Stephen King Easter eggs
Throughout The Dark Tower series, Stephen King threaded references and connections to almost all of his other stories. The new film adaptation, out Aug. 4, does the same, including many visual hints to his past books and movies. Here are just a few…
The Clown from It
As Jake Chambers (played by Tom Taylor) wanders a strange place, he finds the ruins of an amusement park named after Pennywise the Dancing Clown, the favorite form of the shapeshifting evil in King’s 1986 novel It.
The hotel from The Shining
Jake is dealing with visions and nightmares of other dimensions. His mother worries he’s having a breakdown, but he actually has “the shine,” the psychic ability from King’s 1977 novel The Shining. In his therapist’s office is this framed photo of the Overlook Hotel, as seen in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film.
The poster from The Shawshank Redemption
Idris Elba stars in The Dark Tower as the gunslinger Roland Deschain. In this shot, we see him at a door featuring an iconic poster of actress Rita Hayworth. In King’s 1982 novella, wrongfully convicted Andy Dufresne (played in the 1994 film by Tim Robbins) uses the poster to hide the escape tunnel he’s digging.
The number 19
This is a reference to The Dark Tower novels themselves. This little girl with the high-tech bracelet is one of the “breakers,” people with shining-like psychic ability who are used by the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) to send blasts of energy at the mystical Tower, which will collapse the various worlds on top of each other. In the books, the appearance of the number “19” foreshadows something ominous.
St. Bernard from Cujo
King’s 1981 novel about a rabid dog focuses on a mother and son who are trapped in their car by the ferocious animal. In this street scene from The Dark Tower (passing the Forbidden Planet comics shop in Manhattan), the two actors walking their pet actually bear a passing resemblance to Dee Wallace and Danny Pintauro from the 1983 movie. Nope, nothing wrong here.
Killer car from Christine
This appears to be Jake Chambers killing time with a toy car version of a 1958 Plymouth Fury. That’s the same make and model as the bloodthirsty vehicle from King’s 1983 book about a teenager and his possessed ride.
"Come play with us..."
These two twins (who are trapped in the Breaker village run by the Man in Black) don’t look like the girls featured in Kubrick’s version of The Shining, but this was director Nikolaj Arcel’s homage to them.
Smiley from Mr. Mercedes
The serial killer in King’s 2014 novel Mr. Mercedes uses a malicious smiley face as his calling card. This is Jake’s room, stripped of all his drawings of his frightening trans-dimensional visions. It looks like the gunslinger has lost the boy to the Man in Black.
The novel from Misery
Misery Chastain was the unfortunately named heroine of author Paul Sheldon’s romance novels in King’s 1987 thriller Misery. Apparently the Man in Black is a fan of Misery’s Child, which is the novel that sent Sheldon’s No. 1 fan, Annie Wilkes, into a spiral of explosive violence.
The hotel number from 1408
King revisited the idea of haunted hotel rooms with 1408, a 1999 short story about a “true hauntings” author (played in the 2007 film by John Cusack) who stumbles upon a malevolent presence that isn’t phony for once. In The Dark Tower, this number is inscribed over a doorway between dimensions. Click here to watch the full video of these Stephen King references.