Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the showrunner and creative force behind the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, is a huge horror movie fan. If you need proof look no further than nearly every frame of the Netflix adaptation of his comic book. While it’s cool to see references to cinematic masterpieces like Hellraiser and Basket Case on a show that’s ostensibly for teenagers, detractors can feel frustrated when each reference seems dished out as an easy way to tell the story. And you should absolutely check out these shows that are like Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
However, fans of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina might point out that the series chooses to highlight visual touchstones from the horror medium, building on those inspirations and revolutionizing what was there. Whether you’re a Sabrina stan who hasn’t seen a lot of horror films and you’re curious about the references in the series, or you're a horror connoisseur who has yet to see what the fuss is about, this collection of horror references in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will surely inform and astound you.
In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it Easter egg, viewers can see that the Spellmans are keeping a baby Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors in her house. This has little to do with the series on a whole and serves as more of a wink and a nod to horror fans. Still, it's fun to think that if things get crazy in Greendale, there could be an entire episode dedicated to the Spellmans defeating a giant, man-eating plant.
The Venn diagram for Buffy fans and Sabrina fans is nearly a perfect circle, and there are some notable similarities between episode 5 and the Season 4 finale of Buffy. The episode sees the Scooby gang fight for their lives in separate dreams that all teach them a little something about themselves. Sabrina's episode is essentially a retread of this idea, but it's hard to tell if the episode was just being a little too reverential to its predecessor, or if the idea was lifted wholesale. Judging from the rest of the series, it's likely that parallel is intentional, but it's still strange that the episodes mirror each other so significantly.
The episodes have a similar narrative flow, with the demon stalking the gang through their dreams only to be defeated by a teenage hero. Admittedly, the two episodes do have vastly different endings.
In the opening montage of episode 1, there are a lot of obvious horror references thrown at the audience. Sabrina and co. debating Night of the Living Dead is more of an acknowledgment than an Easter egg.
However, one visual reference that really pays off is a quick shot of Harvey and Sabrina watching a movie that's a reverse shot pulled directly from Michael Jackson's music video for "Thriller." In the shot, Sabrina is essentially playing the Michael part and eating popcorn while Harvey holds onto her as spooky images play out across the screen.
The Munsters is one of the greatest horror properties in history, and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina pays homage to the series twice. First, in the comic the series is based on, a young Edward Spellman looks almost exactly like Eddie Munster. However, the Netflix adaptation tops this reference by dressing Suze up like the young Munster for a Halloween party in episode 2, complete with widow's peak and weird little short pants.
This Easter egg is easily one of the most enjoyable because it doesn't require any extra legwork, and it's just cool to see Suze getting to have some fun after a really stressful couple of episodes.