The Best Horror Homages in ‘Ready Player One’

Chris Tilly
Movies Horror
Movies Horror

Ready Player One is filled with movie references, featuring stone-cold classics like Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, and Saturday Night Fever. Alongside the blockbusters however, horror films also play a surprisingly prominent role in proceedings. Even though Ernest Cline — writer of the book and co-writer of the screenplay — isn’t a horror guy.

“That’s the one weak spot in my ’80s knowledge,” he told FANDOM during the film’s London junket. “I’m like Aech in the film; I didn’t like scary movies. I would force myself to watch the ones I felt I had to. Usually, science-fiction horror was what I would be familiar with, like The Thing or Aliens.”

In spite of Cline’s aversion to the genre, multiple horror Easter Eggs made it into the movie. With the following FANDOM’s favourites.

Though one is a MASSIVE SPOILER. So click away now if you haven’t watched the film yet.


The Alien chestburster.

Following Wade Watts’ triumph in the street race quest, his avatar Parzival becomes something of a celebrity in the OASIS, with fans clamouring for selfies and autographs as Blondie’s One Way or Another plays on the soundtrack.

A man approaches Parzival and takes him to a room around the corner, away from the crowd. Where an alien promptly bursts out of said bloke’s chest. In homage to the iconic chestburster scene in Alien. Though while the sequence kicks off scary, it’s then played for laughs, with the now chest-free fellow revealing himself to be Art3mis in disguise.

The Shining

The Shining twins.

We’ve already covered how and why changes have been made to the quests in the movie version of Ready Player One. With the biggest departure being our heroes having to survive the events of The Shining for quest two. Meaning they encounter the creepy twins. Get taken out by that ocean of blood. And confront the horrors of Room 237.

Cline says the inclusion of the film was largely director Steven Spielberg’s idea. “We made a list of ’80s films, and Stanley Kubrick only made one or two movies in the ’80s,” he explained. “When Steven saw The Shining on our list, he immediately started to geek out about the thought of recreating The Shining.”

Horror Icons

Our third choice is a bit of a cheat as it concerns multiple movies and characters. But they are making the briefest of cameos. And kind of fit into the same category. As Cline told FANDOM: “I would avoid Freddy, Jason and Chucky [when I was a kid]. But Freddy, Chucky and Jason are all in our movie.”

So if you’re paying close attention, particularly during the final battle, you’ll spy Krueger, Voorhees, and the doll from Child’s Play slashing their way through the crowds. Meaning three icons of 1980s horror are all in the mix.

Ready Player One is out now.

Chris Tilly
FANDOM Managing Editor in the UK. At this point my life is a combination of 1980s horror movies, Crystal Palace football matches, and episodes of I'm Alan Partridge. The first series. When he was in the travel tavern. Not the one after.
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