Previously deemed unfilmable, Gerald's Game has defied all expectations and become one of the strongest Stephen King adaptations released in years, all with nary a clown in sight. To tell this story of a kinky sex gone wrong, director Mike Flanagan untethered himself from the restrictions of the book, taking it upon himself to make key changes that ensured the story could survive intact and even thrive onscreen.
Along the way though, Flanagan and co-writer Jeff Howard also slipped in a number of Easter Eggs along the way, paying homage to both their own back catalog and the wider shared universe of Stephen King adaptations. Handcuff yourself to the screen for a few minutes now as we explore the very best of these references, but just remember to keep a glass of water handy nearby, just in case.
'The Dark Tower'
At the center of the Stephen Kingdom lies #TheDarkTower, a mythical structure that connects all of his books together in one shared universe. The tower itself is held up by six Beams, physical forces that form the backbone of reality. Roland of Gilead fights to protect the Beams from destruction and their presence is felt everywhere, even in Gerald's Game it seems.
At one point, the imagined voice of Gerald that taunts Jessie echoes a key line that's spoken time and time again within The Dark Tower franchise:
"All things die. All things serve the beam."
As a fan of The Dark Tower, director Mike Flanagan told Digital Spy that he was eager to include this line in the script, but what's most fascinating about this is how it also inadvertently connects to the story of #IT. One of the Beams is guarded by Maturin the Turtle, an ancient entity that created the universe as we know it today. In IT, we learn that Pennywise loathes the Guardian and seeks to destroy it, thereby linking Gerald's Game to this book as well.
It's impossible to think of an evil dog without the name Cujo springing to mind, so it's no surprise that the man-eating canine who tries to eat Jessie is given that nickname at one point. However, while the St. Bernard from Cujo turns rabid after a bat bites him on the nose, the dog from Gerald's Game is simply hungry and like Gerald himself points out, Jessie's meat is far fresher. Let's just hope that a similar plot line isn't explored in the upcoming C.U.J.O. remake.
Although the '90s adaptation of Dolores Claiborne makes no reference to Gerald's Game, author Stephen King explicitly connected the two stories in both of the original books, so it's gratifying for fans to see this acknowledged in Flanagan's new movie.
Released in the same year, both novels intersect through flashbacks to the solar eclipse where tales of abuse took place. As audiences already know, Jessie was molested by her father while watching the moon cross the sun outside, but during this recollection, our heroine also makes reference to a woman in a red dress:
"I had a dream that night at the lake house. There was a woman standing over a deep well, looking down into the blackness. And I’m in the well, looking up at her. The sky was so dark behind her. The eclipse burning overhead, and the smell … the smell in the well. It was like pennies and oysters. She was standing there in a red dress, looking right at me […] I remember thinking maybe she was supposed to be me. Because she would never tell. I knew that looking at her. She’d die before she told. I could do that, I figured. I don’t know why I thought that. It was just a dream."
On its own, this story just becomes a side-note, but in reality, the woman being described is Dolores Claiborne herself. In her book, the titular character also sees a vision of Jessie at this same moment during the eclipse. This is because the two novels were originally conceived as two halves of the same story in a project that was going to be titled "In The Path of the Eclipse."
While Stephen King's first novel was never referenced directly in the film, the blood splattered on Jessie as she staggers out of the house is reminiscent of Carrie in her prom dress. During one of the eclipse flashbacks, reference is also made to the fact that teenage Jessie had only begun having her period just a month earlier, an event which also kick-started the development of Carrie's powers.
'Bag Of Bones'
While it's unclear whether the Moonlight Man is real or not at first, Jessie's fear of him certainly is. At one point, she and an imaginary Gerald discuss the creature's impending arrival, explaining that:
"My visitor with the bag of bones shows up tonight."
Bag of Bones also happens to be the name of a #StephenKing novel which revolves around an author suffering from delusions following the death of his wife. A TV miniseries starring Pierce Brosnan aired in 2011, but neither the original book or the adaptation share much in common with Gerald's Game other than the remote location and a preoccupation with death.
Among all of the newspaper headlines that reveal which crimes the Moonlight Man has committed, it looks like one mentions that a grave named Collier has been vandalized. This could be a reference to Collier Entragian, a sheriff who's possessed by a demonic spirit called Tak in the novel Desperation. In the 2006 TV adaptation, the police officer in question is played by Ron Perlman.
'Oculus' And 'Hush'
Before Mike Flanagan directed Gerald's Game, the acclaimed #horror director made a name for himself with genre hits such as Oculus and Hush, both of which are also directly referenced in his new adaptation.
The antique mirror that causes such carnage in Oculus shares the same design features as the headboard in Gerald's Game. Was the mirror repurposed to fashion this bed or is it just a coincidence? As if that wasn't enough, the book left in Jessie's bedroom was also created by the lead character in Hush, Maddie Young, who found fame after writing the story "Midnight Mass."
Despite taking place in just one location for the most part, Gerald's Game still establishes itself as a cornerstone of Stephen King's shared universe, connecting to a surprising number of his most popular stories. With that in mind, the petition for a future face-off between Pennywise and the Moonlight Man starts here, folks.
Did you spot any more Easter Eggs in 'Gerald's Game'? Let us know in the comments section below!
(Source: Digital Spy)