Oh, those Bad Robot people are operating on a level way above us, to the point where they reference things in their movies before the thing being referenced has even actually happened. We were all pretty confused when the first trailer for 10 Cloverfield Lane dropped, because we didn’t know the movie was even underway, but also because of all the weird Easter eggs we saw that might have been part of the movie’s viral marketing and Augmented Reality Game. Well, if you’ve seen the movie (which you should if you haven’t), you noticed that John Gallagher, Jr. and Mary Elizabeth Winstead are watching a movie called Cannibal Airlines. Not a real movie, right? Well… sort of.
Turns out, Cannibal Airlines is one of a plethora of fake VHS-box movie titles dreamed up by writer Rob Schrab, one of Dan Harmon‘s collaborators and the director of the upcoming LEGO Movie 2. In an interview with Slash Film, 10 Cloverfield Lane director Dan Trachtenberg explains:
Rob would like make these fake VHS cassettes and send them to Bad Robot. They have a bunch of them. Just for laughs. And we thought it would be awesome to include one of them in the movie in this montage sequence when they’re watching something. We thought it would be funny to see like when there’s, when you were stuck down there and you have to find something to watch, if even a really bad movie like that could be enjoyable.
In fact, you can buy a t-shirt of the fake movie from teepublic along with several other of Schrab’s fake movies, including Shark Hotel, Assault with a Mummified Weapon, and Wizard Vigilante, the box of which was tweeted out by the first LEGO Movie co-director Chris Miller when Schrab got the job.
But don’t count out ever seeing any of these movies on screen. When asked by Slash Film, producer J.J. Abrams was his usual cagey self about it:
“The Cannibal Airlines thing is a very funny little reference. It’s sort of something that is part of another conceit. But we’ll see if that comes to light. It’d be fun if it did.”
It’d be funny if it did. Spoken like a true evil genius.
Would you watch Cannibal Airlines if given the opportunity? How about the other VHS tapes? Let us know (and come up with your own!) in the comments below.
Images: Bad Robot/Rob Schrab
Kyle Anderson is the Weekend Editor and a film and TV critic for Nerdist.com. Follow him on Twitter!