaun for him. When Shaun and Ed are getting off the phone before going to save Shaun’s mom, Ed assures her, “We’re coming to get you, Barbara!” This is a clear reference to the most famous line from Night of the Living Dead. One final Easter egg of note is where the trilogy got its name from. Cornetto is an ice cream company based in the UK, and in each film in the trilogy Pegg’s and Nick Frost’s characters eat a flavor with a color that’s symbolic to the film. In Shaun of the Dead, Shaun and Ed can be seen eating a red Cornetto ice cream cone just before they clue in that it’s the zombie apocalypse. Why they chose red should be fairly obvious. As for the colors in the other films, it’s blue in Hot Fuzz as a reference to the police and green for The World’s End because of the alien/sci-fi angle.

4. The Evil Dead and Nightmare on Elm Street

In 1984’s horror classic A Nightmare on Elm Street, there’s a scene when Nancy is nodding off to sleep while watching a movie. The camera shows a clip of the movie: 1981’s The Evil Dead. While this is a fairly obvious Easter egg, what may not be as obvious is the Easter egg in The Evil Dead’s 1987 sequel. To return the favor of using the clip, Sam Raimi included a reference to Nightmare in Evil Dead II. In the tool shed, just beside the door, you can see the actual Freddie Kruger glove that was used in the first Nightmare and A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge.

After Raimi borrowed it, the original glove was believed to have been lost until 2011, when Nightmare enthusiast Mike Becker found it after an online auction sold it as a replica used in later films. He was able to buy it from the original buyer and it’s thought to be the genuine article that was used in the first two movies. Robert Englund, who played Freddy Kruger in every movie except for the remake, said that he believes that Becker’s glove is the original.

3. The Cabin in the Woods

One of the most innovative and original horror movies of the past few years is The Cabin in the Woods. As mentioned in the introduction, this is definitely an entry that contains spoilers. So if you haven’t seen the film, please do yourself the courtesy and watch this movie before reading this entry.

As for those who have seen it, you’ll know that The Cabin in the Woods starts off as a cabin slasher film, but of course, it goes off in a completely different direction. The major twist is that there is a warehouse of nightmare creatures that is meant to kill off sacrifices to appease The Ancient Ones. Since the film is so referential to other horror movies, there are plenty of Easter eggs hidden in the film. To go through and name all of them would take a long time; in fact, there’s a visual companion book to the film. But some of the more interesting ones are seen on the white board that’s used to take bets. For example, Angry Molesting Tree and Deadites are references to The Evil Dead, as is the title and the setting of the film. Other monsters include twins, which can be seen in the warehouse and look almost identical to the twins in The Shining. Then there’s a reference to Joss Whedon’s beloved cult show Firefly. One of the monsters, who appear in the movie, but not on the board, is a Reaver, which are animalistic humans from Firefly and the film Serenity. Besides just the monsters themselves, there are even further details in the film, such as each item in the cellar is linked to a creature. For example, Curt (Chris Hemsworth) almost unlocks the puzzle box that would unleash a Pinhead from Hellraiser type monster.

2. The Silence of the Lambs

Arguably the greatest serial killer movie of all-time is the Academy Award-winning The Silence of the Lambs. Early on in the film, Hannibal Lecter is locked up in a psychiatric hospital when he’s visited by FBI agent-in-training Clarice Starling. Starling tries to get Hannibal to do a questionnaire, which leads to one of the most memorable quotes in movie history: “A census-taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.”

It turns out this is actually a clue that Hannibal was giving Clarice, though she obviously never picked up on it. When the book was written in 1988, it was common to treat psychiatric patients with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI). When someone is on MAOIs, they have to avoid certain foods and drinks because it can cause the blood pressure to go up and could result in death. And three foods that could be deadly to people taking MAOIs are liver, fava beans, and red wine. Hannibal was flat out telling Starling that he wasn’t taking his medication, which aided in his escape later in the film.

1. The Shining

The Shining has so many layers and is so dense with possible meaning that there’s a documentary about theories surrounding the film called Room 237. One example is that clues in the film are hints that Stanley Kubrick was involved in staging the moon landing.

Besides that theory, there are few other Easter eggs that make the film a lot creepier. The first one is when Jack is in the busy hotel lobby waiting to meet his new boss while reading a Playgirl magazine. It’s a hint that something odd is going on in the hotel. This is seen again through the power of the hotel itself. In one scene, there’s a shot of Jack, and after it cuts away and then back to Jack, a chair and table that were in the background have vanished. Then there’s a TV that works, but doesn’t have an electrical cord. Finally, there’s the set-up of the hotel. In a number of scenes, there are windows on the wall that show the Torrances are in a corner room. But when Wendy and Danny are fleeing for their lives, their room is in the middle of the hotel. These could have been mistakes, but most people don’t believe so because of how detail orientated Kubrick was. He was obsessed with everything that appeared in the frame and these were not subtle mistakes.

Another Easter egg is when Dick Hallorann is driving up to the hotel. He comes across an accident where a red Volkswagen Beetle has been crushed. It’s an interesting choice for the wrecked car considering that’s the car the Torrances drive in Stephen King’s book, whereas in the film they’re driving a yellow Beetle. This is quite symbolic because King hated all the changes Kubrick made in the film.

Robert Grimminck is a Canadian freelance writer. You can friend him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter, or visit his website.

Looking for more hidden meaning in pop culture? Check out the Top 10 Children’s Rhymes That Have Hidden Meanings and 10 Religious Beliefs Hidden in Toy Story Other Articles you Might Like

Between Castle Rock, the new Halloween, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and the hidden ghosts of The Haunting of Hill House, Easter eggs in horror seem to be a major trend in 2018. Though it’s hardly the first time they’ve popped up in horror. Some Easter eggs are well-placed plot clues for the eagle-eyed viewer, sometimes they’re homages to horror fandom, and sometimes they’re a fun volley between filmmakers. No matter their use, a horror Easter egg is almost always fun to spot.

Here are the 10 greatest uses of the Easter egg in horror.

King Kong (2005) – Sumatran Rat-Monkey

The cause of Peter Jackson’s splatter-filled zombie mayhem in Braindead (Dead Alive) is the bite of the Sumatran-Ray Monkey. The film’s prologue explains that the vile creature hails from Skull Island, an animal created from giant plague rats raping small tree monkeys. Skull Island happens to be the very island from which King Kong hails. Jackson brings this full circle in his 2005 film King Kong, when a crate labeled “Sumatran Rat Monkey” is seen in the cargo hold of the SS Venture. Not only is it great seeing a low budget splatter film get a nod in a giant blockbuster feature, but it’s always reassuring to know Jackson hadn’t forgotten his roots.

Land of the Dead – Photo Booth Zombies

Co-writers Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg crammed just about every zombie homage and reference they could into their zombie rom com Shaun of the Dead. But for all the nods to just about every entry in the zombie pantheon, it was clear that the work of George A. Romero was held in the highest regard. Romero was so affected by this that he asked the pair to appear in Land of the Dead. Wright and Pegg appear as zombies, chained up in the carnival scene where humans can get their pics taken with them. They’re credited as “Photo Booth Zombies.”

10 Cloverfield Lane – Connecting Universe

The Cloverfield universe is unique in that while each are standalone films, they’re connected by a larger mythology that’s only really explained by digging into the Alternate Reality Games that lead up into the theatrical releases of each entry. While 10 Cloverfield Lane is more of a blood relative than actual sequel to Cloverfield, there are Easter eggs throughout that serve as connective tissue, like Michelle stumbling across a letter addressed to Howard from Bold Futura. It’s inconsequential to the main plot, but hardcore Cloverfield fans will recognize this company as a subsidiary of Tagruato, the company ultimately responsible for unleashing the monstrous creature in the original film. The date on the letter also places it before the events of the first film, making this universe’s timeline all the more complex.

Bride of Chucky – Evidence Locker

From the opening moments, the tone is set when Charles Lee Ray’s ex-girlfriend and former accomplice retrieves Chucky’s remains from the police evidence locker. It seems as though all major horror franchises exist within the same universe, as Chucky’s remains are kept with the likes of Jason Voorhees’s hockey mask, Freddy Krueger’s glove, Michael Myers’ mask, Leatherface’s chainsaw, and even the puppets from Puppet Master. Granted, these are all off-brand references (Wisconsin Chainsaw Massacre), but the implication remains on this tongue-in-cheek Easter egg jackpot. This Easter egg wins extra points, considering director Ronny Yu would go on to helm Freddy vs Jason a few years later.

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday – Jason vs. Freddy…vs. Ash?

The final moments stole the show of this weird sequel, in which Freddy’s glove bursts out of the ground and pulls Jason’s mask down below. The implications of an epic battle between the two horror juggernauts is a main event fans salivated over. But there’s a much bigger horror franchise that looms over this sequel; the Evil Dead series. There are nods to other films found within the Voorhees home, particularly that of the Crate from Creepshow in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, but hero Steven actually picks up and flips through the Necronomicon. More than that, it’s the Kandarian dagger that’s used to kill Jason. This didn’t just tease a Freddy vs. Jason showdown, but a Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash battle. Too bad no one asked permission from Sam Raimi for the use of these props, and he didn’t approve.

Scream – Janitor Fred

In a film that lovingly deconstructs horror tropes and is filled with references and nods to horror films, this particular Easter egg wins, hands down. When Principal Himbry (Henry Winkler) is being targeted by the killer after the school has emptied for the day, he steps out into the quiet hall and finds janitor Fred mopping the floors. Fred is wearing a Freddy Krueger-like sweater and hat, but more importantly, Fred is played by Krueger’s creator Wes Craven. Not only is this cameo a reminder that this wasn’t the first time Craven changed the horror landscape, but that the director also had a major sense of humor. He’ll be forever missed, and Janitor Fred is only one of a million reasons why.

Final Destination series – Death’s Clues

The 2000 supernatural thriller that kicked off a major franchise set the precedent with elaborate death sequences that lent well to majorly effective suspense and tension that had us sinking into our seats. We know that Death is coming to reclaim its victims, we just don’t know when. But Death cleverly tells us repeatedly how each one is going to die. Death doles out clever clues for each death for those that are paying close attention. Example: Evan Lewis meets a gnarly demise in Final Destination 2 when his eye gets impaled by his escape ladder. It’s hinted at over and over, beginning with his fridge magnets spelling out E-Y-E.

Saw – Hospital Bed Reveal

James Wan and Leigh Whannell have mastered the art of dropping Easter eggs since their major horror debut in Saw. Billy the Puppet appears in just about everything from Insidious to Dead Silence, and they often sneak each other into their respective films. That’s only the tip of the iceberg. So, we’re going back to the beginning, in which the duo spelled out the killer’s identity long before the major reveal. In a brilliant misdirect, a flashback scene shows Dr. Lawrence Gordon being approached by detectives in regard to linking evidence found at one of Jigsaw’s games. Gordon happened to be in the middle of discussing terminal patient John Kramer at his bedside. If the detectives would’ve looked down, they would’ve seen Kramer’s designs of the “reverse bear trap” laid out for all to see.

Evil Dead II – Freddy Krueger’s Glove

There’s long-running history of jabs between horror masters Sam Raimi and Wes Craven that began when Raimi included a torn poster of The Hills Have Eyes in his breakout film The Evil Dead. Craven noticed, and returned the nod by having Nancy Thompson fall asleep to The Evil Dead in A Nightmare on Elm Street. Raimi opted to be a bit less subtle when he filmed Evil Dead II, and hung Freddy’s glove in both the cellar and the work shed, in prominent view. That glove never left, either, as it was once again displayed in the cellar in Ash vs. Evil Dead.

Predator 2 – Trophy Room

The cinematic moment that firmly put Predator in the same universe as Alien, and it was glorious. Just before the final showdown between protagonist Harrigan (Danny Glover) and the Predator that’s made Los Angeles its hunting ground, he finds its spaceship hidden underground. The battle takes place in the ship’s trophy room. Of all the skulls on display, the one fans zeroed in on was that of the Xenomorph. Suddenly, we didn’t really care about Harrigan versus Predator. We wanted to see a Predator square off against a Xenomorph. I still do.

13 amazing movie Easter eggs you may have missed

For those of you who don’t know what an Easter egg is, we’re not talking bunnies and flowers or anything religious.

An Easter egg, in cinema, is something deliberately hidden in a movie as a treat, joke or reference for the viewer. It’s more likely that you’ll discover Easter eggs in superhero or science-fiction films, since the fan base, by nature, is more in-tune with the fine details of the story. A well-known example is comic creator Stan Lee appearing in each film based on one of his stories. Often, he’ll appear for a split-second or have one speaking line, but it nearly always elicits chuckles from the audience.

READ MORE: It movie: Pennywise the Clown is back to terrify you

Obviously modelled on real-life Easter egg hunts, the little tidbits in movies are often hard to spot unless you’re familiar with the backstory or get the inside joke. In honour of the Easter holiday, here are 13 of the best Easter eggs you may have missed over the past few decades.

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Jurassic World (2015)

There is nary a fandom like the one for the Jurassic movies, which have had a raptor-like, ravenous following since the 1993 original roared into theatres. So it’s no surprise, then, that the follow-up 22 years later is stuffed with Easter eggs.

Any Jurassic Park fan knows Ian Malcolm, played wonderfully by the one-and-only Jeff Goldblum. There were many rumours that Goldblum would pop up in Jurassic World, but alas he did not… at least in human form. Eagle-eyed fans may have noticed a book written by Malcolm, titled God Creates Dinosaurs, sitting on the desk of “tech guy” Lowery (Jake Johnson) and also in the hands of Bryce Dallas Howard’s character, Claire.

Back to the Future (1985)

No, we’re not going to reference when Marty (Michael J. Fox) goes back in time to 1955 and accidentally runs over one of Mr. Peabody’s pines, transforming Twin Pines Mall to Lone Pine Mall in the future — that’s a relatively well-known Easter egg.

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While related, this one’s a bit tougher to piece together. Mr. Peabody, shown in Back to the Future brandishing a gun and shooting at Marty’s time-travelling DeLorean, has a son named Sherman. In other words, it’s a nod to Mr. Peabody & Sherman, the time-travelling twosome from 1960s TV show The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

This one’s more of a sight gag; all you have to do is spot imagery hidden in hieroglyphics. When Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) falls into the Egyptian snake pit, you can clearly see what appears to be drawings of Star Wars droids C-3PO and R2-D2 carved into the wall.

Clearly, clandestine studio and franchise crossovers weren’t unheard of, even in the early ’80s.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Then, 34 years later, the latest Star Wars film (at the time) referenced the Indiana Jones franchise. Everyone who’s seen Raiders is familiar with Indy’s run from the boulder, which has been spoofed and lampooned by countless other TV shows and movies.

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If you’ve seen The Force Awakens, then you may recall the scene on the Millennium Falcon when Han Solo (also played by Harrison Ford, hence the joke) and Chewbacca are running from an escaped rathtar. It turns out the sound designer on-set for TFW, David Acord, deliberately inserted the “boulder roll” sound from Raiders.

“I put in the sound of boulder roll sound from Raiders of the Lost Ark when the boulder is chasing Indy,” said Acord to Nerdist.

Fight Club (1999)

This one’s more widely known, mostly because this movie has a dedicated cult following. In multiple interviews, Fight Club director David Fincher has revealed that a Starbucks coffee cup can be spotted in every single scene of his movie.

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There are even blogs dedicated to finding all of the cups that litter the film. Now that’s fandom.

There is a Starbucks coffee cup in every scene in Fight Club pic.twitter.com/O89RwkZU4W

— TV Memories (@TV_Exposed) August 27, 2015

READ MORE: Carrie Fisher to appear in final Star Wars movie, late star’s brother confirms

King Kong (2005)

Know your Morse code? Most people don’t, which is why this Easter egg flew under the radar for so long. As the S.S. Venture heads out to Skull Island, where King Kong lives, one of the crew members receives a Morse code message. In the film, the message was meant to be the warrant for the arrest of Jack Black’s character (Carl Denham). After being properly deciphered by Morse experts, they discovered that the message actually spells out “Show me the monkey.” Clever.

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The Polar Express (2004)

Once you get past the horror of the early motion-capture technology used to animate the film, you can take time to catch the split-second Easter egg referencing the time-travel mechanism from Back to the Future.

Yes, it’s true! At one point, if you pause at the right moment, you can see that it is indeed the flux capacitor (that powers the DeLorean’s time travel) as part of the Polar Express’ locomotive.

The Mist (2007)

Originally a horror novella written by Stephen King, The Mist is a chilling horror film about a mysterious mist that encases the small town of Bridgton, Maine. A group of townspeople hole up in a supermarket and try to figure out how they’re going to survive.

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Throughout the movie, there are numerous references to King and his previous horror works. At one point, a man runs into a spinning book shelf and as it turns, it’s clear that every book is written by King.

At the beginning of the movie, David (Thomas Jane) is seen painting a lone figure in front of a door. King fans will know that the painting is actually Roland Deschain of King’s The Dark Tower series.

The pharmacy in town is also called King’s Pharmacy, yet another nod to the horror author; try to see if you can spot them all (there are several others).

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Toy Story (1995) & Toy Story 3 (2010)

Even cartoons and movies made for kids aren’t immune to the Easter egg infiltration (and weird Stephen King connection). Throughout Toy Story and Toy Story 3, there are nods to King’s horror story and Stanley Kubrick’s movie, The Shining.

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Ever notice the carpet in Toy Story?

Or in Toy Story 3, the continual references to the number “237,” which also happens to be the room number of the Torrance family in The Shining? A garbage truck licence plate, a security camera and even an online chat partner (named “Velocistar237”) all feature the number.

Evil Dead II (1987)

True horror fans know there’s a connection between the Evil Dead and Nightmare on Elm Street franchises. In the first NOES, the main character, Nancy (Heather Langenkamp), can be seen watching Evil Dead while she falls asleep.

You could say the two horror films share a reciprocal relationship. Some speculate that it’s a thank-you to NOES director Wes Craven for including Evil Dead in such a huge blockbuster mainstream horror film.

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When Ash (Bruce Campbell) heads down into the cellar in Evil Dead II, Freddy Krueger’s bladed glove can clearly be seen hanging on the wall.

The Departed (2006)

Once you spot this one you can’t unsee it, kind of like the coffee cups in Fight Club. Every time someone is about to die, or as a forewarning to something bad happening, there is an “X” somewhere in the frame.

Definitely cool, but why? Turns out director Martin Scorsese wanted to tip his hat glasses to original Scarface (1932) director Howard Hawks, who came up with this interesting visual trick.

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Apocalypto (2006)

Definitely the most random of the bunch, this Easter egg is totally unexpected. If you watch the trailer, below, and hit pause around 1:45-46, you should see a freeze-frame of director Mel Gibson, posing with actors dressed as ancient Mayans from the film. Gibson is at his finest, with what appears to be a cigarette in his teeth.

And if that’s not weird enough for you, then how about this? Waldo, of the famous Where’s Waldo books, is randomly inserted into a pile of dead bodies. Again, this is a single frame. The film’s protagonist, Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood), stumbles into a mass grave and sure enough, there among the carnage is Waldo in his striped shirt.

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Gibson, a notorious on-set prankster, must have thought this one was a hoot. Some found it offensive, so the scene was ultimately cut from the DVD release of the movie. (Some sources say it’s back in the Blu-ray version.)

Godzilla (1998)

Calling all The Simpsons fans! There’s a nod to Harry Shearer (who voices Principal Skinner on the animated series) and Nancy Cartwright (who voices Bart), who both have small roles in Godzilla.

In the scene where Dr. Tatopoulos (Matthew Broderick) is fleeing through the streets of New York City in a cab, we see him throw the driver’s ID plate out of the window in order to get a soldier’s attention. If you pause and zoom in, you can see the name on the ID is “Armin Tamzarian,” a.k.a. the real name of Principal Skinner.

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/Film

The Biggest Changes ‘It’ Makes From Stephen King’s Classic Novel

Posted on Friday, September 8th, 2017 by Chris Evangelista

The Adults

Muschietti’s film does a good job dealing with how the adults of Derry are completely oblivious to the fact that Pennywise stalks their streets. A big theme of King’s novel is how children, innocent of the world at large, are the only ones who can truly see through It’s guises while adults, weighed down by their responsibilities, remain ignorant. The adults of Derry are also morally compromised, more prone to abuse and hatred than “normal” towns, because Derry itself is a cursed town. The 2017 It conveys this well, but also ignores some key adult-based moments from the book.

A running plotline in the book involves how cold and distant Bill’s parents have become following Georgie’s death. The film only briefly touches on this in a scene between Bill and his father, but doesn’t delve into it more.

Another element of the book that didn’t make it into the film involves Mike’s parents. Mike’s father in particular plays a large part in the book, but the character is dead by the time It 2017 starts, with Mike being raised by his grandfather. Mike’s father is a farmer in the book, whereas his grandfather is a butcher in the film.

Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton), the sociopathic bully who torments the Losers Club, has a troubled relationship with his father in the book. There, Bowers’ father, Butch, is another farmer who has a long-running racist hatred for Mike’s family. Butch is abusive towards Henry, and is also said to be insane several times in the book, having suffered some sort of PTSD during World War II. In the film, Butch (as played by Stuart Hughes), is an officer of the Derry Police Department. Butch’s abusive nature is glimpsed only briefly near the film’s conclusion.

The Monster Manifestations of It

King’s novel turns Pennywise into the Monster of 1000 Faces – a shape-shifting creature that doesn’t just appear as a clown, but also takes on the shape of things that can easily scare its child victims. The film explores this as well, although the shapes It takes there are much different from the book.

The book has It appear frequently as movie monsters, including the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Werewolf from I Was a Teenage Werewolf, the Mummy and the Frankenstein Monster. At one point in the novel, It even appears swimming in the canal in the form of the shark from Jaws. The film doesn’t use this movie monster approach. “In the book, they’re children in the ’50s, so the incarnations of the monsters are mainly from movies, so it’s Wolf Man, the Mummy, Frankenstein, Dracula,” Muschetti said. “I had a different approach. I wanted to bring out deeper fears, based not only on movie monsters but on childhood traumas.”

Some of the manifestations of It in the 2017 film include a headless boy and a creepy painting come to life, but for the most part it’s just good old Pennywise. Although some of the book manifestations do make it into the film, including a grotesque lepper that chases Eddie.

Its Final Form

The final form that It takes at the end of King’s novel is that of a giant terrifying spider. Sort of. “It was perhaps fifteen feet high and as black as a moonless night. Each of Its legs was as thick as a muscle-builder’s thigh. Its eyes were bright malevolent rubies, bulging from sockets filled with some dripping chromium-colored fluid. Its jagged mandibles opened and closed, opened and closed, dripping ribbons of foam,” King writes. But King’s book also makes it clear that the creature isn’t really a spider, but rather that’s the closest the human mind can come to seeing: “No…not a Spider either, not really, but this shape isn’t one It picked out of our minds; it’s just the closest our minds can come to…whatever It really is.”

Arachnophobes need not worry – there’s no giant spider in the film. Instead, It remains mostly as Pennywise in the film’s final confrontation.

Racial Elements

There’s a lot of racism in King’s book. There are also a lot of racist “jokes” which may have seemed fine when the book was published in 1986 but now come across as embarrassingly tone deaf. The brunt of the racism is aimed at Mike and his family, who are one of the only black families in Derry, and the majority of it comes from the bully Henry Bowers.

The 2017 movie removes this element completely. While Mike is still bullied by Henry Bowers and his gang, racism doesn’t play an outward part in the bullying. And the film chooses to explore Mike’s outcast nature not through the color of his skin, but rather by making him a homeschool kid.

While the racist elements may have been difficult and unpleasant to transfer to film, the TV miniseries didn’t shy away from them, and for the 2017 film to ignore them completely seems particularly puzzling, especially in a film that doesn’t resist presenting other unpleasant moments.

No Sewer Sex

This is a no-brainer, of course. No film adaptation could, or should, translate one particularly wrongheaded moment from King’s book. In the novel, when the kids defeat It for the first time, they get lost in the sewers beneath the city. For some truly bizarre reason, King thought the best way for the kids to find their way again was to have them all take turns having sex with Bev.

Yes, it’s really, really, really stupid. And wrong. And bad. And icky. King attempted to explain himself years later, saying, “I wasn’t really thinking of the sexual aspect of it. The book dealt with childhood and adulthood – 1958 and Grown Ups. The grown ups don’t remember their childhood. None of us remember what we did as children – we think we do, but we don’t remember it as it really happened. Intuitively, the Losers knew they had to be together again. The sexual act connected childhood and adulthood. Times have changed since I wrote that scene and there is now more sensitivity to those issues.”

Yes, times have changed, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that even in 1986, when the book was published, this was still a really bad idea. Thankfully, the film completely ignores this scene, as should we all.

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