Scott Pilgrim

References in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Flash Gordon

Scott Pilgrim is understandably more concerned with video game references than film nods, but Wright still managed to sneak a few in. One inspiration was Flash Gordon. “Some people seem to be down on the 1980 Flash Gordon, but personally, I love it,” Wright explained on Kotaku. “I think it’s really colorful, it’s really fun. The design in it is amazing. The effects are maybe-not-kinda-great by [today’s] standards, but it’s just a bit of a blast.” He linked Scott’s ringer tees back to Flash Gordon, and he also included sound effects from the film in his movie.

The Warriors

Wright uses music as movie homage in the fight between Scott (Michael Cera) and Lucas Lee (Chris Evans). Since he’s a movie star, Lucas brings in a fleet of identical stuntmen to help him defeat Scott. They all wearing matching leather, not totally unlike the titular gang in The Warriors. If your mind wasn’t already there, Wright makes sure it is by playing the Baseball Furies music during a portion of the scene. You can hear it best when the army of Lees is all lined up, peacocking but not yet fighting.

All that’s missing is a little facepaint, but Roxy Richter takes care of that later.

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

The final and most powerful of the Evil Exes in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is Gideon Gordon Graves (Jason Schwartzman), a record executive who enjoys white suits and controling Ramona’s mind. He’s sometimes called “G-Man,” which Wright says is a nod to “Z-Man” from Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Like Gideon, “Z-Man” is a Svengali-like manager with a flair for fashion and seriously bad intentions. He ends up doing some awful things to the girls in his band (as did his real-life inspiration, Phil Spector) and given Gideon’s control issues, you can imagine a much grislier alternative ending for him and Ramona.

the world's end 1

References in The World’s End

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Wright took a different approach with The World’s End, the final installment in his Cornetto trilogy. He pared down the nonstop winks to other movies, noting that there’s “no point in the film where we actively nod at another film.” But he also conceded that Invasion of the Body Snatchers is baked into the DNA of The World’s End.

The basic storylines are somewhat identical – emotionless aliens mold themselves after individual humans and then quietly take their place. The World’s End also seems to riff on the creepy “scream” the blanks use in the 1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers to mark a human presence. Wright’s aliens don’t scream per se, but they do open their mouths wide and broadcast robotic commands (that happen to be voiced by a Wright regular, Bill Nighy).

The Thing

Kurt Russell’s RJ MacReady tries to get a handle on the dire situation at an Antarctic research station in The Thing through a simple test. He wants to know who’s still human, so he tests each man’s blood sample with a live copper wire. The mutant blood, he reasons, will “jump” at the wire. (Spoiler alert: he’s right.)

In The World’s End, there are no petri dishes or copper wires, but the survivors do subject each other to a series of tests to prove their humanity – and since the “blanks” retain selective memory, the men, like MacReady, rely on their actual bodies to prove their case. Various scars and stupid stunts clear everyone’s names but the scene doesn’t just capture the paranoia of the original. It builds to a moment of emotional honesty, when Andy (Nick Frost) finally reveals the reason he stopped speaking with Gary (Simon Pegg). It’s a brutal revelation that Andy doesn’t bother to soften, due to sheer anger and exhaustion from fighting off aliens, and it’s exactly the right way to address this crucial piece of the plot.

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