In Scare Me, Fanny and Fred make up their own stories but they also reference several iconic horror movies; here are each of them and what they mean.
WARNING! Spoilers for Scare Me ahead.
In Scare Me, the main characters offer viewers several Easter eggs from some of the horror genre’s most iconic characters, lines, and voices. While they may appear to be brief nods at movies such as The Shining and Alien, they actually capture the characterization of Scare Me‘s two main characters, Fred and Fanny. Scare Me is part of the horror streaming service Shudder’s 2020 programming for their 61 days of Halloween.
Starring Aya Cash as Fanny and Josh Ruben as Fred, the movie follows two horror authors who find themselves telling each other scary stories in hopes of crafting the most terrifying tale. From the very beginning, Fred appears to be a troubled individual who wants to become a writer, but doesn’t have the drive. On the other hand, Fanny is a successful novelist with a bestseller that features zombies and social commentary. They are entirely different from each other. As tensions slowly rise in the cabin, Fred becomes passive-aggressive with Fanny, and culminates with the big reveal that he wants her to suffer for achieving his dream so easily.
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While the reveal seemingly came from nowhere, the horror movie references and Easter eggs were all building up to the moment that Fred would unveil his true self and intentions. Within the first ten minutes of Scare Me, he covertly reveals how the movie will end with one single movie reference, making each one all the more important in retrospect. Here’s every horror movie Easter egg in Scare Me and what they mean for the characters as well as the movie’s plot.
The first Easter egg occurs shortly after the lights go out in Fred’s cabin. As he looks around, he impersonates Jack Nicholson’s character, Jack Torrance, from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. More specifically, he copies the actor’s voice at the moment he becomes overtaking by the Overlook Hotel and its spirits. When Scare Me comes to an end, Fred chases Fanny through the house, and mocks her for the ideas she writes in her notebook. By referencing Jack Torrance in the very beginning of the movie, it establishes that Fred will snap at some point and go after the woman he is locked in a cabin with.
Tales From The Crypt
Right before Fred begins his werewolf story, Fanny gives an impersonation of the Crypt Keeper from Tales From The Crypt. The two express that it is one of their favorite shows of all time, and continue to go back in forth speaking in the character’s voice. It establishes that Fanny and Fred share a common interest besides horror writing, they also share the same favorite television show. Furthermore, it ties the anthology elements in Scare Me to one of the genre’s greatest horror anthologies of all time.
In the midst of Fred’s story, he references Poltergeist. The werewolf story includes a young boy whose parents die at the hands of the beast. Prior to their death, the storyteller describes a tree that resembles the one from this iconic Tobe Hooper movie. When Fanny first enters Fred’s cabin, he asks to see her notebook of ideas. In response to his request, she declines because of her experience with people like him who have stolen from her. His story is filled with references to an array of horror movies, inadvertently revealing that he cannot make up his own story. Fred has needed to steal his ideas from others in order to find success.
As the mother in Fred’s story raises her pistol to the werewolf, she quotes one of the greatest shark horror movies of all time—Jaws. Fanny even tells him that it reminds her of the movie, and he responds by saying that it is his favorite of all time. This is another reference that showcases how Fred takes from other influential works of horror with the hopes of creating his own masterpiece. At the same time, it could also be Josh Ruben putting a bit of himself in the character he portrays.
Nearly every horror movie Easter egg happens while Fred is telling his story. As Fanny watches him act out his tale, she references Underworld’s Lycans which, according to the franchise’s lore, are one of the oldest forms of the creature in the world. Both stories feature revenge plots with the Lycans who seek revenge for how the vampires have treated them for centuries, and the little boy who wants vengeance for his parents’ deaths. This moment is likely Fanny’s realization that he is taking a lot of influence from other horror movies, due to her follow-up.
Right after her Lycan comment, Fred states that the little boy is hiding from the werewolf in his closet. As he describes how he feels awaiting the killer beast’s approach, Fanny immediately remarks that the scene mirrors Laurie Strode’s from Halloween. Fred brushes the comment off and continues the story, but Fanny gives him a confused look. This action by Fred seems to speak towards his disdain for women, and serves as a way to make him even more irritated with his fellow storyteller’s vast knowledge on the genre. Fred does not like Fanny, no matter how hard he tries, and his dismissal of whatever she has to say further solidifies this fact.
Fred’s story finally ends, and it’s Fanny’s turn. In her gruesome tale, she features a Slavic grandfather, his dog, and his granddaughter. The old man grows increasingly ill, and the little girl wants to help him by giving him medicine in his food. While Fanny tells how she sprinkled the medication on his food, she says that she does so like Paul Sheldon in Misery. Coincidentally, this movie also takes place in a cabin during the winter time with a man and a woman as its main characters. This makes the Misery reference a perfect choice to encapsulate the relationship between Fred and Fanny. When the two first meet, he tells her that he is a fan of her work. In Misery, Kathy Bates’s Annie Wilkes relays the same sentiment to Paul Sheldon right before she kidnaps him and forces him to write a novel she would be satisfied with. In this instance, Fred mirrors Annie.
The final horror movie reference in Scare Me occurs after the pizza man, Carlo (Chris Redd), shows up with their half-veggie and half-cheese pizza. In Fanny’s final story, she portrays a woman named Beth who has made a deal with the devil to attain all that she desires. While performing in a musical competition, she is overtaken by the entity and begins to sing a song of murder and bloodlust. As the song nears its end, she says that the devil’s hand bursts through her like in the iconic scene in Ridley Scott’s Alien. This is the only sci-fi horror movie reference that they make, and appears to have no real significance except for the fact that Fanny appreciates stories about powerful women, such as Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver).
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