Horror flicks usually aren’t shy about big reveals. The killer will show his face, the monster will emerge from the shadows — you get the drill. However, a few horror classics go out of their way to hide fascinating details that often go unnoticed for years.
Filmmakers for these iconic scarefests included easter eggs in their works we bet you’ve never spotted before. Revealing these subtle moments and callbacks will undoubtedly change the way you look at these films forever, but beware: the scariest thing you find in this list may be spoilers…
1. The Thing: If only the researchers spoke another language, they could’ve saved themselves a lot of trouble. When a husky runs into their camp, a Norwegian stranger — whom they ignore — yells in his native tongue, “That’s not a dog, it’s some sort of thing! It’s imitating a dog, it isn’t real!”
2. Scream: Just because director Wes Craven is a master of horror doesn’t mean he’s afraid to poke fun at himself. He cameos as a janitor in his first Scream flick dressed like his most famous creation, Freddy Krueger.
3. A Quiet Place: Human survivors in this horror have to keep silent, or blind aliens will hunt them down. That’s why all the bags of potato chips in this pillaged grocery store are still on the shelves. They’re too noisy to eat!
4. It: You’ll probably miss this detail the first time around, but Pennywise the Clown can turn his eyes from yellow to blue. He does this to lure George Denbrough, who also has blue eyes, into the sewer.
Reddit / DrAneurysm
5. The Dark Tower: Speaking of Stephen King’s evil clown, this 2017 flick references Pennywise. The young protagonist Jake wanders through an abandoned fairground, which features some creepy balloons and the clown’s name on a sign. Just another connection in the multi-layered King universe!
6. Land of the Dead: Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright lovingly spoofed the zombie genre in Shaun of the Dead. Iconic director George A. Romero was so impressed that he gave the two of them undead cameos in his 2005 film.
7. Halloween H20: Janet Leigh made horror history in Psycho, in which she drove a stylish Ford sedan. When she appeared onscreen with daughter Jamie Lee Curtis in this Halloween sequel, she was driving the exact same car! Her character here is even named Norma, after Norman Bates’ mother.
8. Final Destination: Before it drops its Rube Goldberg methods of death upon various characters, Final Destination likes to hint at their demises. Before a ladder impales Evan’s eye, for example, magnetic letters spell out the word “eye” on his refrigerator.
9. Hereditary: One exterior shot of the Graham house abruptly cuts from day to night. Once the shadows fall, you can briefly see a ring of cult members surrounding the entire house, though we don’t see them up close until the end of the film.
Reddit / thejohnblog
10. Rosemary’s Baby: To include a bit of levity in an otherwise dark story, Rosemary Woodhouse breaks the fourth wall. When speaking with a neighbor, Rosemary mentions she looks just like model Victoria Vetri. The neighbor responds that she gets that all the time. Funnily enough, Vetri is the actress playing her!
11. Saw: Most viewers don’t figure out the identity of the Jigsaw Killer until the end of the movie, though it’s secretly revealed partway through. This shot shows cancer patient John Kramer lying next to a series of sketches. Close inspection reveals they’re the murderer’s devious traps!
12. Donnie Darko: This deleted scene shows just how much Frank the rabbit has permeated Donnie’s consciousness. When he and his sister carve jack-o’-lanterns, he makes his out to be in the exact shape of Frank’s face.
Reddit / comatthew
13. Psycho: Master of Suspense Alfred Hitchcock loved making blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameos in his films. One of his most difficult to spot appearances comes in the opening minutes of Psycho. You can see him sporting a cowboy hat through an office window.
Alfred Hitchcock Wiki
14. Insidious: Not unlike Wes Craven, scare maestro James Wan enjoys referencing his previous films. In 2011’s Insidious, a chalk portrait of Billy the Puppet from the Saw franchise pops up behind Patrick Wilson.
15. Cabin in the Woods: This Drew Goddard/Joss Whedon film is basically a love letter to the horror genre, with too many references to count. The most obvious one is when the mysterious underground facility lists all the monsters – many taken from other movies — they can unleash on their victims.
16. Signs: The news footage scene of this M. Night Shyamalan fright-fest is probably its scariest, with one of the sinister aliens emerging in a Brazil alleyway. Shyamalan modeled its stride and blurry appearance after the famous Bigfoot photo.
Reddit / SollyMcFatNeck
17. Slither: This film made no secret that it took a lot of inspiration from John Carpenter’s The Thing. It even features a sign for a funeral home run by R.J. Macready, the main character played by Kurt Russell in the 1982 movie.
18. The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Some people believe the term “easter egg” may have originated with this cult classic. Crew members scattered literal eggs all over the set, and viewers still enjoy trying to spot new ones in the background.
19. Shaun of the Dead: When Simon Pegg’s character wants to organize a dinner at a local seafood restaurant, he looks up a place called Fulci’s in the phonebook. This is a reference to Italian filmmaker Lucio Fulci, known in film circles as the Godfather of Gore.
20. The Shining: The number 42 shows up all over this Stanley Kubrick masterpiece. It’s on Danny Torrance’s shirt, a license plate, and in the movie Summer of ’42, which plays on a TV in the hotel. Critics don’t agree on what exactly this pattern means, but it may represent the inevitability of history repeating itself.
Another Shining theory relates back to the conspiracy that the 1969 moon landing was faked with the help of director Stanley Kubrick. Supposedly, the filmcontained an apology when Danny discovers Room 237 — a reference to the hypothesized distance between the Earth and the moon (237,000 miles). Not convinced? Take a look at Danny’s sweater…
21. The Fast And The Furious: These films have only continued to grow in absurdity since the first was released in 2001, and one Reddit fan theory suggests that this is because the franchise models a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. Basically, each film follows the same characters as they “level-up” and gain new abilities (i.e. cars).
22. The Witch: The 2015 hit horror film from Robert Eggers told the story of a Puritan family terrorized by the eponymous witch. If Redditor secretly_an_alpaca is correct, however, there was no witch. Instead, the family is suffering from starvation and hypothermia; essentially, they’re hallucinating.
23. Signs: Some believe the invading aliens in this 2002 thriller were actually demons because Mel Gibson’s character considers his daughter’s birth to be holy. Then, it’s she who leaves glasses of water around the house, which are ultimately the undoing of the demon-aliens.
24. Mad Max: Fury Road: According to one Redditor, this action flick also contains some serious metaphors. He believes Max is actually one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, specifically Death. The other horsemen would be Immortan Joe (Pestilence), the Bullet Farmer (War), and the People Eater (Famine).
25. Star Wars: Love him or hate him, a new theory suggests that the clumsy Gungan may be hiding a dark secret: he’s a Sith lord! The theory centers around Jar Jar being seen around Emperor Palpatine constantly, uses hand gestures reminiscent of Jedi mind tricks, and convinces the Senate to grant Palpatine emergency powers.
26. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Some believe that Ferris’s sidekick pal, Cameron, may have really represented both Ferris and Cam. Essentially, believers say he had multiple personality disorder, and, like Tyler Durden in Fight Club, he was really imagining himself as Ferris.
27. Field of Dreams: In the 1989 film, farmer Ray Kinsella has visions that cause him to build a baseball field for the ghosts of dead Chicago White Sox players. Along the way, he meets Terrence Mann, a reclusive author, who eventually joins the effort. One theory suggests that Mann was also a ghost the entire time.
28. The Dark Knight: While this film will forever be tied to Heath Ledger’s incredible performance — and untimely death — some have dug deeper to find its hidden secrets. One of the biggest unsolved mysteries of the movie is the Joker’s backstory, with some believing that he was actually an Iraq War veteran.
The Dark Knight
29. Back To The Future: While the original Future film is a spectacular 1980s romp through time, some say it hides a dark message. Specifically, some believe Doc Brown is actually suicidal, as evidenced by his standing in the way of the speeding DeLorean.
30. E.T.: Director Steven Spielberg is good friends with Star Wars creator George Lucas, and some say that’s why Yoda makes an appearance in the film. But when E.T.’s species showed up in one of the Star Wars prequels, people started to suspect something: E.T. might just have been a Jedi!
31. The Rock: Given the backstory of Sean Connery’s character James Mason in the 1996 film — he’s an ex-intelligence officer whose identity officially no longer exists — some say he’s actually later-in-life James Bond. Sean Connery did play both characters, after all.
32. RoboCop: The origin story of 1980s action hero RoboCop might sound a little familiar: he’s killed in the prime of his life, resurrected shortly afterward, and ventures forth to cleanse the world of sin. Some say this makes him a Jesus allegory, a claim partially confirmed by Director Paul Verhoeven.
33. In X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Deadpool’s head is cut off. In X-Men: The Last Stand, Jean Grey and Cyclops are both killed, but when time is reset in X-Men: Days of Future Past, they’re back. One theory says that Deadpool was also resurrected, which is how he came to star in his 2016 film.
34. Wizard of Oz: A popular theory surrounding this film is based around the fact that nearly everyone in Dorothy’s Kansas life is represented in Oz… except for her! So, the theory says since Dorothy crushed the Wicked Witch of the East when she arrives, that’s who she was in Oz.
The Wizard of Oz
35. Ex-Machina: Though Oscar Isaac’s character’s dream to create the perfect AI seems to come to fruition through Ava, one theory suggests it was his other android, Kyoko, that was truly perfect. This is largely based on the idea that Ava is unable to show emotion or kill her creator, both of which Kyoko is able to do.
36. The Big Lebowski: The enduring fan theory that has followed this film since its release is that Donny is actually just a figment of Walter’s imagination. The Dude never really interacts with him, and some believe Donny is an old war buddy of Walter’s who died in Vietnam.
37. The Dark Knight Rises: At the end of the movie, Bruce Wayne as Batman flies off with a bomb, which explodes safely away from Gotham City (but likely kills him). Then, Alfred spots him in Italy, meaning that he managed to escape the blast after all. Some, however, say this was all in Alfred’s imagination.
38. Inception: In the final moments of the film, Cobb seems to have succeeded and spins his totem. But before it can fall and confirm what we’re seeing is reality, the movie cuts to black. Some, though, say this doesn’t matter because his actual totem is his wedding ring, which he isn’t wearing in this scene — or any other that takes place in the real world.
39. Aladdin: Being that Aladdin is a children’s movie, this film doesn’t seem like one that would lend itself well to crazy theories. However, some believe the story is actually set in a post-apocalyptic future. That’s why the Genie is so well-versed in modern pop-culture!