If you’re looking for movies to watch this upcoming Halloween, Jordan Peele may fulfill your wish. We already know that when Jordan Peele made the spooky film Us, he was inspired by his own fear of doppelgängers. However, the Oscar-winning filmmaker had other sources of inspiration. Us star Lupita Nyong’o shared what movies she was asked by Peele to watch to prepare for her role, and now our Halloween watchlist is complete.
Every horror movie director needs the inspiration to draw on, and why not allow yourself to be inspired by the best horror movie classics? Lupita Nyong’o, who played a woman named Adelaide on vacation with her family, only to be confronted by doppelgängers, shared on Instagram a video of the 10 films Jordan Peele told her to watch to prepare for the role.
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The first movie Nyong'o mentioned was Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, which is about a woman who, after buying a pair of lovebirds for a lawyer she meets, sets terror in motion when a bunch of crows in a nice town goes berserk. In an interview with E! News, Peele said he was inspired by The Birds because of the idea of terror happening in an ordinary area, just like how Adelaide and her family didn’t expect trouble to happen while vacationing at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.
The second film Nyong’o shared was The Shining, the tale of an author who becomes the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel and descends into madness. As Adelaide’s doppelgänger looks directly at the camera as we see how far her insanity has risen, Jack Nicholson’s character does the same thing to make audiences uncomfortable. A brilliant detail you might have missed in Us was that the twin daughters of Adelaide’s friend are positioned together the same way that the creepy Grady sisters were in the Stephen King adaptation, as well as Adelaide’s husband Gabe using a baseball bat as a weapon the way Shelley Duvall’s character did in The Shining.
Another film the Black Panther actress mentioned was Dead Again, which is about a private investigator trying to solve the mystery of an amnesia-stricken woman who shows up on the doorsteps of an orphanage. Traces of this mystery thriller can be found in Us, in that Adelaide has a mysterious past that ends up having to do with the appearance of the doppelgängers. A fourth horror film mentioned that was once nominated for Best Picture like Jordan Peele’s Get Out was The Sixth Sense. While The Sixth Sense and Us give us an eerie vibe in scenes when a little boy sees disturbing spirits, I’m sure that movie helped inspire Peele to come up with Us’s twisted ending.
The Kenyan-Mexican actress also saw A Tale of Two Sisters, which has a shocking ending of its own with a series of ghoulish occurrences. Funny Games is a no-brainer that it would inspire Us, especially the scene when the family is taken hostage by the doppelgängers in their home, just like in Funny Games when two golfers broke into a family’s vacation home to make them play a series of sadistic games for no apparent reason. Now we can understand where Us got its terror from. Lupita Nyong’o’s raspy voice in the scene was the icing on the cake of that terror.
Let the Right One In makes Twilight look like a kid's movie with its story about a human falling for a vampire always on the hunt for blood. This Swedish film and Us both have in common how far people will go to build a genuine connection like how Adelaide and her terrifying lookalike have a connection whether they like it or not.
Pascal Laugier's Martyrs aimed to push the envelope with intense reactions just like Us did. No wonder it was scarier than Peele’s Get Out. It Follows allowed writer/director David Robert Mitchell’s imagination to run wild of a woman followed by a dark entity after a sexual encounter, just like how Adelaide was followed by her doppelgänger at every turn. Last, but certainly not least, The Babadook offered audiences a relatable experience in a horror-stricken world about a woman’s grief taking the form of a nightmarish figure in its attempts to consume her. Jordan Peele wanted audiences to have a relatable experience watching Us in seeing the evil inside of you instead of pointing the finger at someone else.
It’s no wonder that Lupita Nyong’o was freaked out filming Us, as well as audiences being freaked out by her. These movies are likely to stop anyone from going to sleep. Her performance playing both Adelaide and her doppelgänger would be on my list of Oscar snubs of that year. Now we all have a Halloween watchlist to keep us occupied this month. Feel free to watch Jordan Peele’s movies and TV shows on your streaming platforms as well to find those classic horror movie Easter eggs.
Just your average South Floridian cinephile who believes the pen is mightier than the sword.
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