When it comes to horror movies, jump scares, gore, and clichés involving blonde girls and innocent families relocating into haunted homes are only the tip of the iceberg. There’s more to them than meets the eye. Many of them include symbolism and secret messages and are carefully written and directed.
These might be hard to see on the first watch. But if you pay closer attention, you’ll see that they’re everywhere. Here are some clever parts from our favorite horror films, ranging from blink-and-you’ll-miss-it hints and cameos to evidence of who the monster is hiding in plain sight.
The Spooky Child By the Cloth Rack
The “Insidious” camera follows the mother Renai about the house as she does laundry in this first normal scene. She abruptly stops in her tracks, and we continue to follow her outdoors as she looks through the window and notices an odd young boy dancing in her living room.
We didn’t see that she had just passed him on her way out. He was hiding among the jackets on a coat rack in a shadowy area. It’s one of those frightening “blink and you’ll miss it” situations that you only realize too late.
The Demon Valak’s Name Is Hidden in Plain Sight
Long before we learn who he is, Valak, the demon from “The Conjuring 2”, is referenced often in the film. This was also long before even the characters figured it out. Here are only three illustrations. The four large letters on the bookshelf are so obvious.
How did we miss those? His name is also found in more subtle ways, especially behind the two stills from the family’s kitchen. There are yet more instances of his name appearing everywhere, like the scene where Lorraine’s kid creates a bracelet that spells out Valak.
When the Entire Plot Was Staring Us in the Face
Who remembers the infamous opening scene from the 1982 horror classic “The Thing”? An Alaskan husky escapes into the Americans’ research camp, and they rescue it. They are being yelled at by a member of the Norwegian expedition team who is trying to shoot the dog.
Unfortunately, we didn’t understand him, and neither did they—but it was actually a huge spoiler about the movie’s plot. What the man is yelling in Norweigian translates to, “Get away! It’s not a dog, it’s a thing! It’s imitating a dog! It’s not real! Get away, idiots!”
A Nod to Billy the Puppet
Australian filmmaker James Wan directed “Saw” and “Insidious”. He is renowned for creating Billy the puppet, who is responsible for sending messages to the test subjects in the “Saw” film series. Therefore, it makes sense that Wan would look for opportunities to subtly mention Billy in his subsequent movies.
You can plainly see a sketch of the creepy puppet on the whiteboard behind Josh in this scene from the movie “Insidious”. This makes us remember how Disney movies have several references to past events in their animations. It’s incredible how we always seem to miss these clues.
The Hint That He’s Crazy
Did you ever notice how “Scream” creatively combined a cameo with a clue? The child actor who gave the incredible performance as the possessed girl in “The Exorcist” was Linda Blair. She makes a brief, uncredited appearance in “Scream” as a journalist at Sidney’s school.
It was the day after the first attack. Billy uttered these unsettling words to Sidney just one scene earlier, referring to “The Exorcist” and giving us our first indication that he isn’t your normal boyfriend. It was such a fleeting moment that you would be forgiven for missing it.
The Goat Song in ‘The Witch’
“The Witch” is a slow-burning folk horror thriller that made us fear goats for the first time in our lives. There is a scene that we all missed, but it gives away a lot about how the movie will end and who the “bad guy” is.
The goat Black Phillip is bouncing and playing around the young twins Jonas and Mercy while they eagerly sing about him. However, if you pay close attention to the lyrics, you’ll realize they pretty much reveal that Black Phillip isn’t just any goat; he’s actually the devil.
The Painting in ‘Midsommar’
In one of the earliest scenes in “Midsommar”, Dani and Christian are having an argument. They are at Dani’s apartment, and you can see a sizable artwork hanging above Dani’s bed in that sequence. It’s a work of art by renowned Swedish artist John Bauer.
Nordic mythology had a significant impact on his works. And the name of this particular painting of a princess caressing a bear is “Poor Little Bear”. Those of you who have watched the movie will know that the painting foreshadows the fates of both Dani and Christian.
The Face in the Forest in ‘Midsommar’
Some symbolism and ingenious subtleties in “Midsommar” are more visible than others. This one is quite easy to miss because it appears while we’re focused on Dani on the pedestal and the cult members following behind her. But there’s a creepy face in the forest to the left.
It’s the face of Dani’s sister’s, who took her life (and their parents’ lives). This is not the only moment in which Dani’s dead family can be seen in the film, demonstrating how devastated she is by the loss. It’ll take a lot to notice this the first time.
A Clue at Evan’s Death
“Final Destination” is one of those movies that scarred us. Hints about a character’s impending death are a popular element in the “Final Destination” movies, so if you pay close enough attention to what’s happening in the background, you can at least guess what will happen to them.
This is an excellent example of such hints. Evan is standing next to the stove, and nothing seems unusual. But check out the refrigerator. The word “eye” is written out using magnets. Without going into the gory details, this is a glaring indication of Evan’s impending death.
A Nod to ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’
Wes Craven is unquestionably one of the finest horror writers and directors of recent years. His creativity and suspenseful writing are incredible. Craven wrote and directed “A Nightmare on Elm Street” in the 1980s, which horrified all of us. Then, in the 1990s, he made a comeback with “Scream”.
“Scream” was a totally different but nonetheless terrifying horror series. Since Craven normally works behind the camera, not many people knew that he was the janitor in the movie. Furthermore, the janitor is dressed in Freddy Krueger’s sweater. A really nice nod to Craven’s initial great work.
A Clue to Jigsaw’s Identity
Nothing could top the shocking Jigsaw murderer identity reveal at the end of “Saw”. It was a horror masterpiece. There were, however, some hints along the road if you paid attention. This might be the best one. One of the earliest scenes features a sick guy brought into a hospital.
It’s the same hospital Dr. Gordon works at. A sketchbook is on the bedside table while Gordon visits his patient. On it, you’ll see the sketch of the reverse bear trap that was later used on one of the victims. But of all things, who notices the drawing on a sketchbook?
The Supposed Hidden Messages in ‘The Shining’
The 1980 horror film “The Shining” was produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, co-writing with novelist Diane Johnson. The cult favorite is full of supposed hidden messages. Though some are more imaginative than others, they are all intriguing. A far-fetched theory suggests that Danny’s Apollo mission sweater wasn’t chosen randomly.
Rather, it serves as Kubrick’s way of acknowledging his role in the moon landing deception. Room 237 is a hint to where the moon landing was faked, on stage 237. There is a documentary called “Room 237” that examines all the theories and innuendo in “The Shining”.
A Deeper Meaning to ‘Look Behind You’
When you watch horror movies, there are usually spooky creatures creeping behind the actors to make us start shouting, “Look behind you!” We can all see Ghostface approaching Randy in the horror film “Scream” as he watches the classic film “Halloween.” Yelling at him to turn around is ironic.
That’s because he is also doing the same to his television. Of course, Randy is screaming at Jamie Lee Curtis in “Halloween.” However, the name of the actor who plays Randy is Jamie Kennedy. He is therefore yelling at himself in this creative and multi-layered scene.
A Nod to Horror Classics
The 1998 horror movie “Bride of Chucky” was written by Don Mancini and directed by Ronny Yu and is the fourth installment of the “Child’s Play” movies. In one scene, Tiffany visits the evidence locker to collect the demonic doll’s remains.
The locker’s design is a nod to other horror classics. Jason Voorhees’ hockey mask from “Friday the 13th”, Freddy Krueger’s glove (“A Nightmare on Elm Street”), and Michael Myers’ mask (“Halloween”) are there. There are also several puppets from “Puppet Master” and a chainsaw from “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”.
The Horse’s Eye in ‘The Ring’
There are many unsettling scenes in “The Ring,” but there’s one where Rachel, Naomi Watts’s character, is on a ferry. She tries to calm a horse being transported who looks clearly distraught. But contrary to what she was trying to do, her presence only heightens the animal’s fear.
It suddenly escapes from its cage, gallops all around the ferry, then leaps off. You probably didn’t notice, but the close-up shot of the scared horse’s eye is a nod to the one in the spooky VHS tape Rachel saw, which, unknown to her, has doomed her.
Pennywise in the Library
Pennywise, the terrifying clown in “It,” is there all the time with his red balloon even when you don’t see him. The movie has a scene in its first remake in 2017 that you might have missed. Ben is in the library, and there’s someone in the background.
It’s the librarian behind him. But if you watch closely, you’ll notice her edge closer to Ben in every frame while she stares and smiles at him. This is actually Pennywise, who took on the librarian’s body. We certainly missed it because it’s so subtle yet creepy.
‘Evil Dead 2’ Returns the Favor
There’s a scene in the 1984 horror movie, “A Nightmare on Elm Street”, in which the character Nancy is trying to stay awake and watching a trailer of the 1981 movie “Evil Dead”. So, director Sam Raimi decided to return the favor in “Evil Dead 2” (which premiered in 1987).
This reference is very easy to miss unless you pause the movie. But in the background of the toolshed where Ash uses the chainsaw, you can see Freddy Krueger’s razor glove. We bet not many people noticed, but you’ve got to love the horror director bromance!
The Potato Chip Bags in ‘A Quiet Place’
In this apocalyptic film, the planet has been overrun by blind aliens with extraordinary hearing. Thus, to survive, people must live in perfect silence. Before the audience is made aware of this dreadful fact, all of the cities’ stores have already been raided.
Yet you could notice that bags of potato chips are still intact on the shelves and in the vending machines. That is meticulousness in action! Obviously, nobody dares to touch the potato chip bags. They make too much noise, but we didn’t think about it!
‘Evil Dead’ Car Cameos
Not all smart details in horror films are intended to frighten you or hint at a crucial part of the story. A prop itself can occasionally appear repeatedly and take on a theme of its own—like this car. This is the 1973 Oldsmobile Delta driven by director Sam Raimi.
Raimi first used the car in “Evil Dead”, and it has since appeared in all of his subsequent films, including “Drag Me to Hell” and the 2013 version of “Evil Dead” (from which this picture is taken and Raimi also produced). Sam definitely loves the car.
The Hidden Alien Skull in ‘Predator 2’
The 1990 American science fiction horror action movie “Predator 2” was written by Jim and John Thomas and directed by Stephen Hopkins. Lieutenant Mike Harrigan, played by Danny Glover, follows the Predator into an elevator shaft in the horror movie’s climactic end. He discovers the creature’s spaceship there.
It is hidden in a chamber. As he investigates it, he discovers a trophy chamber with the skulls of both natural and otherworldly beings. One of them is the skull of a Xenomorph, often known as the infamously vicious “Alien” monster. That’s an awesome homage, in our opinion.
‘Scream 2’ in ‘Halloween H20’
The 1998 horror movie “Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later”, usually referred to as “Halloween H20”, was directed by Steve Miner. On the other hand, “Scream” is renowned for essentially being a meta-horror film, loaded with allusions to the subgenre, horror clichés, and people who are fascinated with all things spooky.
The actors discuss Jamie Lee Curtis’ incredible performance as the lead character while watching the cult film “Halloween” in one scene. As a nod to this scene, in “Halloween H20”, two girls are shown watching “Scream 2” as they prepare for a party.
Ghosts in ‘The Haunting of Hill House’
“The Haunting of Hill House” is a Mike Flanagan written and directed supernatural horror drama miniseries. This is one spooky movie, but for everything that made us jump in “The Haunting of Hill House”, there are many more that we missed the first time we watched it. Here are two examples.
There’s an unsettling ghost girl lurking behind the mother Olivia in the dining room. In the bottom picture, dad Hugh and son Steven don’t notice the two ghosts lurking behind them as they race down the stairs in a panic. Some say they noticed the ghosts, but not everyone.
A Nod to ‘Cujo’ in ‘Pet Sematary’
During Ellie’s birthday party in the 2019 “Pet Sematary” remake, the neighbor Jud can be heard in the distance saying something that seems irrelevant at the time. It was something about a big saint bernard who got rabies. At first watch, it’ll sound like just any other conversation.
But it is actually a nod to another novel by Stephen King, Cujo, which is about a saint bernard that got infected with rabies. The dog then goes a little mad as a result. This novel was pretty much like “Pet Sematary” made into a horror movie.
An ‘It’ Reference in ‘The Dark Tower’
The 2017 action/fantasy film “The Dark Tower” is based on the Stephen King novel series and has no fewer than nine volumes. It eventually got the attention it deserved thanks to the movie adaptation, and of course, the directors had to include a few allusions to the famous author.
Here’s an illustration: the young Jake is walking around an old and dilapidated fairground. It is obvious that the balloons and the sign with Pennywise’s name are references to Stephen King’s masterpiece “It”. While some people may have noticed the reference, it was too fleeting for others to pick up.
Number 42 in ‘The Shining’
The number 42 is seen as another of the many mysteries of “The Shining” because the number of times it appears is weird. It’s on Danny’s shirt, as shown in this image, on the rental car’s license plate, and it may also be related to the TV in the third image.
Did we hear you ask, “How?” Well, the movie that’s playing is “Summer of ’42”. Now, it’s unclear why the number 42 shows up so frequently in the movie. However, some claim it could be tied to the holocaust because the final solution was implemented in 1942.
The Restaurant in ‘Shaun of the Dead’
The title of the 2004 comedy-horror “Shaun Of The Dead” is not the only thing that is brilliant about the movie. There are several witty gags and references to horror movies throughout. Shaun, the main character in this scene, wants to eat dinner at a seafood restaurant.
He’s seen looking up the phone number to Fulci’s, which is “the place that does all the fish.” The name “Fulci” is a tribute to Lucio Fulci, the renowned Italian horror filmmaker dubbed the “Godfather of Gore.” If we’ve noticed anything so far, it’s that horror movie directors respect each other.
The Clever Hints in ‘The Sixth Sense’
“The Sixth Sense”, a thriller drama released in 1999, is a real masterpiece, and nearly no one expected the now-famous twist at the end. But there are many hints spread throughout the film that we all managed to miss on the first watch. Malcolm, for instance, consistently dons the same outfit.
It’s the same clothes he died in. Another rather obvious hint is that the camera switches to Malcolm when Cole, who is clearly horrified, whispers, “I see dead people.” Then there was that frosty anniversary meal at the restaurant. The wife doesn’t ignore the husband: He’s actually not there.
The Clue in the Breath
MacReady and Childs are the only two people to have made it out of their Alaskan research camp alive at the end of “The Thing”. And while they sit weary and share a bottle of scotch, they cannot help but feel suspicious of one another.
That’s because one of them may be the evil creature. The film ends before we find out, yet the truth is hidden in plain sight (and was even confirmed by the director). Cold weather causes MacReady’s breath to look like a cloud. However, Childs’ breath doesn’t, indicating that he’s not human.
The Spooky Painting in ‘The Mist’
Stephen King, the maestro of psychological horror, once again delivered a masterpiece in “The Mist”. In 2007, it was made into a well-respected motion picture (and a TV series in 2017, which was less critically acclaimed). This hidden secret is from the 2007 adaptation.
True Stephen King fans will know that the painting Thomas Jane is working on is not just any painting. It features the hero of “The Dark Tower” novel series, Roland Deschain, who was subsequently played by Idris Elba in the film adaptation. Everything just seems to link to each another.
Billy the Puppet in ‘Dead Silence’
As we mentioned earlier, James Wan, who directed the first “Saw” film, likes making subtle references to his previous work. He’s back at it once more. In the 2007 horror film “Dead Silence”, also directed by Wan, a ventriloquist’s ghost is responsible for several horrifying murders.
In other words, this one also has a puppet theme. As you’d expect, Wan had to find someplace to add Billy the puppet, the popular “Saw” mascot. He is easy to overlook in this gloomy setting, but he is seated right there on the floor.
Horror Classic References on the Whiteboard
Although this one is quite obvious, not everyone noticed it, so we’ll still give it a mention. “The Cabin in the Woods”, directed by Joss Whedon, undercuts several horror film clichés. The entire film pays spooky and humorous tribute to the genre while maintaining Whedon’s tone and wit.
There are several references to iconic horror movie villains and supernatural beings on this whiteboard in the laboratory as the engineers plot everything that will happen to the unlucky teenagers in the cabin. It’s unlikely that you missed it, but it’s OK if you did.
Pennywise’s Eye Color Changes
As if Pennywise, the evil clown who dances in “It,” wasn’t already unsettling enough, he can also change the color of his eyes. This eerie element, which was lifted from the novel, is only used once in the 2017 version. The first, most dramatic moment is when Pennywise meets George.
When Little George spots Pennywise in the storm drain while he is looking for his paper boat, he understandably gets intimidated. But there’s a reason why Pennywise’s eye color changes. Since George’s mother had blue eyes, Pennywise senses this and changes his eyes to make him feel more at ease.
The Fleeting Clues in ‘Hereditary’
Ari Aster’s directorial debut was one to remember, writing and directing the 2018 American supernatural horror film “Hereditary”. It is another with many clues. Since it is so difficult to notice the eerie ghosts in the original stills, we had to lighten the bottom images here.
These images hint at why “Hereditary” is one of those unnerving movies that make your skin crawl long after the final credits have ended. Although the truth is slowly revealed to us, hints are scattered throughout the film. And if you see them, you will have terrifying jump scares.
The German Word ‘Du’
“Goodnight Mommy” is a 2014 Austrian horror film written and directed by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala. If you speak German, you probably saw the twist in “Goodnight Mommy” before the rest of the audience. The mother refers to her twin boys as “du,” meaning “you,” while speaking to them.
However, “du” is only used when speaking to one person, in contrast to the English “you,” which may be used to refer to both one and numerous people. This is a clue that she can’t see her second son Lukas since he is actually dead.
The Naked Cult Members in ‘Hereditary’
Check the bottom image closely and compare it with the upper one. There is a sudden transition from day to night in this gorgeous outdoor scene from “Hereditary”. We just briefly see the home in both images. But just pause and pay closer attention to the night picture.
You’ll see that a ring of naked people is encircling the home. They just stand and stare, which is quite unsettling. And it won’t be until the film’s end that we get a good look at them or learn who they are. This one is almost impossible to spot.
Not Your Regular Pumpkin Carving
Although it’s not your typical horror film, the 2001 independent cult classic “Donnie Darko” is disturbing and contains some genuinely frightful moments. While this scene was sadly deleted, it hints at Danny’s deteriorating consciousness, which was invaded by the unsettling bunny Frank. Danny and his sister Elizabeth carve jack-o-lanterns.
The characters are played by real-life siblings Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal. However, we later discover that Danny didn’t carve a regular one. Instead, he created one that resembled Frank’s head. That’s a lot of connection that you normally won’t notice the first time you watch a movie, especially a horror one.
Alfred Hitchcock in ‘Psycho’
English director Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock KBE is recognized as one of the most important figures in the history of cinema. Hitchcock loved sneaking into his own movies for secret appearances. “Psycho” is one of his more famous works. His horror masterpiece opens with a shot through an office window.
In the first few minutes, a man stands outside in the street with a cowboy hat. That is, in fact, Mr. Hitchcock. He didn’t do much. Unfortunately, we are unsure of his exact motivation for making that appearance or whether it has any symbolic significance.
The Origin of Easter Eggs
The egg is known to be an ancient symbol of new life and has been associated with different pagan festivals celebrating spring. However, many people think that “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, a 1975 musical horror masterpiece, is where Easter eggs, or putting messages and hints in movies, first originated.
That’s because there are several scenes where real eggs can be seen. For instance, take this area beneath Riff Raff’s throne. It appears that crew members began scattering eggs wherever they could, which turned into a running joke. Fans still love looking for new ones to this day.
Dr. Loomis is a Nod to ‘Psycho’
In the “Halloween” series, Donald Pleasance portrays Dr. Sam Loomis, shown here on the photo on the right. He is the antagonist and Michael Myers’ psychiatrist. While he may not be the most important character in the movie, his name wasn’t chosen randomly.
His name, Dr. Sam Loomis, is an homage to the classic horror movie “Psycho”. There’s also another character played by John Gavin (the picture on the left) in “Psycho” named Sam Loomis. Despite their various differences, the films are usually compared because both succeed at creating suspense.
The Song in the First Scene of ‘The Shining’
Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of “The Shining” is a frightening one, but many people don’t know the first sense of dread came in the very first scene. This may be because we are already familiar with the plot, given that it is inspired by a Stephen King horror novel.
But the music, in the beginning, helps set the tone. “Dies Irae” is playing in the background as the little family drives to the hotel—which, unknown to them, would turn out to be a terrible mistake. “Dies Irae translates to “God of Wrath” in Latin.
An Homage to Kurt Russell
It doesn’t feel entirely right to say that Quentin Tarantino is recognized for his work in the horror genre, even though he often makes dark and unsettling films. In 2007, Tarantino made his first scarier film, “Death Proof”, and of course, he made his mark.
In typical Tarantino style, there were several Easter eggs hidden throughout the film. For example, Kurt Russell’s shirt in this scene is one of our favorites. As you can see, a memento of his appearance in “Big Trouble in Little China” is hanging on the wall. Very nice.
The Funeral Home’s Name in ‘Slither’
Although we have already mentioned this movie multiple times on our list, we can’t emphasize enough the iconic status that “The Thing” enjoys. It is unquestionably a classic movie that has influenced many other horror movies since it was released.
It is quite understandable that many horror movies try to pay homage to it. A scene in the 2006 horror film “Slither”—a movie that revolves around a strange alien illness that spreads throughout the planet—clearly references “The Thing”. The funeral home is named after MacReady!
Janet Leigh’s Car Returns
To be honest, only a few horror films have held up as well as “Psycho”. The Hitchcock thriller frightened people when it was released in 1960, and it’s still rather terrifying these days. The concept is ageless, and the execution is flawless.
“Halloween: H20” went out of its way to reference classic horror films like “Psycho” as a tribute, including casting Janet Leigh (she was the female lead in “Psycho”). But it doesn’t end there—Leigh also uses the same car from “Psycho” in “H20”!
Midwich Elementary School in ‘Silent Hill’
The movie “Silent Hill” is based on the classic video game of the same name. The game is regarded as an absolute masterpiece of atmospheric horror, and many contemporary video games have been influenced by it. However, the game isn’t the only place the movie drew inspiration from!
Have you ever noticed that Midwich Middle School is the name of the school in “Silent Hill”? That wasn’t just any random name chosen (and no, it wasn’t because it sounded like “witch”). Midwich is also the name of the school in “Village of the Damned”.
Pegg and Wright in ‘Land of the Dead’
If there is one good way to show how much you appreciate and admire other people’s work in show business, it is putting them in your film! This is even more regular in horror movies. The 2005 horror film “Land of the Dead” features many zombies.
And everything we love about post-apocalyptic flicks, including a desolate atmosphere and a bit of camp. The movie’s creators obviously loved “Shaun of the Dead”, so they did the ultimate honor by including the cast of “Shaun of the Dead” as zombies!
‘Cloverfield’ (2008) – The Dharma Initiative
One of those films that happened to be released at the perfect time is “Cloverfield”. At the time of its 2008 release, found footage movies were all the rage. Even though “The Blair Witch Project” had been released a bit earlier, people continued to like that movie genre.
“Cloverfield” made the most of that. Did you know that J.J. Abrams, who also created the TV show “Lost”, directed the movie “Cloverfield”? Don’t believe us? Take a look at this. You can just see the Dharma Initiative logo in the corner of one scene.
‘Night of the Creeps’ and ‘Monster Squad’
Maybe it’s just us, but if you don’t like horror films from the 1980s, you’re not really a horror fan. In all honesty, 80s horror movies definitely have the best camp vibe! It gives us the same eerie sense we get from stepping into a haunted house.
Here’s one campy horror film that referenced another. This little reference to “Monster Squad” is included in “Night of the Creeps”. However, the most bizarre aspect of this is that “Monster Squad” was actually released after “Night of the Creeps”. Now that’s what you call creepy.
Referencing the Necronomicon in Many Movies
It’s likely that you have come across the Necronomicon at some point if you enjoy horror films, television shows, or other types of media. This fictional book is said to possess a wide range of evil powers. It originally appeared in Lovecraft stories (a classic, right?).
It can now be seen in several horror films. The Necronomicon’s most well-known iteration is from the “Evil Dead” movies. Since it became so legendary, this spooky book then appeared in several subsequent films, including “Jason Goes to Hell”. As you can see, the book appears to be quite familiar.
Paying Respects to ‘Fangoria’
Have you ever read an issue of “Fangoria” magazine? If not, we’ll get you up to speed. “Fangoria” is the best horror magazine out there. This publication has almost exclusively focused on horror since its inception, giving you a fascinating look inside the making of some of your favorite films.
Director Sam Raimi chose to thank the magazine for its help when he first began making films by including a copy of “Fangoria” in one of his movies. Let’s see if you can find it in this “Army of Darkness” screenshot. Yup, it’s right in the middle.
See You Next Wednesday
Many horror films make a point of mentioning other influential works of the genre. However, horror film directors and writers are not just fans of the terrifying stuff. They like a wide variety of other films from different genres. Take John Landis, for example.
Despite his reputation for making spooky movies such as “American Werewolf in London”, he also loves “2001: A Space Odyssey”. He loves it so much that in “American Werewolf”, he even sneaked in the line, “see you next Wednesday.” It’s right there on the sign on the wall.
A Sweatshirt Paying Homage to Lovecraft
There really isn’t a writer as well respected and influential in the world of horror as H.P. Lovecraft. Okay, you might say that Edgar Allen Poe or Stephen King is on par with Lovecraft in terms of prestige, but Lovecraft truly is the greatest.
There have been several film adaptations of his works, but “Dagon” stands out. It was adapted from two Lovecraft stories and released in 2001. A character in one scene is wearing a sweater from Miskatonic University, a college that frequently appears in Lovecraft novels, as observant readers will notice.
Peter Jackson Didn’t Forget His Roots
We hate to say it, but there’s a common trend in Hollywood where people blow up and forget their roots. It’s sad, but just makes it even more rewarding when a superstar does reference where their humble beginnings. In this case, Peter Jackson comes to mind.
While you might associate him with low-budget horror films, that is actually how he started. The plot of one of Jackson’s early films, “Braindead (Dead Alive)”, was driven by Sumatran rat monkeys. Later, a box in his “King Kong” film references this. Talk about remembering your humble beginnings.
Do You Remember the Face from ‘The Exorcist’?
OK, we’re not even sure whether this one belongs on the list because it’s debatable whether it’s even an Easter egg. Regardless, we can’t go through such a list without an honorable mention. “The Exorcist” is undoubtedly one of the best horror films ever filmed.
Many people have even claimed that it was cursed during filming. We can’t say anything about that, but we can draw your attention to this creepy photo. That’s if you didn’t already see it. This face briefly flashes across the screen, giving the viewer a slight subliminal fright.
The Unsettling Music in ‘Get Out’
“Get Out” is one of those rare horror movies that only gets released once every decade or so. It has a lot to say: insightful, hilarious, and occasionally downright scary. It has excellent attention to detail and is really unique. This is best exemplified by the music.
The recurring theme that happens several times in the film features Swahili lyrics that translate to, “Brother, listen to the ancestors. Run!” Even without understanding, the movie scared us. Now, imagine people who speak Swahili. They were undoubtedly more scared than the other viewers in the theater.
A Tribute to ‘The Shining’ in ‘Toy Story’
This one is a little bit unfair because it is a horror film in a non-horror film, but we couldn’t resist including it. It really is that good. At first glance, it would seem like “Toy Story” is the furthest thing from a horror film series.
But the films have made many allusions to “The Shining”. The carpet that Woody and Buzz stand on in “Toy Story 4” is a pretty obvious visual homage. Does it seem recognizable? That’s because it’s the exact carpet that can be seen in the Overlook Hotel in “The Shining”!
Look at the Cans
Let’s talk more about the spooky theories surrounding “The Shining”. You likely already know that people have come up with all kinds of ridiculous theories, but this one is rather intriguing. Some people believe the genocide of Native Americans served as the inspiration for “The Shining”.
Maybe it’s true, maybe not. But you get the impression that this is the case when the hotel management states that the Overlook was constructed on an Indian burial place. Fans, however, also cite these Calumet cans as proof because they show up in spooky scenes.
The Real Skeletons in ‘Poltergeist’
The Easter eggs and tidbits that we have discussed thus far have largely been humorous. However, none of them were terrifying enough to give us the shivers on their own. Sure, some of them may have been slightly eerie simply because they were from horror movies.
On the other hand, this one… OK, “Poltergeist” is a really frightening movie overall, but this makes it even scarier. It appears that the skeletons at the end were real, authentic, literal human bones. Apparently, it was too expensive to create fake bones. So, this happened. Eww.
‘Poltergeist’ Gets Even Scarier
Many of us watched “Poltergeist” as kids. In retrospect, this was really messed up. “Poltergeist” is a terrifying film that’s absolutely not appropriate for young viewers. By now, we know that the last scene, in which one of the children is assaulted by a lifelike clown doll, is the scariest.
What you failed to see in this scene, though, is that during the attack, a photograph of Carol Anne on the wall transforms into a spooky black-and-white visage. This is beyond our understanding, but it is super creepy. How did we even get through this movie?
A Clue About the Monster
“Cloverfield” is one of our favorite horror films. The sense of mystery that characterizes it is among its coolest qualities. Although the movie itself was difficult to pin down, the promotion for the film undoubtedly intensified this sensation. You never actually get to see much of the creature.
That’s due to the found footage style of filming and the fact that its origins are completely unknown. Or are they? Although it’s not quite specific, many people have suggested that the film’s end serves as a hint. Something is seen falling into the water and making a splash.
Did That Crate Look Familiar?
“Jason Goes to Hell” isn’t really the highest-quality horror film. But what would the horror genre be if not for movies like this? In addition, one of the reasons we love “Jason Goes to Hell” is that it feels like an appreciation of the genre.
And the effect is further heightened with all the references to many classic horror movies in “Jason Goes to Hell”. The one above is an example. Do you remember the crate kept in the basement? Yup, it looks familiar. Well, that’s because it’s the one from “Creepshow”.