In case you haven’t been paying attention, there’s horror afoot on the Nerdist Channel, and I am impossibly excited for you to see what unknown terrors await you in the form of director Andrew Bowser’s Monster Machine.
Clearly a student of the genre, Bowser, in an eldritch pact with the Elder Gods of Thespianism, transformed himself into maverick inventor Vincent Dooly, the maddest of scientists and the maker of the titular Monster Machine. With his cohort Terry Futterman, the duo proceeds to bring to life all manner of monsters, beasties, ghoulies, and things that go bump in the night until the machine goes haywire and our budding scientists get more than they bargained for. Plus, there’s a special cameo from Community creator Dan Harmon! Can you spot him? There’s more Terror Twins to titillate and transport you to a world of thrills and chills. Honestly, why are you still reading this and not watching Monster Machine?
And there you have it! That’s something else, huh? Bowser crammed some seriously deep cut horror references in there, so you’d be forgiven for not catching them all on your first walkthrough. Just to give you a sense of how much detail went into this homage, I asked the director to give us a list of Easter Eggs. So, if you haven’t seen the video yet, stop reading right now. If you have, you’re cool.
Monster Machine Easter Eggs
1. The Terror Twins are an homage to Elvira, Vampira, Rhonda Shear, and Medusa from TerrorVision.
2. Stone Brewery was chosen because it’s the director’s favorite beer and their logo is a gargoyle
3. The dog is named CHUD…after the movie CHUD.
4. There are more than 40 McFarlane Toys on the set, all owned by the director.
5. On Vincent’s board is Freddy’s glove, The Hellraiser Puzzle Box, and Lecter’s mask. The idea is that Vincent has pulled these items out of the films while practicing pulling life.
6. The Hellraiser Elysium configuration is drawn on the board.
7. Kelly LeBrock from Weird Science is on the board, along with a poster for Night of The Comet.
8. Terry Futterman is named after Murray Futterman from Gremlins.
9. Numerous props from the mother of invention can be found in the set. Macelet, Knife Hat, flux capacitor, and even the small Vincent Dooly action figure from Tears of a Child.
10. Terry Discovers the Phantasm Ball wedged in the couch.
11. There are numerous nods to Weird Science throughout the film, but especially the “creation process” of the first zombie.
12. A Pumpkinhead action figure is clearly visible on the upper shelf above the machine.
13. The first zombie is a “Thriller” zombie.
14. Terry quotes Doc Brown from Back to the Future.
15. Other tapes on the shelf include Hellraiser, Rosemary’s Baby, Night of the Demon, and Pink Flamingos (as a nod to Bowser’s roots in Maryland).
16. The Night of the Living Dead score plays at the arrival of the “Romero” zombie
17. The Romero zombie’s blood is black.
18. Dan Harmon’s office was on the same block as the set.
19. Montell Jordan’s “This is How We Do It” is Bowser’s favorite song of all time.
20. David Neher improvised his game of chicken with the bullet.
21. Almost none of the actors could put in their own contact lenses. Actor David Neher was the set “lens technician”.
22. The hula girl beaded curtain was a last minute addition to the set, after another option didn’t work out.
23. Terry and Vincent’s conversation about lizards is improvised.
24. The cop zombie is from Night of the Comet.
25. The prom zombie is from Night of the Creeps.
26. The red-haired zombie is “Trash” from Return of the Living Dead.
27. Most of the cast is made up of UCB performers and friends from Bowser’s improv group.
28. There is a Zombie Jake on the mini-fridge and Vincent wears a Finn the Human hat. Phil Rynda of Adventure Time worked on the Terror Twins sketches.
29. The cat belongs to David Neher; They got it to hiss by holding CHUD the dog just off camera.
30. The Christmas lights were burning actress Kristen Rozanski and takes had to be done quickly.
31. “Jesus Wept.” Vincent quotes Frank Cotton from Hellraiser.
32. Nathan Barnatt appears as the priest zombie.
33. Vincent is referencing Night of the Comet when he talks about the Uzi. In that film, Regina and Samantha complain about their Mac-10’s jamming, just like Vincent’s does.
34. The line “So it’s gonna be one of these huh?” was written by the DP.
35. Terry lives through what is basically a shot-for-shot recreation of Tom Atkins’ climactic battle in Night of the Creeps.
36. We see a Gremlin and Pumpkinhead flash on the Machine’s monitor after their respective objects have been digested.
37. The crew wasn’t sure how they would attain the “Spinning Atkins” shot from Night of the Creeps, until they found a large cart in the rented location that was perfect for their needs.
38. Vincent and Terry’s banter after Trash is shot was improvised.
39. The “Crab Head” monster is from John Carpenter’s The Thing.
40. Pumpkinhead is Bowser’s favorite horror movie of all time.
What did you think of Monster Machine? Would you like to see more curated shorts like this on the Nerdist Channel? Let us know in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter (and say something spooky)!