Six Times "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" Paid Tribute to Classic Horror Films, Including 'Elm Street'! - Bloody Disgusting
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Six Times “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” Paid Tribute to Classic Horror Films, Including ‘Elm Street’!



If it wasn’t already clear based on The CW’s “Riverdale,” Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is a big time horror movie fan, and there’s no shortage of that horror love in his new series for Netflix, “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. The series is practically steeped in love for the horror genre, with movie posters, homages and even classic clips on full display throughout.

The characters, for example, are seen watching films like Night of the Living Dead and Carnival of Souls, and they at one point have a discussion about the deeper meaning of David Cronenberg’s The Fly; they weigh in on the “fast vs. slow zombies” debate at another. Posters for films such as The Fearless Vampire Killers and Freaks serve as set decorations.

“Chilling Adventures” is also loaded with horror Easter eggs and more interesting tributes to classic films, and we wanted to shine the spotlight on six of them for you today!


There are a couple moments through the first season of “Chilling Adventures” that are direct nods to Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, one of which pops up in the third episode. Like Nancy in the 1984 film, Sabrina has a nightmare vision of a blood-covered dead girl standing in the doorway of her classroom, who none of the other students are able to see. And just like in Nancy’s memorable nightmare sequence, Sabrina chases the dead girl down the hallway, the girl trailing blood along the way.

Another fun nod to Elm Street comes in episode 6. Screen-grabbed at the top of this article, Ross Lynch’s Harvey Kinkle is at one point laying in bed with headphones on, sporting a white and blue crop top with the number “10” printed on it. The shirt is virtually identical to the one Johnny Depp was wearing during his Elm Street death scene, which also took place on a bed while he was wearing headphones!


In the very first episode of “Chilling Adventures,” Harvey kisses Sabrina after a night out at the movies, which compels her to do a happy dance on the stairs once she’s back in the comfort of the Spellman Mortuary. The dance she does, set to “Be My Baby,” is very similar to the dance Winona Ryder does as Lydia Deetz in the final moments of Beetlejuice. Sabrina doesn’t float, mind you, but her moves were clearly inspired by Ryder’s iconic 1988 dance.


There’s a good bit of Suspiria love in “Chilling Adventures,” with the show’s Academy of Unseen Arts essentially serving as its own version of the 1977 film’s dance academy. Both, after all, are run by witches, and the students even sleep together in one big room just as they did in Suspiria. Another more direct nod to Dario Argento’s Italian horror classic can be seen in the Spellman Mortuary, which features a stained glass ceiling (prominently seen in episode 8) that is an *exact* replica of the stained glass ceiling from the bloody opening of Suspiria!

Keep your eyes peeled for some other tributes to Suspiria‘s set designs throughout.


Before “Chilling Adventures” even premiered, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa had been teasing an episode that was a full-on tribute to The Exorcist, and that can be found in episode 6’s fittingly titled “An Exorcism in Greendale.” The episode primarily centers on the demonic possession of a man, and it plays out much the same way Regan’s possession does in The Exorcist. Aguirre-Sacasa had recently told us, “Episode 6 is pretty much a straight-up homage to The Exorcist from shots to different little things that I don’t want to spoil.”

And yes, of course the possessed dude projectile vomits.


One of the coolest things for horror fans about “Chilling Adventures” is that it’s *loaded* with actual Clive Barker artwork, most of which is prominently on display in the Academy of Unseen Arts. As the production designer recently explained, Barker contributed over 150 paintings to the show, and you’ll surely recognize them as you make your way through the series.

Naturally, “Chilling Adventures” has all kinds of other Barker-inspired touches, including a puzzle box opened up by Sabrina in the super fun fifth episode, which unleashes a demon. More subtle nods to Hellraiser are found all over Madam Satan’s house, which features wallpaper, stained glass windows and even floor designs similar to those found in the Cotton house.

Clive Barker, in many ways, has a strong presence in “Chilling Adventures.”


The catalyst for Season 1’s storyline is that Sabrina bails on her “Dark Baptism,” refusing to sign on the dotted line and give her soul to Satan. As she’s running out of the dark woods in episode 2, Sabrina is attacked by tree branches that have come to life in an attempt to keep her from escaping, an obvious nod to one of the most memorable moments from Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead.

Thankfully, the tree attack on Sabrina is a bit less, well, violating.

Did you spot any horror movie homages that we missed? Comment and let us know!

Writer in the horror community since 2008. Owns Eli Roth's prop corpse from Piranha 3D. Has three awesome cats. Still plays with toys.


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