The majority of what goes on in any movie is instantly noticeable – after all, the people behind any given movie’s production want the audience to actually see what’s going on. However, in recent times, fun little Easter eggs have often been placed more subtly in movies in order for viewers to seek them out.
Although there are many forms of Easter eggs, one very prominent form is the basic hidden message. Messages in movies can appear in the form of text, imagery or indeed spoken words and eagle-eyed/keen-eared movie fans everywhere love to spot them.
They can be included pre-movie, mid-movie or post-movie (in things like DVD introductions and end credits) and can often be extremely subtle – therefore, it’s very easy to miss them.
This article will list some of the best of them in the most popular of Hollywood offerings in recent times. Here are fifteen awesome hidden messages in popular movies.
15. “It’s Still Alive!” (Cloverfield)
2008’s Cloverfield saw New York City come under attack from a giant monster of unknown origin. Multiple attacks by the American military – including a full-on carpet-bombing of the creature – failed to permanently put it down. As a result, they executed their “Hammer Down Protocol” – a huge bombing assault (with unspecified weaponry, though probably a nuclear bomb) that would destroy Manhattan in a bid to kill the creature.
However, after it was executed and the screen cut to black, a whispering voice could be heard after the credits. It sounded garbled, but when reversed it actually said “it’s still alive” (which you can hear in the above video), potentially setting up an as-yet-unreleased sequel.
14. “We Spit In Your Food!” (Anchorman)
The 2004 movie Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy saw the rise of Will Ferrell‘s popular local news anchor – the titular Burgundy – to becoming a successful national news anchor. However, he wasn’t alone in his rise. Veronica Corningstone – played by Christina Applegate – also joined him on that ladder to greater things (much to his somewhat sexist chagrin).
In the movie, Corningstone visited a Mexican restaurant with some girls she worked with at the news station. The restaurant in question was called “Escupimos en su Alimento” – which happens to mean “we spit in your food” in Spanish.
13. “X” Represents Death (The Departed)
Martin Scorsese‘s brilliant 2006 crime drama The Departed was both a commercial and critical success. It saw Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio in opposing roles, with Damon’s Colin Sullivan being a mobster infiltrating the Massachusetts State Police and DiCaprio’s Billy Costigan being a police officer infiltrating the mob.
There were a number of deaths in the movie – each of which were foreshadowed brilliantly by Scorsese via clever hidden messages. If a character was going to die, an “X” would be seen on screen with said character – whether it be written somewhere, in the shape of surrounding architecture (see above picture) or otherwise.
12. “IS 54 16” (The Matrix Reloaded)
The Matrix trilogy often played around with license plates – often relating them to religious scripture – and this was never more evident than in 2003’s The Matrix Reloaded. At the start of the movie, Agent Smith’s car can be seen with the license plate number “IS 54 16”.
This is a clear reference to Isaiah 54:16, which reads “Behold, I have created the smith, who blows the fire of coals, and produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to destroy” – which is very fitting, when you consider the nature of the character of Smith in the Matrix movies.
11. “F*ck U” (Kill Bill: Volume 1)
2003’s Kill Bill: Volume 1 saw the introduction of Uma Thurman‘s character – The Bride – as she sought revenge on a squad of assassins after they had attempted to murder her and her unborn child. In her quest to find said assassins, she leaves a very bloody trail of bodies in her wake – and one such scene was in a place called the House of Blue Leaves.
In that scene, the Bride can be seen from underneath as she walks on a glass floor. Emblazoned on the bottom of her footwear is the term “f*ck u” – and whether this is a message to the viewers or simply a representation of the Bride’s attitude is unknown. You’d have to ask Quentin Tarantino about that.
10. Mr. Orange Is The Informant (Reservoir Dogs)
This entry from 1992’s Reservoir Dogs is a little different to the ones in the list so far, because it discretely gives away a key plot element in the movie without the audience actually knowing it.
Mr. Orange – played by Tim Roth – is revealed to be the informant (or “rat”) in the group of criminals who were to carry out a diamond heist near to the end of the movie. However, there were clues throughout the whole film regarding who the informant was; an orange balloon appeared behind Nice Guy Eddie’s car when he was talking about the police ambush of the heist, Mr. White and Mr. Pink were in a room full or white, pink and orange bottles when discussing the possible informant, and Mr. Orange himself was the first to “rat” on Mr. Pink when he didn’t tip in a restaurant.
9. A Nod To Star Wars (Fast Five)
The character of Han (Sung Kang) has appeared in four movies in the Fast and the Furious franchise – Fast & Furious, Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6 and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift – as well as in archive footage in Furious 7. His last name was revealed officially to be Lue.
However, in a nod to both the Star Wars character Han Solo and the name of Kang’s character in 2002’s Better Luck Tomorrow, his name can be briefly seen on a database in 2011’s Fast Five with the surname “Seoul-Oh”, making his full name “Han Seoul-Oh”. This has been revealed to be a name that the character uses as a fake alias.
8. Another Star Wars Nod (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom)
Indiana Jones and Star Wars obviously have a very big thing in common in the form of director Steven Spielberg, but he’s not the only thing they have in common. The Indiana Jones franchise contains a number of subtle links to its Star Wars counterpart – most notably in the form of the hieroglyphics with pictures of C-3PO and R2-D2 on them. However, there is another very prominent one.
In 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, a restaurant/nightclub in 1930s Shanghai can be seen with the name “Club Obi Wan” – a fun reference to the Star Wars character Obi-Wan Kenobi.
7. SFX (The Lion King)
In the 1994 Disney classic The Lion King, there is a moment when Simba crashes out on the side of a cliff and, as a result, a dust cloud rises from underneath him. The dust forms itself into three letters that seem to most closely resemble S, E and X (therefore spelling “SEX”).
When this came to light, Disney claimed that the letters were actually S, F and X and were, therefore, a nod to the special effects (SFX) team who worked on the film. Whether or not this is actually the case, or whether or not Disney simply changed their tune when the outcry suggested they were forcing subliminal sexuality onto children, is unconfirmed.
6. “Show Me The Monkey” (King Kong)
In 2005’s Peter Jackson-directed King Kong movie, Thomas Kretschmann’s Captain Englehorn intercepted a coded message just prior to his ship’s arrival on Skull Island. In the movie, the message was said to be calling for the arrest of Carl Denham (Jack Black), but that wasn’t actually what the message said at all.
Dedicated viewers actually decoded the message for real and it turned out to be a fun inclusion by Peter Jackson himself. The message actually said “show me the monkey” – something which, of course, did actually happen in the movie just a few minutes later when the titular giant monkey made his eagerly-anticipated appearance.
5. Batman V Superman (I Am Legend)
Will Smith starred in the 2007 movie I Am Legend – a post-apocalyptic zombie movie based on Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel of the same name. It saw Smith’s Robert Neville living alone in New York – unaware of other human survivors – after an outbreak of a man-made virus turned the population into creatures of the night.
In one scene, a billboard can be seen advertising a Batman v Superman movie – something I Am Legend producer Akiva Goldsman was said to be involved in at the time. For a while after the movie, it seemed as if it wasn’t going to happen (the billboard suggests a 2010 release), but now we know it actually is happening in 2016, giving this little message some real retrospective meaning.
4. “The Incredimobiles” (Cars)
The 2006 Disney Pixar movie Cars was a roaring success. It was essentially about a weird and wonderful world in which cars and other vehicles are living beings and it focused specifically on a small town called Radiator Springs.
When two of the main characters – Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) – are driving through the desert settlement, a movie theatre sign advertising the movie that is playing can be seen in the background. And what exactly is playing in the Radiator Springs movie theatre? “The Incredimobiles” – the Cars version of The Incredibles, which is, of course, another brilliant Disney Pixar movie.
3. “No Jews Were Harmed…” (A Serious Man)
Joel and Ethan Coen – collectively and professionally known as the Coen Brothers – directed the 2009 dark comedy A Serious Man. It was a movie about a Jewish man called Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) who began to question his faith as his life began to fall apart on both a professional and a personal level.
Given that the lead character is given one hell of a hard time in the movie, the Coen Brothers saw fit to place a cheeky hidden message in the credits stating that “no Jews were harmed in the making of this motion picture” – something that suited the style of comedy in the movie itself rather brilliantly.
2. “No Raccoons Or Tree Creatures Were Harmed…” (Guardians Of The Galaxy)
Somewhat similar to the previous entry (although a lot less touchy in terms of its subject matter), 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy movie included a fun hidden message in its closing credits. The titular team included two CGI characters – the raccoon known as Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and the tree-like being known as Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel).
The credits included a humorous line of text that says “no raccoons or tree creatures were harmed during the making of this film” – which we’re sure is a huge relief for kids everywhere, as well as a source of laughter for those more knowledgeable about the fact that neither of those things were actually real in the movie.
1. A Message From Tyler (Fight Club)
This particular message appeared on the home DVD release of the brilliant 1999 movie Fight Club – and it’s actually pretty insulting to the viewers! It appears where the usual piracy message appears and essentially encourages you to be more like the character who is supposed to be delivering the message in question – Brad Pitt‘s Tyler Durden.
It mocks the viewers for sitting at home watching a DVD and tells them to get out and do more with their lives – start a fight, quit masturbating, meet a member of the opposite sex – in no uncertain terms. It can be seen in the video above.
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