‘Gerald’s Game’ Has Easter Eggs From ‘Oculus’ and the Stephen King Universe
It’s been a few days since Gerald’s Game hit Netflix, and if you’re reading this, that means you managed to avoid sustaining a severe injury from all the squirming and cringing you did during That Scene. Congrats! However, said squirming may have distracted you from a few interesting Easter eggs in Mike Flanagan’s surprisingly effective adaptation of Stephen King’s most seemingly unfilmable novel. Not only did Flanagan manage to sneak in a couple of references for hardcore King fans, but he also tossed in a couple from his own tales of terror.
Flanagan fans may recall that the spooky Lasser Glass from Oculus made an appearance in last year’s Ouija: Origin of Evil. Although the filmmaker doesn’t appear to be explicitly creating his own shared universe, he is fond of including Easter eggs that tie his horror films together. Over the weekend, Flanagan confirmed a pretty big one from Gerald’s Game that was hiding in plain sight: The headboard Carla Gugino’s Jessie is handcuffed to for most of the film is actually the frame of the Lasser Glass. You may not have noticed it because it’s upside down, with the bottom of the mirror serving as the top of the headboard.
Yep, the book that Jessie carefully grabs from above the bed is the same one written by the lead character in Hush — another film Flanagan directed for Netflix.
If you’re one of King’s super-fans (aka Constant Readers), then you’re already well-aware of how Gerald’s Game connects to the author’s other novels. Those connections remain intact in Flangan’s adaptation, which includes flashbacks to a solar eclipse — the same solar eclipse featured in Dolores Claiborne. There’s more. In the new film, Jessie recalls a strange dream she had after the eclipse:
I had a dream that night at the lake house. There was a woman standing over a deep well, looking down into the blackness. And I’m in the well, looking up at her. The sky was so dark behind her. The eclipse burning overhead, and the smell … the smell in the well. It was like pennies and oysters. She was standing there in a red dress, looking right at me…
That woman is Dolores Claiborne herself, portrayed by Kathy Bates in the 1995 film adaptation, which dropped the connections to Gerald’s Game. King released both novels in the same year, and the solar eclipse plays a pivotal role in the past lives of Jessie and the eponymous Dolores. And here’s where we get into potential spoiler territory:
During the eclipse, Jessie is being molested by her father at their family’s lake house. At the same time, on the other side of the lake, Dolores is murdering her husband, a violent man who was also sexually abusing their teenage daughter; she does so by creating a trap that causes him to fall down to the bottom of the well behind their house. As the eclipse reaches totality, Jessie and Dolores each have a mysterious vision of the other, but neither understands what it means.
There’s one more reference King fans may have noticed in Gerald’s Game: At one point, a frustrated Jessie considers giving up, to which her husband (Bruce Greenwood) says, “All things die. All things serve the beam” — a reference to The Dark Tower, King’s epic seven-book series, which confirms that all of the author’s works are connected.