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Pixar director Lee Unkrich is an unapologetic superfan of The Shining. He likes to hide references to the film in all of his movies, and now we know where to find those references in his newest film, Coco. I got a chance to speak with Lee Unkrich prior to the release of Coco on Blu-Ray and he gave us details on the three easter eggs he hid in his recent movie. First, he pointed out one easter egg that is a reference to probably The Shining's most iconic object, the ax Jack Nicholson uses to terrorize his family. According to Unkrich...
There's a scene where Dante wakes up, where he's been sleeping and he kind of snaps awake and he ends up climbing up a tree to go into the hideout in the attic where Miguel is. In the background, there's an ax stuck in a tree stump and it's one of the axes from The Shining.
The scene takes place early in the film, just before we see Miguel use his guitar for the first time. Dante the dog is waking up and in the background, as promised, is a very famous. ax.
From there, however, things become a bit harder to recognize. Lee Unkrich informed me there's a second easter egg in this same sequence, but even he, somebody who knows a lot about The Shining, admitted it would be difficult to find.
I will say, there's a very obscure Shining reference in that same shot
We here at CinemaBlend have been over this sequence of Dante waking up and running around and we have a theory as to easter egg number two, though we admit it's something of a stretch. There's a long-standing conspiracy theory that Stanley Kubrick helped fake the Apollo moon landing in the 1960s and that he hid references to this fact in The Shining. Well, one of the pieces of "evidence" of the alleged fake moon landing is a report that somebody from Australia, when watching the moon landing live, saw a coke bottle get kicked across the screen, and what does Danre kick over as he climbs up a tree? An empty coke bottle
We admit, it's a stretch, and sort of a second-hand Shining reference, but it certainly qualifies as obscure.
Update: Lee Unkrich has responded to our desperate pleas for a solution.
If you look at the image with the ax included you will see that behind it sits a red drum. A reddrum. REDDRUM. Well played sir, well played. I still like the coke bottle reference though, maybe Lee Unkrich knows more about the conspiracy than he's letting on. The rest of the original story continues below:
The third easter egg, however, while hard to see on screen is much more clear as a reference. Unkrich revealed to me that the final reference he hid in Coco has to do with the terrifying twins.
The third Shining reference has to do with the twins and that's all I'll say. I'm surprised not many people have spotted the one with the twins but it's in there.
I went looking for a pair of skeleton twins all through the Blu-Ray of Coco, knowing they had to be there someplace, and they are, just not where I was originally looking. The twins don't appear as characters, but rather as images in the rehearsal space where everybody is getting ready for the Sunrise Spectacular. Check out the easel that Miguel is running by as he chases after Dante.
Going on easter egg hunts is always fun and it's especially fun in Pixar movies. Be sure to check out all the other easter eggs we caught in Coco. There are certainly more in the film to find. Coco is out on Blu-Ray and available in digital HD now.