Jordan Peele’s directorial debut was with his release of the mind blowing film Get Out. Profiting over the initial $4 million budget in box office sales, the much anticipated movie brought in more than $150 million (and still counting).
Get Out is now the third-biggest R-rated horror film of all time, behind only Hannibal ($165 million in 2001) and The Exorcist ($232 million including reissues).
The movie was one that struck up conversations, debates and possible disagreements but nonetheless it got the people talking and thinking about every subliminal message that was hidden within the plot of the movie .
“I wanted to make a movie viewers would need to see twice,” Peele said.
If that were his goal, then mission accomplished. After seeing the movie when it debuted and after watching it a second time, it was clear that there were many signs and symbols that could have easily been underestimated and even missed for those who may not be consciously aware.
Let’s see how many messages or “Easter Eggs” -as Peele calls them- you were able to catch throughout the film.
SPOILER ALERT: If you have not yet watched Get Out you may want to stop reading here.
- Chris used the cotton stuffing in the arm of the chair he was strapped to, to plug his ears so that he wouldn’t be subdued into the final stages of the transformation. This is notable given the role that cotton picking played in the enslavement of black people. His arms and feet were bound, much like a slave would be shackled, and cotton ended up saving his life.
- Upon arriving at the Armitage’s house, Rose and Chris share with Rose’s parents that they’d hit a deer. This prompts Rose’s father Dean to talk about how deer need to be eradicated, because of how they are ruining the ecosystem. This is coded language for how he actually feels about black people, and the need to control their role in the ecosystem.
- Dean reveals very early the source of the family’s hatred towards black men during the tour of the house. It stems from his father losing to Jesse
Owens in the 1936 Olympics, which were held in Nazi Germany. Jesse Owens’ victory was a clear challenge to Hitler’s belief that German “Aryan” people were the superior race. Dean’s father clearly felt overshadowed by this physical and political victory, spawning an extreme sense of jealousy and hatred for black men’s physical ability. We later see in the video Chris is forced to watch that Dean’s father was the mastermind behind the whole transformation process.
- Chris uses a ball to subdue Jeremy, thus escaping that room, and the next phase of transformation. Often times black men are taught that the only way to escape a bad environment is through physical prowess, by excelling as an athlete. In this case, a ball actually did save a black man’s life.
- While Chris is in the basement of the home presumably undergoing the torturous transformation he’s been lured there for, Rose is casually listening to (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life, and looking up NCAA top prospects on her tablet. Her physical posture shows her indifference, yet the song reflects that she is very much pleased with her actions both previous and current. This is an overriding theme in the premise of the movie in that there is no value placed on the minds of the black men chosen, only the physical or artistic talents (Chris was a photographer, Andre was a jazz musician).
- Chris’ clue that something was off with the other black people at the house was their inability to recognize social cues associated with black culture. When he tried to dap Andre up at the party, Andre misses the cue and when Chris mentions that he didn’t want to be a ‘snitch’ to Georgina, she isn’t familiar with the term. Obviously not all black people in the world know these social norms; therefore, those weren’t what solidified for Chris that these people weren’t in essence black.
- At the entrance of the house there are two pillars with symbols that look like the Greek letter Omega. Omega is the last letter in the Greek alphabet, and is often referred to as the end. We sometimes refer to God as being the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. Going into the Armitage’s home signified a possible end for Chris.
- Chris had just escaped the house by justifiably killing everyone in it. After everything that he had gone through to survive, when he saw the police lights of the car, his first reaction was to put his hands up to show that he wasn’t a threat, despite the fact that he had been lured, tortured and targeted from the very beginning of his visit to meet the parents of Rose. In spite of all that happened, he knew that he would still be presumed to be the villain that came to attack a white family.
- The sunken place is similar to the actual paralyzing state of being when you are unable to defend yourself against racism in certain settings like the workplace. The hypnosis is a satirical/extreme example of the psychology associated with enduring racism of all kinds. You are aware that it is happening, but the need to keep your job, or not go to jail prevents you from being able to react. The mind of the actual black person was trapped in the sunken place, and while they were aware, they were unable to react.
- In the movie, the white guest at the Armitage’s home were all intrigued by something physical about Chris, the grandfather was idolizing his artistic eyes, one of the guest’s wife was interested in how strong and big Chris’ muscles were. This goes to show how our physical and cultural attributes capture the eyes of whites.
- The groundskeeper, Walter, was seen running extremely fast around the yard of the Armitage’s. It was dark, there was no specific trail for this type of running exercise. As it turns out, in the beginning of the movie Dean mentioned that his father ‘almost’ got over the fact that a black man had beaten him in the race against Jesse Owens. He was subliminally speaking on the fact that the grandfather was now using walter as a vessel to get the speed that he longed for, resulting in him running at odd times of the night just to experience the speed that he was not used to.
- 12. Rose noticed that something was wrong with Chris, she asked him did he want to take a walk, intelligently luring him away from what was really going on down in the yard…. an auction. In this scene, you see Dean holding up hand signs, eventually auctioning off Chris to the grandfather, the highest bidder. This ‘Easter Egg’ referred back to the days that slaves were auctioned to the highest bidder. Slaves would be brought from the pen, in turn, to stand on a raised platform so that they could be seen by the buyers. Before the bidding began, those that wished to, could come up onto the platform to inspect the slaves closely. The slaves had to endure being poked, prodded and forced to open their mouths for the buyers. The auctioneer would decide a price to start the bidding. This would be higher for fit, young slaves and lower for older, very young or sickly slaves. Potential buyers would then bid against each other. The person who bid the most would then own that slaves.
- As Chris was going through his ‘sunken place,’ Rose was upstairs looking for more men to enslave through her family’s system. As she was online looking for these black victims, you can see that she has a glass of milk with a straw separated from her bowl of colorful cereal, which seemed to be fruit loops. This symbolized the segregation and separation of the society’s old and present take on race. In the eyes of racist individuals, color and whites can never be one.
- The first song we hear at the beginning of the movie is Childish Gambino’s Redbone. Director Jordan Peele was very intentional in choosing this song for the intro to the movie.
But stay woke
They gon’ find you
Gon’ catch you sleepin’ (oh
Now stay woke
Now don’t you close your eyes
“Well, first of all, I love the ‘Stay Woke’ [lyric] — that’s what this movie is about. I wanted to make sure that this movie satisfied the black horror movie audience’s need for characters to be smart and do things that intelligent, observant people would do,” Peele said.
As you read through the subliminal messages dispersed throughout the movie are you able to identify with the signs and symbols? Are there any that should be added?
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