Easter weekend is upon us: Cadbury eggs. Bunnies. Easter egg hunts. For movie lovers everywhere, what better way to celebrate than with a few great Easter eggs on-screen!
Easters egg are a hidden detail left to delight viewers: A message, foreshadowing, callback, or otherwise delightful clue left for eagle-eyed fans. Filmmakers from David Fincher to The Coen Bros to Quentin Tarantino use these veiled references to wink at the audience as if to say, “You’re in the know now, you’re an insider.” Where did the phrase “Easter egg” come from, anyway? Legend has it the cast and crew of The Rocky Horror Picture Show had a literal easter egg hunt before shooting began. A few of the eggs weren’t found and ended up in the movie – hiding in plain sight! The term stuck and the rest is Hollywood history.
Without further ado, here are a few notable Easter eggs for your Easter weekend. Happy hunting!
At its core, Fight Club is about the struggle against consumerism and capitalism.
Director David Fincher made a deliberate choice in symbolizing the shackles of these systems: Starbucks. With their permission, Fincher put a Starbucks cup in virtually every scene of the movie: Whether in the background or being actively consumed, Starbucks became a statement about consumer culture overkill.
He later said, “I don’t have anything personal against Starbucks. I think they’re trying todo a good thing. They’re just too successful.”
Grande mocha, anyone?
Scream king Wes Craven gave us one big wink with his 90s blockbuster Scream. With satirical and wry humor, the film serves up terrific scares while packed with little gifts for those paying attention.
In one such moment, Linda Blair of Exorcist fame makes a cameo (uncredited, no less) as a reporter outside Sydney’s school. This small-yet-deliberate piece of casting is the stuff of Easter egg dreams.
The movie’s iconic cold open of Drew Barrymore’s death was also a nod to classic horror.
While Barrymore had signed on for Scream, she requested a smaller role in order to work on other projects. Craven saw this as an opportunity: Because she was a big movie star, audiences would assume she was the film’s lead. Giving her a swift and gruesome death would be shocking – a device also employed by Alfred Hitchcock in killing off Janet Leigh in the first half of Psycho.
Finally, the ill-fated Principal of Sydney’s high school, played by Henry Winkler, has a scene where we see his famous Fonzie leather jacket in the closet. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it!
The Tarantino Universe
It’s no secret most of Tarantino films are interconnected in some small, obscure way. The director himself admitted all his films “live in the same parallel universe”. As such, there’s a treasure trove of easter eggs to discover.
For instance, Tarantino characters often reference the same name across movies, as though it could be the same person. One of those is “a nurse named Bonnie” who is referenced in
Reservoir Dogs, True Romance and Pulp Fiction.
He also references the last name “Vega” across much of his cinematic catalog: in Reservoir Dogs the real name of the sadistic “Mr. Blonde” is Vic Vega; in Pulp Fiction John Travolta’s character is Vincent Vega. In Tarantino’s universe, these two characters are brothers. The director toyed with the idea of making a movie about their backstory, however it never came to fruition.
These are just a tip of the iceberg – Easter eggs aplenty for legions of Tarantino fans!
Pixar has become rather famous for its use of Easter eggs. From cheeky cameos to subtle industry jokes, the animators at Pixar are certainly having fun.
These delightful details date back most notably to 1995’s blockbuster Toy Story. When we’re first introduced to Andy’s playroom, we see an oversized Mickey Mouse watch on the wall. With this slight tip of the hat, Pixar pays homage to the Walt Disney Company who financed the making of Toy Story (not before a few initial rejections, though!)
Believe it or not, Toy Story also has a number of references to the horror classic The Shining. The carpet in villain Sid Phillips room (from which Woody and Buddy are trying to escape) is the exact same pattern as that in the Overlook Hotel – likely representing being trapped.
The number 237 appears several times in the film, the room number of the hugely creepy room at the hotel. Why The Shining, you may ask? Lee Unkrich, editor of Toy Story, was a self-proclaimed superfan of the Stanley Kubrick classic. Unkrich later co-directed the other three Toy Story films, sneaking The Shining references into all.
As an interesting aside, Pixar began as a small computer graphics company formed by George Lucas and owned by Steve Jobs – unto itself is a little-known Easter egg!
Many filmmakers wink at their audiences with brief on-screen appearances.
In one famous installment, Francis Ford Coppola plays an army TV director in Apocalypse Now, shouting orders at a confused Captain Willard (Martin Sheen): “It’s for television! Don’t look
at the camera…just do like you’re fighting!”
And long before Easter eggs were a thing, Alfred Hitchcock made cameos in 39 of the 52 films he directed.
Perhaps most famous was his cameo in 1960’s The Birds, when he passes lead Tippi Hedren exiting a pet shop. And yes, those were Hitchcock’s actual dogs.
Marvel Comics icon Stan Lee also immortalized on-screen cameos, appearing in 22 Marvel movies from X-Men to Sam Raime’s Spider-Man trilogy.
In one particularly amusing cameo, Lee appears as a Hugh Hefner look-alike in Iron Man. Tony Stark pats Lee on the back (who is surrounded by women) and says: “Looking great, Heff!”
However, Lee was credited as playing himself. Wink wink, nudge nudge.
There you have it. Next time you kick back with movie, keep your eyes peeled for those sneaky Easter eggs. They can give rise to a real connection and new level of cinematic experience!
If nothing else, it’ll make you the most interesting person at your next cocktail party.
If you are not a current DISH subscriber and want to watch classic movies on DISH, click this link to browse our packages and find the right package for you!