10 Homages To Classic Horror Movies In A24’s Film, “X”

Where have I seen this before?

A24’s latest horror film, X, has been released to rave reviews from audiences, critics, and even Stephen King himself, making it another hit in the studio’s ever-growing list of masterpieces.


A24 / Via YouTube

This film from director Ti West has been praised for how it pays homage to many classic horror films, making it a smart and terrifying time capsule that demands your attention. To celebrate this film’s release, here’s the list of 10 homages to classic horror movies found in A24’s X.

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

10.

Changing halfway through — Psycho


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The film explicitly calls out Psycho when Lorraine decides she wants to star in the group’s erotic film. Though her director boyfriend, RJ, refuses, saying they can’t change the story halfway through, Lorraine states this happened in Psycho, showing how self-aware the filmmakers are about the films they’re referencing. It’s also hilarious to hear RJ say his film isn’t a horror movie, and that alone told us that he was going to die.

9.

The skinny dipping scene — Jaws


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We all know the famous opening to Jaws in which a teenage girl is eaten by a shark during some late-night skinny dipping. Mia Goth’s Maxine nearly shares a similar fate in X when she swims nude in a lake home to a not-so-friendly alligator. Fortunately, Maxine gets out of the water just in time, but the gator is still a Chekhov’s gun that goes off much later.

8.

Split screen singing — Carrie


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The frightening prom massacre in Brian De Palma’s Carrie was notably shown on a split screen, and X seems to pay homage to this film by using this technique in a much different scene. When Brittany Snow’s Bobby-Lynne sings Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide,” we also see Pearl sitting alone in her makeup room, lamenting over her lost youth. It’s possible that another film inspired the filmmakers to use this split screen, but given Carrie‘s popularity during the period X is set in, it wouldn’t be a surprise if it was paying tribute to this classic Stephen King adaptation. 

7.

Maxine looking up at Pearl — Psycho


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In Psycho, we are introduced to “Mother” when Marion Crane sees her at the second-floor window from her car. In X, Maxine gets her first glimpse at Pearl just as she leaves her group’s van. Maxine looks up at the old woman staring down at her from the window of her house, setting up the disturbing relationship the two of them will develop.

6.

The murderous old lady — Psycho


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While the murderer in Psycho turns out to be Norman Bates disguised as his mother, both films present the idea of a seemingly harmless old woman secretly being a ruthless killer. Both ladies display hatred for promiscuity and deviance, with X‘s antagonist being influenced by her conservative religious beliefs. However, Pearl still longs for her youth and the sexual pleasure her husband cannot give her, hypocritically engaging in voyeurism when Maxine “acts” in her adult film.

5.

The car in the lake — Psycho


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After Marion’s infamous murder in Psycho, Norman gets rid of all the evidence by drowning Marion’s car in the nearby swamp with her in it. Like in Psycho, Howard and Pearl hide their previous victim’s car in the lake next to their house. Seeing as we’ve only followed this couple for a short time, who knows how many other secrets are hidden beneath these murky waters?

4.

The body in the basement — Psycho


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The second biggest twist in Hitchcock’s horror classic is when Lila Crane discovers that Norman’s mother was dead all along after finding her corpse in his basement. Lorraine makes a similar discovery when she finds a dead body hanging in her host’s basement, and both women scream at such horrific sights. This couldn’t be any more like Psycho unless she hit the light bulb shining behind her and Pearl came in with a kitchen knife.

3.

The peephole — Psycho


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One of the most famous shots from Psycho features Norman Bates spying on Marion Crane as she undresses through a secret peephole. Wayne is shown a similar way when he gazes through a hole in the barn door. This proves to be his downfall, as he gets stabbed in the eye by Pearl with a pitchfork. If that isn’t a middle finger to voyeurism, I don’t know what is.

2.

Chopping through the door — The Shining


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After she’s locked in Howard’s basement, Lorraine tries to break out by chopping through the door with an ax. Clearly, this is an homage to the scene in which Jack breaks into Wendy’s room in The Shining. And just like Jack, Lorraine gets her hand slashed by Howard when she tries to unlock the door. Perhaps if she had made a hole closer to the lock, she could’ve gotten out in time.

1.

The basic premise — The Texas Chainsaw Massacre


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The most obvious influence on X comes from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Both films feature a group of young adults driving in a van who all discover a family of murderers living in a house in the countryside. The house in X also looks a lot like the one Leatherface and his family live in, except there aren’t any human bones littering the place, of course. Given Texas Chainsaw‘s status in the horror genre, it’s no wonder Ti West took elements from it to make this bloody love letter to slasher cinema.

What did you think of X? Were there any other classic horror references that I missed? Please let me know in the comments section below.

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10 Homages To Classic Horror Movies In A24’s Film, “X”

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