Stephen King easter eggs

Update: Now that The Dark Tower is out, we’ve updated our handy guide to the Stephen King easter eggs hidden in the movie.

With the release of The Dark Tower, it marks the (hopefully) first film adaptation of Stephen King‘s multi-novel magnum opus. Our own Jacob Hall will have a full interview with director Nikolaj Arcel here on the site in the coming days, but during their Comic-Con chat, Arcel teased that The Dark Tower will contain easter eggs reference King’s 1975 novel Salem’s Lot, and we’ve seen in previous trailers that there are references to The Shining, It, and more.

Spoilers for The Dark Tower ahead.

In the Dark Tower books, the titular tower is a gateway to the many worlds within King’s works. A brief teaser for The Dark Tower debuted at Entertainment Weekly highlights most of the Stephen King easter eggs that the film has in store for us. Here are the ones spotted in the teaser and the movie itself.

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The Shining

At the beginning of the movie, Jake is forced to see a psychiatrist to discuss his strange dreams and visions. However, in the middle of his therapy session, there’s an earthquake — caused by the Man in Black’s attack on the Tower — and the movie makes a quick cut to the therapist’s desk. On that desk is a framed picture of the Overlook Hotel, the eerie setting of King’s The Shining. The picture is from Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation of The Shining starring Jack Nicholson.

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Another possible reference to The Shining is this shot of two twins, who are prisoners of the Man in Black, which fans speculate is a nod to the terrifying Grady Twins.

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It

Jake discovers an abandoned theme park with a very familiar name to it: Pennywise. That’s right, the name of It’s murderous clown pops up in The Dark Tower, one month before Andy Muschietti‘s adaptation of It hits theaters in September.

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“The Shine

Jake’s prophetic powers and visions are referred to as “The Touch” in the Dark Tower books, what the residents of Mid-World use to refer to children who have the ability to see reality beyond their natural senses. “The Touch” is swapped out for “The Shine” in the movie, and is what Jake and Roland have in common with each other, as well as other children in King’s stories. Namely, Danny Torrance in The Shining, who has the ability to see the malicious spirits in the Overlook Hotel and talk to his not-so-imaginary friend Tony. “The Shine” has popped up in other King books as well, including The Stand, which describes prophetic visions as “the shining lamp of God… sometimes just the shine.”

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The Shawshank Redemption

In addition to shots that reference It’s Pennywise the Clown and The Shining’s Overlook Hotel, we also get a look at gunslinger Roland Deschain (Idris Elba) turning a corner and smacking his hand against a poster of actress Rita Hayworth, which played an important role obscuring Andy Dufresne’s escape tunnel in The Shawshank Redemption.

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Cujo

Recognize that pedestrian’s canine companion? It’s Cujo, the dog who becomes rabid and institutes a reign of terror over a small town in the 1992 film adaptation of King’s novel.

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Christine

There’s no mistaking that shiny red and white paint job: that’s Christine, the 1958 Plymouth Fury from John Carpenter‘s 1983 spin on King’s book.

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Mr. Mercedes

I haven’t read King’s 2014 novel Mr. Mercedes, but after seeing the trailer for the upcoming TV adaptation, that smiley face is an easy reference to point out.

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Misery

Since I’ve only read the first Dark Tower book, I don’t know if it’s canon that Matthew McConaughey‘s Walter (aka the Man in Black) actually has time to read author Paul Sheldon’s novels from Misery during all of his scheming while he attempts to bring the mystical Dark Tower crashing to the ground. I prefer to think that one of his underlings just left this copy of “Misery’s Child” near his keyboard as a suggestion for something Walter should read in his spare time. “Hey Walter, I know you’re kind of busy being devious and stuff all the time, but you should really check this out!”

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1408

And finally, this portal between worlds has the numbers 1408 scrawled above it, which seems like a pretty clear shout-out to King’s short story and the John Cusack/Samuel L. Jackson movie adaptation of it.

dark tower easter egg children of the corn

Children of the Corn

After the Man in Black’s attack on a friendly village, Jake takes cover in a corn field. The cornfield imagery can be seen as a nod toward Stephen King’s 1977 short story Children of the Corn, later adapted to film in 1984, about a remote town whose children are involved in a killer cult.

Head over to EW to see some more potential easter eggs in their teaser, and let us know in the comments how you’re feeling about this movie.

This Dark Tower teaser below references The Shining, It, The Shawkshank Redemption, Carrie, Christine, and The Stand. As Jacob Hall noted in our chat room, this feels more like it should be a teaser for the Hulu TV series Castle Rock, which is set in the Stephen King multiverse, rather than promoting a movie that will barely touch on these properties.

The Dark Tower is currently playing in theaters.

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