TRIBUTES TO THE SHINING
Director Jordan Peele was inspired by a host of horror classics and paid some of his most overt homages to Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 Stephen King adaptation. In Get Out‘s opening scene, ill-fated Andre (Lakeith Stanfield) says, “I feel like I’m in a hedge maze out here,” while lost on the Armitage family’s turf. Notably, The Shining’s iconic climax takes place in a hedge maze. Later, when Chris’s (Daniel Kaluuya) TSA friend Rod (Lil Rel Howery) is at the airport trying to contact him, we hear a PA announcement about flight 237. As any Shining diehard knows, 237 is also the number of the most frightening room at the Overlook hotel. Peele confirmed the numerical connection on Twitter.
SILVER SPOONS AND TEACUPS
Missy (Catherine Keener) uses a spoon and a teacup to hypnotically trap her victims in the Sunken Place. Her weapon of choice’s historical connection goes even deeper than the whole “born with a silver spoon in her mouth” adage. “First of all, I liked the idea that the character is using a silver spoon in the scene, which is a symbol for privilege, but there’s also a connotation for me of clinking a teacup to calling a slave. I do know it was used to call slaves in that way in the same way as a bell,” Peele explained to Austalia’s SBS News.
WALTER'S RUNNING FIXATION
Thanks to Walter (Marcus Henderson), creeps abound when Chris steps outside at night for a smoke. The “caretaker” is out on the lawn running sprints with haunting concentration. It’s later revealed that Walter is actually Rose’s (Allison Williams) grandfather, who really, truly did not ever get over losing to Jesse Owens in Olympic qualifications. “I always had this idea that Grandpa, who is in Walter’s body, is running because he’s trying to beat Jesse’s time,” Peele told Vanity Fair.
In a video for Vanity Fair, Peele confirmed fan theories about how the guests arrived to the Armitage’s yearly bash. “When all the old white people show up at the party, Walter is giving them a hug and everything. They’re old friends,” he said. The director also noted the significance of the cars the guests pulled up in: “They all arrived in black cars, like the black cars they’re going to ride away in.”
As with Walter, there are many clues that Georgina (Betty Gabriel) isn’t your typical domestic worker. When Dean is giving Chris a tour of the house, he notes,”My mother loved her kitchen so we keep a piece of her in it,” as Georgina stands at the counter. Later, we discover just how literal he was being.
THE CAMERA WILL SET YOU FREE
Logan is briefly overpowered by Andre, the true owner of his body, after Chris’s camera flash goes off during the Armitage party. As The Atlantic writer Lenika Cruz explains, we can’t ignore the significance of a camera empowering Andre in a time when camera phones have emerged as a defense against the brutalization of black bodies. Peele spoke about how the Black Lives Matter movement informed his work with the New York Times. “I was making the movie in that period when Trayvon [Martin] was [killed]. What originally started as a movie to combat the lie that America had become post-racial became a movie where the cat is out of bag, and now we’re having this conversation,” he said.
Chris manages to escape the diabolical pre-surgery hynotizing by using cotton from the armchair he’s strapped to as earplugs. Obviously, cotton plays a major role in black American history. “We had a special arm of the chair made with cotton stuffed into it, so we could have the grand irony of him being freed by cotton,” Peele told Vanity Fair.
“That’s the basement, we had to seal it up. Some black mold down there,” Dean (Bradley Whitford) explains to Chris while showing him around the house. The true meaning of “black mold” comes to light when it’s revealed the basement is where the Armitages transfer white minds to black bodies.
THANK YOU FOR NOT SMOKING
Before things go bonkers, the Armitages give Chris a massive amount of flack for his smoking habit, and it’s not for his own good. “Smoking does poison your body, and they are looking for perfect vessels,” Peele said of their preoccupation with the vice.
A DIRECTOR IS A TERRIBLE THING TO WASTE
Peele’s voice is used at two points in the movie. He provides the sound of the dying deer Rose hits with the car, and also voices the United Negro College fund ad that declares, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” The slogan ends up having pretty nefarious connotations in the film’s context.