It’s Sunday April 5th and, today, children all over the world will be searching for colored Easter Eggs, hidden about by a mysterious rabbit. Horror fans and movie collectors, however, can spend today searching for a different kind of Easter Eggs.
In media, an “Easter Egg” is an intentional inside joke, hidden message, or feature in a work such as a computer program, video game, book, crossword puzzle, or movie. As an avid film collector with a decent collection of DVD’s, hunting for this type of Easter Egg has become a side-hobby of mine. These hidden gems provide additional levels of nuance and enhance my overall appreciation for the artistry in the world of DVD supplements. It’s a joy known only to those of us who actually collect physical copies of films, as nothing digital contains these special treasures. While many Easter Eggs are inconsequential (like trailers for other movies) some are truly incredible.
Below are 10 of the most impressive Easter Eggs I have discovered. As they all come from films that I actually own, I can attest to the truth of their existence. If you’re looking for an outside-the-box activity this Easter, grab one of these films and enjoy some tasty secret treats! Happy Hunting!
Hellraiser: Deader (2005, Bota)
The Death of Pinhead
On May 19th of this year, Clive Barker will release his book The Scarlett Gospels in which he promises lead Cenobite, Pinhead, will be permanently killed-off. But was the High Priest of Hell’s death already foretold in 2005’s straight-to-DVD sequel Hellraiser: Deader? To find out follow these instructions: Starting from the Main Menu, select “Special Features”. Then, select “More” at the bottom of the screen. Next, move the cursor DOWN one space; the cursor will disappear. Finally, move RIGHT one space—and a short film will begin!
We see Pinhead as an aged, deteriorating Cenobite, sitting in a throne-like chair, pulling the pins out of his skull as he laments the nuclear annihilation of the human race (and thus, obliterated his reason for existing). Suddenly, the Chatterer and Bound Cenobites attack and kill their master. Damn!
“A Boy and his Power-Loader”
The Alien Quadrilogy, a 9-disc box-set that includes Alien (1979, Scott), Aliens (1986, Cameron), Alien 3 (1992, Fincher), and Alien: Resurrection (1997, Jeunet). Obviously, it contains a virtual boat-load of extras, but one of my personal favorites is an Easter Egg featurette about a young man named Van Lang who built his own Power-Loader based on the machine from Aliens—and how it landed him an actual job working for James Cameron. To see it for yourself, follow these instructions: On Disc 4, select “Supplemental Materials” for ALIENS. Go to the chapter titled “Post Production”. When you enter this chapter, take note of the series of 5 ICONS. Press the UP and you’ll notice an additional ICON will be highlighted; click this HIGHLIGHTED ICON and “A Boy and his Power-Loader” will begin to play. Inspiring!
Army of Darkness: Director’s Cut (1992, Raimi)
To enjoy this Easter Egg, you need to own the Director’s Cut of Army of Darkness, the one with the cover that looks like a brown paper bag; this film is also referred to as Bruce Campbell vs. The Army of Darkness with the tagline: The Screwhead Edition. For some added enjoyment, follow these instructions: Start playing the movie with the Sam Raimi/Bruce Campbell Commentary turned on (as opposed to the normal audio). Next, turn on the “Subtitles” function. Rather than getting subtitles for the movie dialog or the commentary, you will get scene-by-scene storyboards in the lower right hand corner of your screen. This allows you to see how each scene was storyboarded as it plays out. Neat!
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006, Glosserman)
Deleted Scene: Leslie in his Ancestral Home at Night
For a deleted scene of Leslie Vernon (played by Nathan Baesel), follow these instructions: From the “Scene Selection” menu, HIGHLIGHT 13-16 and press “Enter”. Press UP and a red scythe will appear to the right of box 16. Press “Enter” and enjoy! Intriguing!
Cloverfield (2008, Goddard)
Connection to The Dharma Initiative
My favorite Easter Egg on the DVD for Cloverfield is not very exciting in and of itself, but its implications are fascinating. Follow these instructions: At the beginning of the movie, pay close attention to the “Test Screen” and hit PAUSE when the clock at the bottom reaches 00.04.03.08. A white symbol will appear in the bottom right corner. Look closely: It’s the symbol for the Dharma Initiative’s “Pearl Station” from the TV series Lost. The idea that Cloverfield and Lost are part of the same universe leads to many exciting conjectures. Absorbing!
Dark City (1998, Proyas)
Find Shell Beach
The “Find Shell Beach” game on the Dark City DVD can certainly eat-up a good chunk of your free time. To play, follow these instructions:
Ghost Ship (2002, Beck)
Secrets of the Antonia Graza
To experience 4 short stories, each of which tells one of the Antonia Graza’s “secrets” follow these instructions: In the “Special Features” menu, select “Secrets of the Antonia Graza”. You will receive your first message in the formation of alpha-cubes that spell out “Welcome Abored” (sic). For the first story, HIGHLIGHT and select the “E” in “Welcome”. For the second story, HIGHLIGHT and select the “M” in “Welcome”. For the third story, HIGHLIGHT and select the “O” in “Abored” (sic). For the fourth and final story/secret, HIGHLIGHT and select the “R” in “Abored” (sic). You will then receive a second message in the formation of alpha-cubes that spell out: “You Are In Danger”; HIGHLIGHT and select the “N” in “Danger” for Katie’s Story. Chilling!
The Pit and the Pendulum (1999, Gordon)
The Pit and the Pendulum, which takes place during the Spanish Inquisition, is an especially macabre and serious story—which make the hidden “Blooper Reel” all the more hysterical by juxtaposition. To see these antics for yourself, follow these instructions: From the MAIN MENU, select “Videozone”; select the “Featurette” and press “Play”. Unfortunately, you have to watch a few coming attractions for other Full Moon DVD releases before the Blooper Reel rolls (or I suppose you could fast forward; bloopers start around minute 14). Side-splitting!
Ravenous (1999, Bird)
Donner Party Maps
Aspect of Ravenous are loosely based on the tragic tale of The Donner Party, a pioneering expedition that ended in cannibalism in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California in 1847. To find an interactive map of The Donner Party’s doomed efforts, follow these instructions: From the RIGHT SIDE of the “Extra Features” menu, push UP until you push beyond the first option. A huge knife and fork will appear; HIGHLIGHT and select this icon. The map that appears can be manipulated by using the menu ARROW buttons. Press the LEFT button to see the progression of the Donner Party. When you get to “Fort Bridger”, press the UP button, and a knife and fork will appear; HIGHLIGHT and select this icon to see the DVD Production Credits. When you get to “Donner Camp” press the UP button and a knife and fork will appear; HIGHLIGHT and select this icon to see an actual promotional item from Ravenous (believe me, it’s worth a look!). Awesome!
The Ring (2002, Verbinski)
The Cursed Video
This one makes for an awesome practical joke you can play on your friends. So you’ve just finished watching The Ring and the idea of a cursed videotape is still making you edgy. Ask your friends, “If I had a copy of the cursed video, would you watch it? What if I dared you?” Inevitably, someone will claim to possess the necessary bravery, at which point you can inform him/her: “You know, the video actually exists—and it’s hidden on this DVD!” No turning back now, is there! To play Samara’s cursed video, follow these instructions: From the main menu, press DOWN until the cursor disappears; at this point, press “Enter” and the video will play. What makes this particular Easter Egg especially unnerving is that, once started, the video can not be stopped; your DVD player will not respond to any commands until the video has concluded, at which point you are returned to the main menu. Think it’s safe to sigh in relief? Not so fast! A few second later, a telephone will ring. Creepy!
Do you know of any other DVD Easter Eggs worth hunting for? Sound off in the comments section!
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