A bit of warning here: there will be major spoilers ahead.
It seems that many enjoyed the article I wrote about the influences behind Fallout, so I thought I'd try my hand at something a bit more current. I am a huge horror aficionado and Until Dawn is by far one of the best homages to the genre. For most people, the game seems to pay tribute to the genre as a whole. Maybe some tiny direct references here and there. Maybe a nod to Cabin in the Woods. To those who breathe horror, however, the game is a treasure trove of references.
The list below will only scratch the surface. Suffice to say that Larry Fessenden, writer of Until Dawn and a dozen cult horror movies, is a huge fan of his field of work.
Let's go from most obvious to most obscure. Maybe I go for the too obvious; maybe you learn something new and explore new movies. I have fun, you have fun; we all win.
While not the whole focus of the game, there's a few undeniable nods to the Saw franchise, notorious for its mechanical traps and "games" where a person has to decide the fate of others. This is most obviously apparent in the Ashley/Josh possible death scene, where Chris has to decide who gets to live:
My Bloody Valentine / The Descent
I'm putting both there at equal value because of what they represent. Both horror stories explore the idea of an abandoned mine/cave and what might lurk therein.
The Descent has a group of climbers explore a cave in which live... oh I don't know... creatures... let's call them Wendigos, why not.
Meanwhile, My Bloody Valentine tells the story of miners trapped, an abandoned mine and possibly a survivor going back to kill whoever was responsible. It's the story being used by Josh to scare his friends but it's also what The Stranger ends up looking like. Unbeknownst to Josh, his existence ends up leading credence to his story.
Speaking of strangers in mines, let's talk about his flamethrower!
A gruff-looking man, in a winter location, far from civilization? Hunting beasts?
Yep, RJ MacReady. Both are hunting strange things in the snow.
What's next? More death references? Okay!
While there are many depictions of Russian Roulette in cinema, few have the participants being forced to play. The possible death scene of Chris and Ashley is reminiscent of this scene:
And while Josh isn't in the background yelling "Mao! Mao!", the stress is just as real.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
If you try to save Emily while playing as Matt, you end up on your own. And as you search for Emily, you find yourself face to face with a Wendigo. It doesn't end well:
This is a direct homage to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, where one of the protagonists meets a similar end:
See, you're all excited now. But you know what? I saved the best for last.
April Fools' Day (1986)
Not to be confused with the horrible, horrible remake, April Fools' Day tells the story of nine students at a remote mansion who seem to suffer a serious case of murderitis. And, like in Until Dawn, it's later revealed that it is all an orchestrated prank, complete with special effects.
But the fun doesn't stop there... and the same can be said of Until Dawn.
Larry Fessenden had a role in this movie where a crew tries to clean up an old abandoned hospital. Larry Fessenden's character in Until Dawn ends up living in an abandoned hospital, where Mike first sees him.
The Last Winter / Wendigo
Showing just how much Fessenden is obsessed with the creatures, here are two movies he wrote about Wendigos. In Wendigo, a photographer hits a deer (there is a wounded deer scene in Until Dawn) and later on, after an argument with a strange man, faces what seems to be a Wendigo.
In The Last Winter, oil drillers in the Arctic end up facing... you guessed it... Wendigo!
Now, I'm not saying that Larry Fessenden used SONY to plug every single movie he's written/produced/starred in...
I'm saying... ah hell, he's used SONY to plug every movie he's written/produce/starred in:
Bitter Feast, House of the Devil and many other movie posters are shown in the movie room. These are all real movies that Larry touched one way or another...
That's it for now! As I mentioned, I've only just scratched the surface.