Jordan Peele has only directed a handful of movies so far and Nope represents his biggest output to date, further cementing his authoritative status with his unique blend of psychological horror, supernatural and social commentary with the almighty hit genre. It’s no surprise, then, that a film focusing on strange phenomena on a California ranch, a race to capture proof of its existence and the possibility of sharing it with the world despite the perils of death draws inspiration from several well-known blockbusters. and horror movies.
Fans will find plenty of distinct narrative beats, strikingly similar themes and scenes from across Steven Spielberg’s career, as well as directors who have been compared favorably to Peele, such as M. Night Shyamalan. Even though he references these films, Peele’s indelible mark on the blockbuster, horror and sci-fi genres is defined by how he uses his inspiration in new and innovative ways.
by Steven Spielberg Jawsdepicting an Ahabian quest for glory against a man-eating shark lurking off a seaside town, inspires not only Nope with its simple and effective horror storytelling, but it’s the hit show that Peele ridicules with his film.
Antlers Holst, the famous cinematographer reduced to shooting corny commercials, even follows the character arc of the shark hunter Quint, and when Holst narrates the “Flying Purple People Eater”, it’s in the same way as the Quint’s “Indianapolis speech”. Each man has a destined encounter against the very enemy he seeks to vanquish, a predator whose connection to the summation of their lives will earn them prestige, even as they represent the cautionary tale of pride and obsession with notoriety gone too far.
Spielberg’s other release, jurassic park, focuses on humanity’s arrogance towards members of the animal kingdom as it follows John Hammond, owner and financier of a themed parking lot featuring dinosaurs, as he attempts to assert his dominance over a species he does not understand. When the animals eventually rebel against their captors and go on a dangerous rampage, Hammond must face the consequences of his actions.
There’s one particular scene, in which Tyrannosaurus Rex is fed a goat, but the predator wants to engage with its primal instinct to hunt, not be appeased. Trying to train her with human notions of domesticity is at odds with her entire natural programming, and much like the scene featuring the Star Lasso experiment involving Skirt and a horse, the T-Rex turns to consuming people. the same way Jean Jacket does. jurassic park illustrates OJ Haywood’s message of making a deal with animals on their terms (instead of trying to control them) by saying that only when humans and dinosaurs can co-exist for the benefit of the dinosaur will “the life will find a way”.
King Kong (and its many remakes) is the story of a magnificent discovery, a unique great ape found only on a jungle island, and the humans who attempt to pacify him and turn him into a commodity or a secondary attraction. Their pursuit of fame and fortune at the expense of the monkey’s comfort leads him to free himself from his slavery and terrorize New York.
Peele highlights a similar theme in Nope, starting with OJ and Emerald Haywood trying to capture photographic evidence of Jean Jacket, and continuing with other characters like Antlers Holst, Ricky “Jupe” Park, and even the TMZ motorcyclist. Their quest for fame and fortune coupled with manipulating Jean Jacket into doing what they want him to do without showing him the slightest respect puts them all in danger. It’s ironic that King Kong has inspired many movie monsters, despite what he stands for.
Dating of the Third Kind
Another of Spielberg’s best adventure movies involves his own flying saucer. Dating of the Third Kind was a blockbuster in its time, with impressive visual effects that offered some of the most realistic depictions of UFOs ever seen in cinema. While Spielberg’s film suggests that humanity is ready for contact, that being invited into the saucer is an invitation to explore the cosmos, Peele’s film shows that because humans can be selfish, only caring to document the spectacle and to be close to fame, to be invited into the saucer only means death and horror.
Just like when Jean Jacket arrives in Nope, when the mothership passes over an electrified area, it causes blackouts and dead zones. The film also follows a similar structural pattern, with the first encounter being categorized as sighting, the second type being evidence, and the third type being contact with the alien mothership. There are those who flock to document the ship to fame, and those who simply hope to survive an alien invasion, with Neary desiring nothing more than irrefutable proof of extraterrestrial life, much like the Haywood siblings getting their “impossible move”.
A bit like in Nope, Panels is a tense thriller about aliens who take a long time to reveal themselves. A family that lives on a farm (much like the Haywood Ranch) is repeatedly thwarted by aliens through various methods, causing them to question the true intentions of their spectacular visitors.
Panels uses language like “predator” to describe its extraterrestrials, and much like in Nope with the horses of Haywood, it is the other animals around the ranch that begin to notice the first “signs” of their hostile presence. Like Peele, director M. Night Shyamalan chooses to build a plot on mystery, as well as employing one of Peele’s other trademarks, a certain soundscape and musical motif. Both directors leave questions lingering with their audiences about the alien’s true intentions even after completing the film, and neither believes in giving audiences the payoff they expect.
Like the Haywoods, another California family is beset by strange and inexplicable events in Fighting spirit, leading to supernatural entities trying to communicate with each member through their electronic devices. The ghost’s antics grow more menacing over time, until the family must make one last stand against them.
There is even a moment in Nope where, “They are there”, said the famous phrase in Fighting spirit is used just as Jean Jacket arrives at the Haywood property. The film’s focus on family members, no matter how tightly they come together to face menacing supernatural entities, echoes the Haywood siblings who work together to protect their ranch while gaining their “impossible shot”.
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