Is Riverdale secretly paying homage to Wes Craven?

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Oct 30, 2017, 6:09 PM EDT

There's nothing more terrifying than the eerie world of small-town America, right? The CW's Riverdale would certainly have you believe that. The show’s interpretation of the town, based on characters from Archie Comics, is not without its ominous atmosphere full of lies and secrets, especially after rich and popular Jason Blossom, played by Trevor Stines, is murdered. Episode 1 dives right into Sweetwater River, kicking off the season's murder investigation, which slowly unearths the town's rotten core and everyone's true colors. 

Riverdale creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is no stranger to horror; he was a writer for 2013's Carrie and 2014's The Town That Dreaded Sundown.  We've dissected some of the uncanny similarities between Craven’s films and the CW series.  Sure, these correlations to Wes Craven and Riverdale could just be coincidences. Even if the Craven connection is unintentional or subconscious, there’s no doubt that Craven still haunts our imaginations up to this very day. Let’s take a stroll down Elm Street and check out these nods to Wes Craven in Riverdale that you might have missed.

Season 2 of Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.

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Riverdale's storyline is giving us serious Scream flashbacks

Probably the most obvious observation to make of the bunch, Craven directed films My Soul to Take (2010) and Scream (1996) with a similar storyline of Riverdale's first season: a murder mystery having everyone trying to uncover "whodunit?". My Soul to Take follows seven teenagers who are targeted by a serial killer. The town has an idea of who it might be but it's not without twists and turns. Scream is about a teenager who lost her mom and a year later, gets terrorized by an unknown killer. After some laughs and deaths, the unexpected is finally revealed. 


Betty and Archie live on a familiar street

Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) and Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) aren't just two of the main characters in Riverdale; they're also next-door neighbors. In the very first episode, we discover that the two actually live next door to each other on Elm Street, a street sharing the eponymous name of one of Craven's most famous series of films: Nightmare on Elm Street. Perhaps Archie and Betty should keep an eye out for a guy with knives on his hands?


Betty's house resembles another Craven heroine's residence

Speaking of Betty's house, it bears a striking resemblance to Nancy Thompson's from A Nightmare on Elm Street: predominantly white with a red front door. Thompson and Betty are both strong, stubborn about getting to the bottom of things and they live on the same street as their crush: Nancy lives across the street from her boyfriend Glen while Betty lives next to Archie. In the original Nightmare, the front door is blue, as seen in that famous final scene. However, in the rest of the Nightmare franchise, the house is heavily implied to have belonged to Freddy Krueger and, just like the Cooper's home, the door is painted red.


Jughead name-drops A Nightmare on Elm Street

Archie is extremely determined to figure out who shot his father at Pop's Diner in the season 1 finale. In his crusade to find out who the masked criminal is and to protect his dad Fred Andrews (Luke Perry), Archie stays up all night downstairs with a wood baseball bat in hand, waiting for the Black Hood to show up at the Andrews' residence. When Jughead surprises Archie lying in wait, he remarks that Archie's appearance resembles that of "a Dream Warrior from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3." (Craven was a writer, executive producer, and created the characters used in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.)


SO much casting crossover

In Riverdale, Skeet Ulrich plays Jughead's dad, FP Jones, but two decades ago he was playing a very different kind of bad boy in Craven's Scream. Molly Ringwald, known for The Breakfast Club (1985), plays Archie's mom, Mary Andrews. Fun fact: Ringwald was originally offered the role of Sydney Prescott in Scream, which would have pitted her against Ulrich as his love interest. (Other casting crossovers include Lochlyn Munro, who plays Betty's dad Hal Cooper in Riverdale and also starred in Freddy vs. Jason, which featured characters created by Craven.)


Alice Cooper reminds us of another intrepid journalist

Betty's mom, Alice Cooper (Mädchen Amick), and her desire to be the first to break the story of Jason Blossom's death appears to parallel Gale Weathers' attitude from Scream. Weathers, portrayed by Courteney Cox in the hit Craven flick, is a very determined journalist who constantly seeks the truth, a trait she shares with Riverdale’s resident mother-daughter journalists. In spite of themselves, Alice and Gale just can't help but get involved with high school murder mysteries.


Riverdale refers to Wes Craven in its most stylized opener

In episode 7 after the vintage Archie Comics-style opening sequence, Jughead (Cole Sprouse) even calls out Wes Craven by name directly. During his voiceover, he says: "What makes a place feel like home? Is it warmth and familiarity, some idealized make-believe version of the American Dream? Is it love and acceptance? Or is it simple safety? … Or it's none of those things, and it's the place where the captain of the football team is murdered. Or maybe it's just a forgotten closet under a well-trod staircase, where it's just you and the mice and the spiders like an extra in a Wes Craven movie." Doesn't get more blatantly referential than that.