by David Christopher Bell
There are two reasons a movie might re-use a prop: because they have to or because they want to. Sometimes you love a movie so much you want to use or recreate a piece of it to show that love, or – if your budget is in the dumps – you just need something from the prop warehouse to re-paint and use as your own.
Whatever the case, iconic is iconic, so if you are watching close enough you just might catch these one-of-a-kind props in films you wouldn’t expect them to be in.
10. Miho In Sin City Is The 89th Member Of The Crazy 88
Turns out that deadly hookin’ ninja Miho in Sin City was using borrowed swords from the production of Kill Bill. It’s probably the least surprising piece of movie trivia considering not only that Tarantino and Robert Rodreiguez are BFFs but also for the fact that when you build like 50+ samurai swords you’re going to want to get your money’s worth.
It’s a shame that they didn’t give her one of the Bride’s swords – that way it could have been the same prop to both under decapitate Lucy Liu and to deliver the fatal Benicio Del Toro necking.
9. Freddy Krueger Left A Glove In Evil Dead II’s Tool Shed
Not that there’s any confirmation either way, but I’m gonna go ahead and assume that the movie that was filmed inside an old high school gym didn’t actually get the prop from Nightmare On Elm St. Still – it’s the thought here that counts as director Sam Raimi continues a back and forth between himself and director Wes Craven, who stuck The Evil Dead into the first Elm St. film.
If you ask me, no shed is truly complete without a razor glove hanging somewhere amongst the tools – how else are you expected to catch and kill an owl in the same motion?
8. Arnold Finally Gets To Use Blain’s Minigun In Terminator 2
The story goes that after Jesse “Captain Freedom” Ventura got to have his fun with it on the set of Predator, Mr. Schwarzenegger was itching to try it out. As was James Cameron. So they stuck the same model in there because well… it’s awesome. It’s literally the most impractical gun ever. It’s the stretch Hummer of guns.
I read some time back that miniguns were technically legal in the US because of whatever this gun control act says. Skeptically speaking, if that’s true then why aren’t I shredding rabbits in my backyard this very moment?
7. The Equipment That Made The Joker Also Made Steve Martin Terrifying In Little Shop Of Horrors
That’s right – the exact same prop tools have been used to make both Jack Nicholson and Bill Murray happy. The only difference is the level of shininess to the torture props, which were also used in Dead Ringers. Basically whenever someone needs to scare the shit out of the audience with the promise of torture, they dust off the ol’ terror kit and bring out these puppies. Whoever first made them must feel pretty good/horrified about themselves right about now.
Really the only question now is: did they remember to wash them? I know it sounds like a stupid query at first, but when you think about it… what if each prop department just assumed the last people washed it afterward? Just think, some bolt cutters and a genetics lab and we could be cooking up some Nicholmurrays in no time at all.
6. Die Hard And The Hunt For Red October Share The Same Teddy Bear
It’s nice to see that the teddy bear finally does make it into a child’s arms after all it’s been through – it’s the Cinderella story of stuffed animals… so I guess that would make it a Velveteen Rabbit story. Holy shit, can you imagine if that stuffed bear was Toy Story sentient? Hanging out in the backseat with Argyle listening to Run DMC and shit. After that he gets a freaking close up in a film with Alec Baldwin and Sean Connery? Bear’s had a better movie career than The Rock.
And you can rest assured that this was intentional, for if you haven’t realized it yet, Die Hard and Hunt For Red October were both directed by jailbird John McTiernan. If only he kept this bear theme going and made the Predator alien fuzzy and brown.
5. The Pod From 2001 Made It To A Galaxy Far, Far Away
That’s correct. Somehow after all the events of 2001 and 201,0 an EVA pod managed to make its way through the universe and land smack dab into Watto’s junkyard in The Phantom Menace. It’s enough to make Stanley Kubrick roll in his grave had he not already tired himself out from A.I.
Look – it’s great that George Lucas wanted to give tribute to a film that no doubt inspired him over the years, but why in this film? This is like a serial killer carving “Go Red Sox” into one of his victims – just a terrible, terrible endorsement. It’s one thing to stick E.T. in your movie because you had a hand in it, but leave 2001 alone, guy.
4. Marion Crane Stands By Her Car 38 Years After Psycho
Chills, guys. Freaking chills. Even in a film where LL Cool J’s arc is finding out what kind of erotic novels to write, this is simply amazing to see. Not only do we have Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role in a Halloween movie, but we also have her doing it across from her mother Janet Leigh, yet another iconic horror queen. Sure – it’s not the first time mother and daughter did a scary movie together, just look at The Fog, but it is the first time we get to see Janet Leigh get in the very same car that drove her to the Bates Motel all those years ago.
Then comes the real chill, as she walks to the car we hear just the faintest reprisal of the very same score from the driving scene in Psycho. Fucking exhilarating. As far as people who aren’t John Carpenter go, I think director Steve Miner did amazingly in making this film.
3. The Ghostbusters’ PKE Meter Shows Up In They Live
Might as well keep that John Carpenter train going. Did anyone else notice this shit? The bad guys are using these futuristic walkie-talkies that are clearly just the PKE meters from Ghostbusters repainted black. It’s just one more beautiful detail to this already awesome film. The best part is that you can’t tell if they did it on purpose or not, much like the rest of the film as well.
Like, do you think there was any point between the Nana/Frank “put on the sunglasses” fist fight where someone stopped and asked, “Hey is this ridiculous?” or do you think that was the point all along? They Live is like that guy at the party who you can’t tell if he is messing with you or actually as crazy as he seems.
2. Young Frankenstein Simply Reused The Original 1931 Props
Okay – this was not out of budgetary necessity but rather part of the plan. Mel Brooks wanted his monster spoof to be as authentic to old Hollywood as he could get it, which was why he shot in black and white and at iconic locations from older films, one of which being the original 1931 Frankenstein.
To further tribute the originals, Brooks managed to get effects artist Ken Strickfaden to dig out the original props and set pieces from the laboratory. Strickfaden being the man behind the electrical effects in the original film and, of course, the famous Blackenstein follow up movie that everyone loves so much.
It’s always nice to see a film contributing to its own spoof – not unlike how they used both the original Saw set and the plane crash set from War Of The Worlds for those terrible Scary Movie sequels.
1. Sam Raimi’s 1973 Yellow Oldsmobile Delta 88
This car is to Sam Raimi what Bill Paxton is to James Cameron: dead on the inside but still presentable on camera.
The list is huge – originally serving as Ash’s car in the Evil Dead series, you can see it in Crimewave, Darkman, A Simple Plan, The Gift, Drag Me To Hell, and of course as Uncle Ben’s car in the Spider-Man series. This puppy has been around. It even appeared in his western The Quick And The Dead. That time he stuck it under a covered wagon so as to not, you know, confuse people.
Man, Bill Paxton should really direct another horror film; Frailty was the bomb. Seriously.