The Shining Easter Eggs You Might Not Have Noticed In The Toy Story Movies

Based on Stephen King's novel of the same name, Stanley Kubrick's horror film "The Shining" is the terrifying tale of a father (a maniacally evil performance by Jack Nicholson) who turns homicidal when isolated over the winter with his family in a hotel with a supernatural presence. 

"The Shining" has become part of the pop culture pantheon and been referenced in countless films, including the classic Pixar "Toy Story" quadrilogy. Some of these Easter eggs are obvious and recognized immediately, but others are subtle and more difficult to find.

Overlook Hotel Motifts

One of the most noticeable references is in the first "Toy Story" movie. Sid, Andy's diabolical next-door neighbor who likes to torture toys, lives in a house with the same geometric carpet design as the Overlook Hotel in "The Shining." As in Stanley Kubrick's film, the odd shapes and queasy yellow color emphasize the unsettling feeling of being trapped in a terrifying labyrinth hunted by a psychopath.

The numbers 237, referencing the haunted room in the Overlook Hotel where the rotting ghost of a drowned woman lurks, appear throughout "Toy Story 3" because director Lee Unkrich is reportedly a huge "The Shining" fan. Woody online messages a dinosaur with the username Velocistar237, the Sunnyside Daycare security camera is the model Overlook R237, and a garbage truck license plate reads RM237.

A major "Toy Story 4" Easter egg is the song "Midnight, the Stars and You," performed by Ray Noble and His Orchestra, which appears in the final scene of "The Shining" that pans into a photograph of a smiling Jack Torrance amongst other Overlook guests at the July Fourth Ball in 1924. This eerie conclusion reiterates that Jack has "always been the caretaker" and his soul is now trapped in the Overlook Hotel. In "Toy Story 4," the song comes from a record player when Woody and Forky enter the creepy antiques shop, suggesting that they could be also be imprisoned forever there. "Toy Story 4" director Josh Cooley, who loves "The Shining," elaborated on this reference in a press conference (per 

"So just the fact that we were going to be in a creepy place, having the old record player, that was essential. And we put that in as scratch at first, and just temporary. And I loved — it just made me happy. And then, we were able to actually use it and I just went over the moon. I just loved it so much."

The song continues to play when Woody meets Gabby Gabby, a perky doll based on Chatty Cathy, but with a broken voice box. Her yellow polka dot dress with a sash in the middle and Peter Pan collar echo the spooky Grady twins' costumes in "The Shining's" infamous hallway scene. One of Gabby Gabby's henchmen, the ventriloquist dummy named Benson (who looks ripped out of James Wan's "Dead Silence"), references the "Here's Johnny" scene when he puts his face between a small opening while chasing Woody. His suit and bow tie are also reminiscent of Lloyd the bartender. 

All of these references are pretty noticeable, but there are others that you might not have seen.

The Films Have Similar Colors and Landscapes

Inside the Sunnyside Daycare control room in "Toy Story 3," there is an old-fashioned radio that resembles the one Wendy uses to contact the outside world in "The Shining," and the Overlook Hotel carpet pattern returns on a nearby tissue box. Also, the janitor of Sunnyside Daycare is named Mr. Tony; "Tony" was the nickname that Danny gave to the imaginary friend who was a manifestation of his "shining" powers.

There are other hidden visual references throughout "Toy Story 4," such as a stuffed animal in the Lost Toy Bar (which resembles the mysterious bear-costumed figure that Wendy sees performing fellatio on a ghostly Overlook guest) and several rockets at the carnival that match Danny's Apollo 11 sweater. 

Also in "Toy Story 4," the exterior shots of the antique store and sprawling carnival evoke the landscapes of the Overlook Hotel. "Notice the same location in front of a mountain range covered with pine trees as the presence of an entertainment structure in front of it," CBR observes. In order to get to these spots, the toys must go on a long, winding road hidden in the trees like the one the Torrance family takes to the menacing Overlook Hotel. 

While it's a little odd to see so many horror movie references in a children's franchise, it's also nice that the "Toy Story" filmmakers manage to put their love of Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" into a family-friendly film series in clever and creative ways. In a way, these Easter eggs are kind of appropriate given that "Toy Story" movies so often revolve around toys being trapped in an overwhelming puzzle of a place that they must try to escape.