‘Coco’ Has a Bunch of References to ‘The Shining‘
It’s always been fun for filmmakers who direct children’s movies to toss in little references for the adults in the crowd, but Pixar has always taken Easter eggs to a whole new level. Though they’re not all explicitly connected, each movie contains references to previous Pixar movies for avid viewers to find. Coco co-director Lee Unkrich has been throwing references to The Shining into Pixar’s movies for years, and you bet he managed to squeeze a few into his latest.
As Unkrich explained in a 2012 Empire interview,
I’ve thought a lot about why it obsesses me, and I think it’s multi-tiered. I think on one level it’s because it was the film that got me interested in not only filmmaking, but also having a sense that there’s a singular voice controlling the imagery that’s being put on the screen. Also I think it was because it was the first film I saw that so pervasively had a specific mood to it. I’d never seen a movie that had made me feel so unsettled during the entire film.
He’s put the iconic Overlook Hotel carpet pattern into two Toy Story movies and references the number “237” in one of them, but in Coco his references were much more explicit, though if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’ll totally miss them. Unkrich told Cinema Blend that two of the three references were hidden in a scene in the beginning of the movie, and when /Film went through the film, they found an axe and a red oil drum (REDRUM) next to each other in a scene featuring Miguel’s dog Dante.
Unkrich also said that the third reference has to do with the scary twin girls The Shining’s Danny meets in the hallway of the hotel. In a quick shot featuring Miguel in his skeleton makeup running through the Land of the Dead, there’s a canvas in the background with two unmistakable blue silhouettes. Coco is out on Digital HD now, if you want to find all these references for yourself and see if maybe there aren’t a few more Unkrich didn’t mention.