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Details Most People Didn’t Notice In The Background Of Horror Movies, Ranked

Updated July 22, 2020 8.7k votes 1.7k voters 132.7k views12 items

List RulesVote up the background details you missed on the first viewing.

It takes a keen eye to pick up on all the little details in a good film. That's especially true of horror films, as the dim lighting and constant suspense can throw even the most astute viewer off their game. The horror genre is also known to be pretty self-referential at times, and loads of filmmakers like to hide subtle Easter eggs, celebrity cameos, and plot points right under our noses - and sometimes even in the movies' promotional posters

Some of these movies can be watched a dozen times without the viewer ever picking up on some of the hidden details layered into the film. Sometimes, it's just a small tribute to another classic horror film, and other times, there are significant plot mysteries answered in the most low-key ways imaginable. Keep an eye out the next time you watch any of these movies, because you might notice something that you've never seen before.

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  • 'Poltergeist': The Photo Changes During The Assault On Diane
    Photo: MGM

    Directed by Tobe Hooper and written/co-produced by Steven Spielberg, Poltergeist is a scary classic the shines due to the filmmakers' close attention to detail.

    Near the end of the film, there's a scene where Diane dries her hair in front of some family photos. The image cuts away to Robbie, who is assaulted by a horrifying clown doll. When the scene cuts back to Diane, now also under assault, the picture that once depicted Carol Anne has morphed into a bizarre, black and white face. It's such a small detail that it's easy to miss, but it adds another layer of horror to the scene. 

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  • The second installment of The Conjuring franchise follows paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren as they probe a demonic presence that's haunting a family. The being is eventually revealed to be a demon named Valak, but the name appears a few times before it's actually spoken.

    In one scene, you can see the name spelled out on the bookshelf in Lorraine's den. You can also see it in the kitchen scene earlier in the film.

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  • 'Midsommar': Faces In The Trees
    Photo: A24

    Midsommar might be the scariest horror movie that's not primarily set in the dark, but that doesn't mean there aren't things hiding in the shadows.

    There is one scene in particular where you can see the face of Dani's sister superimposed among the trees. It's floating in the top left corner of the frame and looks exactly like her sister, with her bulging eyes and the tube in her mouth. You can see the face during the celebration of Dani becoming the new May Queen. 

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  • The original Saw was good enough to spawn countless sequels and spinoffs, largely because of the mind-blowing twist at the end. The film follows two men who wake up in a room with a body between them. They're told that they must "play a game" if they hope to survive. At the end, it is revealed that the lifeless man in the middle of the room the entire time is slayer John Kramer, who then stands up and proclaims, "Game over."

    However, if you were watching closely, you would have seen this twist coming a mile away. That's because the first time we see Kramer, it's in a flashback where he's in a hospital bed with a sketchbook in front of him. Drawn on the page are the blueprints for the horrific reverse bear trap device from the beginning of the film, telegraphing that Kramer was behind it all along. 

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