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SYFY WIRE The Black Phone

Did You Catch It? The Black Phone Co-Writer Explains Horror Film's Comic Book Easter Eggs

The Black Phone has some interesting comic book offerings hidden in the horror.

By Matthew Jackson
Vance Hopper (Brady Hepner) and Finney Shaw (Mason Thames) in The Black Phone (2022)

You don't necessarily think of comic books when you think of The Black Phone, at least not at first. Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill's adaptation of Joe Hill's terrifying short story of the same name is a film that's more about survival, claustrophobia, and the dark side of kid life than it is about pop culture references.

The references are certainly there if you're willing to look, though, and if you look close enough, you might notice a few bits of pop culture ephemera that feel a

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Over the weekend, writer, podcaster, and former SYFY WIRE editor Scott Edelman posted over on BlueSky that he'd been watching The Black Phone, and noticed something interesting about a scene taking place in the neighborhood convenience store within the world of the film. Namely, if you look closely at the comic book racks in the shop, you'll see a couple of titles with recognizable names -- like The Six Million Dollar Man and Starlog magazine -- and many others that look like they were simply made-up. Edelman wondered aloud why this was the case, prompting Cargill to chime in with an answer.

"When we were in pre-production, we had not yet locked down the year and were merely operating in the mid-to-late 70s," he wrote. "We could get clearance for 6M Dollar man and Starlog, but little else. So everything else you can't identify was made by enthusiastic prop makers as Easter egg jokes."

The scene in question arrives about 70 minutes into the film, when Finney (Mason Thames) gets a call on the black phone of the title from the ghost of Vance Hopper (Brady Hepner), a local bully who was one of the victims of The Grabber (Ethan Hawke). This prompts a flashback scene to the convenience store, where Vance is playing pinball and trying to beat his high score.

When another kid bumps the pinball machine and disrupts the game, a fight breaks out, which allows us to glimpse the magazine racks amid the chaos. If you look closely, you will indeed see made-up comic book titles like The DefecatorFlesh Sandwich, and Adventures of Robotico. It's a very brief moment, but honestly, after having glanced back at it, I wouldn't mind reading an issue or two of Flesh Sandwich, just to see what's up there. Kudos to the production team on making those comics look like they fit right in.

The Black Phone is now available from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.