Pixar Has Been Referencing 'The Shining' In Their Movies For Decades, And Here's Why
We all watched Pixar movies when we were growing up. They were family friendly, funny, and full of heart. They were some of the few kids movies that even our parents would enjoy when we put them on.
But what you probably never realized was that many of your favorite Pixar movies have an unexpected connection to a horror movie.
That's right, movies like Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and even the recently released movie Coco all have ties back to one of the most iconic horror movies of all time.
The Shining came out in 1980 and it influenced a lot of future filmmakers. One of those people who became obsessed with it was Lee Unkrich.
Unkrich would go on to direct several Pixar movies and in each and every one he does, he likes to leave a little tribute to his favorite movie.
These little references and Easter eggs are fun to pick out, here are the ones you may not have noticed.
237 in 'Toy Story 3'
The number '237' obviously has a lot of relevance to The Shining because that is the room where Jack... well, you know.
But in the movie Toy Story 3, the number 237 pops up a number of times. The garbage truck has the number in the license plate, the security camera is model number R237, and even when they are messaging with someone online, the name is Velocistar237.
It's a subtle connection but because it's repeated so many times as a little shout out to The Shining.
The Intercom and Kleenex in 'Toy Story 3'
We remember watching Shelley Duvall talk into that intercom and being so afraid for her, but when you see that little monkey grab the identical one you may not have noticed at first that it was the same one.
I mean, obviously this one it animated, but it's the exact same style as the one from The Shining.
Also, on the other side of the monkey there is a Kleenex box, but if you take a closer look at the pattern on the side of it you might recognize it. Yep, it's the carpet from the hotel!
Sid's carpet in 'Toy Story'
That famous carpet pattern actually made its first appearance in the original Toy Story movie.
When the toys get taken into Sid's house where he plans to do all kinds of twisted experiments on them we realize that the creepy kid is actually living in a house with that haunting carpet.
I feel like if you had to live with that carpet it may turn you evil too...
"Heeeeere's Brucey" in 'Finding Nemo'
This one was probably easily caught by everyone who watched the movie. Even if you haven't seen The Shining you still know that reference.
When Bruce the shark gets a whiff of blood and forgets that "fish are friends, not food" and goes completely psycho, he bashes through a wall and paraphrases the iconic line "Here's Johnny!"
I honestly can't decide which would be scarier to deal with in real life though, a giant shark or a crazy Jack Nicholson... Both are pretty freaky.
The Janitor's name in 'Toy Story 3'
It's really hard to catch because it's not like anyone is talking to him, but the guy who almost spoils Woody's escape has a little name tag that reads "Mr. Tony."
Guess who else was named Tony? Danny calls the finger he talks to like a person Tony. Creepy.
The Grady Twins in 'Coco'
While this movie is brand new, it just proves that this director still hasn't given up on his mission to add The Shining into every Pixar movie ever.
At one point, Miguel runs past a painting that has two girls, who Unkrich claims are a "Dia de los Muertos-inspired version of the twin girls from The Shining."
Jack's Axe in 'Coco'
Unkrich confirmed this one himself as well, saying that the axe that is sitting behind Dante the dog is in fact modeled after Jack's axe that he uses to break down the door.
As a little bonus, coincidentally there happens to be a red drum behind that axe... Get it? Red drum?
When did this obsession start?
Unkrich obviously has been obsessed with The Shining for a long time, it's not a secret he's trying to hide (obviously).
With references in every movie he seems to make, it clearly means a lot to him.
He has talked about just how important it is to him and it's interesting to hear his reasoning.
"I saw it when I was 12, in 1980, for no particular reason other than that it was a new film in theaters. My mom took me to see it.
"She’d taken me to see a few bad horror films that had affected me really deeply in terms of having chronic nightmares. But still, that didn’t stop her from taking me to see this one.
"And it turned out to be the best move she ever made — because it began this 32-year love affair with the film. It was the film that inspired me to become a filmmaker myself."
Why does this obsession continue?
He's apparently wondered that himself for many years.
"I think a lot about that, and about why it’s stuck with me for so long.
"The compositions, the music, the writing — it all creates a mood that’s just so incredibly unsettling.
"Everybody that tries to do the same is just emulating what Kubrick tried to do in that film. But I think it also has to do with the fact that I’m an only child, and I spent a lot of time alone, in my house. So when I saw the film, I related to much of it."
He continues by explaining how he thinks that the age he was when he first saw it probably influenced his love of it.
"It’s a film that has these very primal, pit-of-your-stomach fears in it. I have a lot of memories of being a kid and being in empty spaces in my house, thinking maybe someone was in the house. The film still brings those fears out of me."
I guess some things just stick with you! Had you noticed these references before, or are you just realizing it now?
There are some other creepy details (okay, conspiracy theories) about Toy Story that change the way you watch it, especially surrounding the other kids in the movie.
If you love Pixar movies, you'll be happy to learn that they are actually building a Toy Story Land at Disney World! It's pretty awesome and even includes a Slinky dog roller coaster that I cannot wait to try out.
Also, there are a lot of interesting facts about Pixar in general that prove this company is in it for the long haul.
Source - Mental Floss / The Pixarist / Ranker / Vulture