No Guest Found in this category
Dark, delicious, and delectably detailed, Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina somehow managed to turn a former Archie comic character and ’90s sitcom mainstay into one of the most imaginative retellings to ever grace streaming media. Equal parts humorous and horrifying, Netflix’s take on the Sabrina property would quickly surpass the family-friendly iteration once made famous by Melissa Joan Hart and go on to capture the hearts of both audiences and critics alike.
Beautifully macabre and breathtakingly intoxicating, much of the spellbinding appeal of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s four-season run lay in its unabashed love of the horror genre and the many great films and shows which went before it. Drawing much of its inspiration from some of the most iconic fright fests to ever grace the silver screen, the show’s makers often punctuated episodes with many hidden easter eggs that paid homage to the classic movies which inspired them.
With Ms. Wardwell/Lilith herself, Michelle Gomez, set to join us once more in Perth (24-25 June), we thought it would be timely to take a look at some of Sabrina’s most surprising horror references and hidden easter eggs.
Series creator and showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa did not waste any time filling his Sabrina adaptation with references to classic horror films, with the first episode’s opening scene already containing not one, but two horror deep cuts. When audiences first meet Kiernan Shipka’s Sabrina Spellman she is busy watching the classic 1968 zombie film Night of the Living Dead. What audiences may have missed, however, is that the cinema Sabrina visits is also the very same Paramount Theater featured in the 1990 miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s IT.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Considered one of the most celebrated horror films of all time, and largely responsible for igniting Hollywood’s growing preoccupation with the demonic, Sabrina has more than a few nods to Rosemary’s Baby. Not only is Sabrina’s iconic red dress with the white lace collar a direct reference to a look donned once by Mia Farrow, but in episode one Michelle Gomez’s Ms. Wardwell name drops “Dr. Saperstein” when she discovers a disheveled young woman in the middle of the road. Dr. Saperstein is, in fact, the name of the cultist who delivers Satan’s child with Farrow’s Rosemary.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Another blink and you’ll miss it horror reference, the Season 4 finale of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina includes a subtle call-back to the much-maligned Halloween III: Season of the Witch. The only Halloween film not to feature the knife-wielding Michael Myers, instead the plot of Season of the Witch revolves around a nefarious plot to brainwash the children of America using Halloween costumes produced by the Silver Shamrock Novelties company. The three costumes in question? A witch, a skeleton, and a jack ‘o lantern, the same as those worn by the three children who appear on the Spellman’s doorstep.
A supernatural horror film by Italian filmmaker Dario Argento, Suspiria tells the story of an American ballet student who transfers to a prestigious German dance academy only to discover it houses a witch’s coven with sinister intentions. While a more recent 2018 remake features the likes of Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton, the original 1977 film featured an iconic scene where a dancer plunges to her death through a stained-glass skylight. The same skylight can be found adorning the main parlour of the Spellman’s house.
Another sneaky reference are the doors to Father Blackwood’s office at the Academy of Unseen Arts, which had also been made to resemble a similar set of doors featured in the film.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Kiernan Shipka’s Sabrina isn’t the only cast member to get a wardrobe nod to a classic horror film, and during Season 1, Ross Lynch’s Harvey Kinkle can be spotted wearing a white and blue shirt with the number 10 and a pair of headphones. This is a direct reference to the character of Glen Lantz in Wes Craven’s original A Nightmare on Elm Street.
Perhaps one of the most significant horror movie nods hidden throughout Chilling Adventures of Sabrina are the many references to Hellraiser and its creator, the iconic master of horror Clive Barker. Not only does Ms. Wardwell’s cottage boast the same tiles and wallpaper featured in the Cotton house from 1987’s Hellraiser, but Barker himself loaned over 150 original artworks to help adorn the Academy of the Unseen Arts and lend it its unique look. Moreover, Father Blackwood’s office also contains an accent table designed to resemble Hellraiser’s infamous puzzle cube.
Fans can get a chance to learn what other special treats are hidden throughout Chilling Adventures of Sabrina when they are given the chance to meet Madame Satan herself, Michelle Gomez at Supanova in Perth (24-25 June), with tickets now available through Moshtix.
Lead Image: Kiernan Shipka and Michelle Gomez in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Credit: Diyah Pera/Netflix