There's no doubt about it, Easter Eggs are awesome. No, not the chocolate wrapped kind, not the decorations that come out this time of year, not even those beautifully dyed and painted ones that make all the other eggs jealous.
No, I'm talking about Easter Eggs in movies and tv. Those little moments created by writers and directors that are a nod to other shows, inside jokes or just the guys on set fooling around. They can be something that shows us where a movie might go - the "OMG was that what I think it was?" moments, that breed speculation and excitement. Marvel fans have made an art form of searching out those little hints of what to come, or tiny details that add to a character (such as Black Widow's arrow necklace for Hawkeye in The Winter Soldier).
They can be a way for creators to pay homage to the greats: like the many Shining references in Toy Story or the hieroglyph R2D2 in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Disney, especially, is famous for including characters from past movies in new creations (Mrs Potts and Chip in Tarzan, Scar in Hercules, The Beast in Aladdin).
They can also be jokes for the audience - The Flash is absolutely full of nods to the viewer (especially Mark Hamill's in this week's episode!), NPH claimed that "child actors were just so much better in the 80s" on an episode of How I Met Your Mother, and the animation during one Harry Potter credit reel shows that someone was getting their wand worked...if you know what I mean. So many shows and movies have played with the fine line between an inside joke and a crack in the fourth wall.
Easter egg hunting is a favorite pastime among movie fans these days - especially now that technology allows us to get a better look at scenes than ever before. I love seeing something that makes my heart leap and my creative juices get flowing, something that makes me say "wait, go back a sec?!?", or something that makes me feel closer to the filmmaker as we share an inside joke.
So where did this awesomeness come from? More accurately, why the heck is it called an "Easter Egg"? Many people assume that the name comes from the fact that it's something hidden, that it's fun and rewarding to chase down. What fewer people know is that it actually comes from one very specific movie, and one that I have loved since I was a kid. (Don't ask why I was allowed to watch this as a kid. I don't even know.)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Ah, Rocky Horror. The cult film that all other cult films aspire to be, celebrating it's 40th this year. It's hard to describe what makes this movie the sensation that it is - part of it is the music, part is the absolutely stellar cast, part of it is that it's just completely insane and brightly colored and that's a wonderful departure from the "real world" for many. Of course, I won't deny that part of it is sex appeal - corsets and high heels and that air of the taboo. But for me, the main thing is that it was just so...different. It doesn't care about convention, it doesn't take itself seriously (at all), it's over the top and ridiculous and all about the audience.
It's that kind of joy in the ridiculous that led to the creation of the cinematic Easter Egg - as the cast of the movie decided that it would be fun to have an Easter Egg hunt on set one day. As you do. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that they also built a blanket fort and had a food fight, because that just seems like a very Rocky Horror kind of film set activity.
Turns out, they were as good at hiding easter eggs as they were at making awesome movies, because some of the eggs weren't discovered before filming resumed, and so made their way into the movie. Devoted fans (is there another kind of Rocky Horror fan?) noticed these as odd, even within the celebration of oddities that is Rocky Horror, and the use of the phrase "Easter Egg" was born. Within the movie, there are a few places where you can catch these legendary eggs...
Where Are The Eggs?
Frank's throne has an egg underneath it that is almost indistinguishable from the carpet behind it, courtesy of the color. However, this is definitely the easiest one to find! According to fansites (like Cosmo's Factory), there is another in the elevator as the group ascends to the lab, and a third instead of a light.
Is This Really True?
Lets be honest, no one really knows. It's a persistent rumor, despite the fact that some of the eggs are pretty darn hard to find!
In much the same way that Illuminati conspiracy theorists can find "incriminating" triangles in absolutely everything, it could easily be that believers are choosing to find eggs wherever they look, wanting the story to be true.
Full disclosure - I'm one of them! I love this movie so much, because I love the energy and hilarity behind it. I love the idea of Susan Sarandon, Tim Curry and Meatloaf having a spontaneous Easter Egg hunt. I love thinking that this incredible film could have even more of a legacy than it already does. There is absolutely nothing about this that I don't like.
I've even saved the best till last - Easter Eggs, and the search for them, can sometimes become something of a competition among fans. For those less-than-lovely movie goers, finding an Easter Egg can be a way to lord it over the mere mortals who missed it, to boast about how well they know the movie. For some, it becomes "proof" that they have the right theory about the franchise, that they get it more than others do.
Well, I'm not into that. I don't think that filmmakers are including these as some kind of test - the most eagle-eyed fan wins. Pfffft. Nah, Easter Eggs exist for the reason that they do in my Rocky Horror Rumor - because the cast (or crew, or writer, or whoever) wants to have a little fun.