As her 16th birthday nears, Sabrina must choose between the witch world of her family and the human world of her friends. Based on the Archie comic. Reimagines the origin and adventures of Sabrina: the Teenage Witch as a dark coming-of-age story that traffics in horror, the occult and, of course, witchcraft. (Official Synopsis)
Since its Netflix debut on October 26th The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina has put a spell on viewers. The series’ major success is no doubt due to its chilling take on the original Archie comic, pleasing all fans of the strange and unusual. And, if a viewer has a really good eye, they’ll notice the show’s tasteful placement of horror references. And I don’t just mean the vintage horror flick. Pretty much anything remotely spooky that can be referenced somehow managed to find a home in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Here’s a fun list of some of the horror easter eggs you may have missed in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Consider this your major spoiler warning.
Rosemary’s Baby Dress
Following an assault on one of her friends, Sabrina decides that the boys responsible deserve a little payback. She installs the help of some other witches. The girls all wear a similar Wednesday Addams dress with the exception of Sabrina, who instead dons a dress that’s very similar to Rosemary Woodhouse’s in the 1968 thriller Rosemary’s Baby. Both dresses have the same dark red color and white lace on the collar. Sabrina is seen wearing this dress a handful of times throughout the season.
Another note is that at one point in the first episode, after nearly running her over, Ms. Wardwell offers to help a young girl. She looks distressed so Ms. Wardwell says she will take the girl home, get her cleaned up and fed then they could go see Dr. Saperstein in the morning. Dr. Saperstein might be a doctor in town but they share the same name with the evil doctor in Rosemary’s Baby, Dr. Abraham Saperstein.
Another character with a name reference is Sabrina’s friend Susie Putnam. She shares the name of the Putnam’s who, during the 1692 Salem Witch Trials- specifically Thomas Putnam- were considered major players in the trials with their accusations.
With Sabrina being a witch in a family of literal devil worshipers, something like a scary movie isn’t going to phase her. In the very first episode of the series we find Sabrina at the movies with her friends and boyfriend. The boyfriend, Harvey, looks less than pleased with the situation as he clutches to Sabrina in obvious fright. The scene mirrors the beginning of Michael Jackson’s 1982 music video Thriller. Both Michael and Sabrina, wearing bright red jackets, are happily watching the movie while eating popcorn. Meanwhile their dates- and the rest of the audience- stare up at the screen horrified.
Right after the movie the teens run into their teacher. Literally. After bumping into Mrs. Wardwell outside of the theater Sabrina expresses that she is surprised the older woman likes scary movies. To which Mrs. Wardwell replies, “Who doesn’t enjoy a good scare every now and then, especially this time of year?” This particular line echos a line from John Carpenter’s 1978 film Halloween. When Laurie Strode is on her way home she runs into Sheriff Brackett on her way home. The encounter startles her the the Sheriff simply states, “It’s Halloween, I guess everyone’s entitled to one good scare.”
Night of the Living Harvey
Despite his fear of scary movies, Harvey also gets in on the spooky fun when as he belts out quotes from George A. Romero’s 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead. The transition music covers it a bit but you can clearly hear him yelling “They’re coming to get you, Barbra!” as she chases Sabrina.
The Academy of Unseen Arts has some pretty bewitching decor. Including the office doors leading to Father Blackwood’s office. This specific set of doors look identical to some doors seen in Dario Argento’s 1977 horror flick Suspiria. The Spellman’s even have a stained glass ceiling that is also identical to the one as seen in Suspiria. Another Suspiria reference comes to us in the form of a bat flying through Sabrina’s window. After it crashes through, Sabrina puts the creature out of its misery by crushing it with a book. This mirrors the scene in Suspiria when the main character, Suzy, kills a bat with a stool at the dance academy.
For just a spit second we catch a glimpse of a pot sized Audrey II, a human eating plant, in the Spellman’s greenhouse. It is almost an exact replica of the plant from Frank Oz’s 1986 reboot of Little Shop of Horrors.
In Sabrina’s bedroom is a poster for the 1922 silent Swedish-Danish horror film Haxan. Directed by Benjamin Christensen, the film is a mix of documentary and fiction that explores the history behind the dark arts. It’s official synopsis states: A hybrid of documentary and fiction, this silent film explores the history of witchcraft, demonology and satanism. It shows representations of evil in a variety of ancient and medieval artworks, offers vignettes illustrating a number of superstitious practices and presents a narrative about the persecution of a woman accused of witchcraft. The film ends by suggesting that the modern science of psychology offers important insight into the beliefs and practices of the past.
If you haven’t seen it I would highly recommend it. It’s great.
Another fun scene uses a movie quote when, after a nasty encounter with thousands of spiders, Principle Hawthorne returns from his short vacation. Sensing trouble, Sabrina’s friend Rosalind declares in a gloomy sing song tone “He’s baaaack.” This is similar to a quote from Steven Spielberg’s 1982 thriller Poltergeist.
It goes without saying that this show and Riverdale are very different shows however they share the same universe. That’s riiiight. Back in episode 2 the football players attempt to make conversation with the Weird Sisters by asking if they attend Baxter High like they do. When told that they go somewhere else one of the players asks if they are from Riverdale, apparently a neighboring town to Greendale.
Another solid piece of evidence is a character that appears in both shows: Ben Button. Spoiler alert……….. but Ben Button killed himself back in the second episode of Riverdale. Without a doubt he’s dead. Jumping out of a window does that apparently. Yet he is seen three months later in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina delivering a pizza to Madame Satan before getting eaten alive. But how is that possible? Time warp? Zombies? Time manipulation? Who really knows? All we do know is that strange things often happen in Greendale and the dead don’t often stay dead.
Now this is just a fraction of the dozens and dozens of subtly placed references throughout the season. To spot some for yourself binge the first season of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix now.
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