10 Horror Movie References In 'The Irregulars' Season 1

- The Irregulars -
10 Horror Movie References In 'The Irregulars' Season 1

Do you like scary movies? Tom Bidwell, the writer and creator of The Irregulars certainly does, because his new Netflix show is full of homages to classic horror films. Throughout Season 1, The Irregulars makes references to scary movies past and present, while also subverting common tropes by putting its own spin on everything from Darkness Falls to Nightmare on Elm Street.

Warning: Spoilers for The Irregulars Season 1.

Add in all of the nods to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original Sherlock Holmes canon, and The Irregulars has a surprising amount of pop culture references for a show set in Victorian England. And I have to say, I'm here for it. The show's references add a whole new dimension to the viewing experience if you happen to love every corner of the horror genre — including the cheesy/gory blockbusters of the early '00s (a truly dark time for serious horror lovers, but one that's well worth revisiting if you like a little camp with your scares).

From the show's creepy opening scene that introduces a nightmare villain on par with Freddy Krueger to its Ouija... err, make that talking board obsession, here's every horror movie homage in The Irregulars you may have missed.

1. A Nightmare On Elm Street

In The Irregulars' first scene, the show introduces a villain designed to give you major Freddy Krueger vibes. But while Freddy has his signature razor-claw gloves, Jessie's nightmare monster wears a plague mask. However, they're both equally scary and capable of making nightmares feel all too real.

2. The Birds

The entirety of the pilot is one big ole reference to Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. Ultimately, there's a supernatural explanation for why the birds in Victorian London are snatching children on the show, but that doesn't stop The Irregulars from including a few shot-for-shot remakes of iconic scenes from the film. The most chilling of which is the aftermath of a young woman whose eyes have been pecked out (the show even one-ups Hitchcock by having her surrounding by feathers to maximize the creepiness).

3. The Shining

In The Shining, Dick Hallorann is a kindly man whose ability to "shine" connected him to Danny, and allowed the little boy to reach out for help when his dad starts listening to murderous ghosts. Meanwhile, The Irregulars doesn't call Jessie's gift "the shine," but that's more or less what it is, and the man who pulls her to the safety of New Orleans to teach her about her gifts while she's dreaming gives off major Hallorann vibes... at least at first.

4. Ouija

Ouija boards are basically a horror movie staple, so The Irregulars' sprit board moments could technically be referencing any number of films. But there's some definite similarities between Season 1 and 2014's Ouija, especially since all of the characters who use the boards are trying to make contact with loved ones who have died tragically.

5. Darkness Falls

The Tooth Fairy is always creepy, but she's extra creepy in both the underrated 2003 movie Darkness Falls and The Irregulars. In both the show and the movie, children receive visits from a vengeful woman who is trying to right wrongs from her past, but The Irregulars goes for maximum creepiness by having her steal teeth right of the heads of sleeping children.

6. Us

Hey, just because the show's set in Victorian England that doesn't mean it can't sneak in a nod to one of the creepiest scary movies in recent memory. Even though the show's second episode doesn't feature any tethered people, it does have evil clones who are grown from teeth (I know) and enjoy sneaking up on their doppelgangers when they least expect it.

7. The Terminator

Just in case you hadn't noticed how effortlessly cool John Watson is, The Irregulars had him toss out Kyle Reese's "come with me if you want to live" line a good century before The Terminator was released.

8. Depraved/Frankenstein

In episode six, The Irregulars riffs on Frankenstein when a wife builds her husband a new body out of spare parts, but the end result looks an awful lot like the monstrous creation in 2019's indie horror film The Depraved.

9. The Nun

When an ill-timed prayer turns Sister Anna into a demonic nun in the series finale, it's hard not to have flashbacks to the 2018 film The Nun. Although, thankfully for Sister Anna, her condition isn't permanent, whereas the creepy nun in the movie is stuck in jump scare purgatory.

10. Game of Thrones

I know Game of Thrones isn't a horror movie, but The Irregulars devotes an entire episode to a young girl stealing people's faces in order to disguise herself Arya Stark style, and that reference is just too creepy not to mention just because GoT is a TV show. Come on, she even has her own mini-Hall of Faces!

Clearly, The Irregulars' creator knows the horror genre inside and out, and he's not afraid of showing his love for scary movies through some seriously spooky homages.

Check out all of our coverage for The Irregulars here.

Images: Netflix; New Line Cinema; Universal Pictures; Warner Bros. Pictures; Sony Pictures; Orion Pictures; IFC Films; HBO

Join For Free
Sign up for a free account on our new, female-founded site to personalize your feed and get access to our community and conversations.

Discover More