When it comes to references, Adult Swim’s RICK AND MORTY has something for everyone. Referencing everything from astrophysics to obscure ’80s sitcoms, RICK AND MORTY somehow manages to be intelligent while featuring the antics of a drunken, verbally abusive grandfather and his dimwitted, enabling grandson as they travel through space and time fighting testicle monsters and impregnating alien sex robots. With the season 3 premiere approaching, here are 10 terrific and hilarious horror movie references from the show’s prior two seasons.
The Red Tide – “Look Who’s Purging Now”
Rick and Morty stop to repair their ship on a planet that is hours away from holding their “annual Purge event”. Taken from the film series THE PURGE, this episode delves into the deeper reasons behind purging. It also features Rick dancing in blood to “Feels Good” by Tony! Toni! Tone’!
Cronenberg World – “Rick Potion No. 9”
Rick develops a potion that will make Jessica fall in love with him. The title is a reference to a popular song from the 60’s as well as a Sandra Bullock film from 1992, not quite a horror reference. The actual horror reference comes at the end when Rick accidentally “Cronenbergs” up the planet, a reference to horror director David Cronenberg who is known for creating distorted and grotesque human forms in films like THE FLY, VIDEODROME, and NAKED LUNCH.
The All-Powerful Snuffles – “Lawnmower Dog”
Completely aggravated by Morty’s little white dog Snuffles’ constant misbehavior, the family asks Rick to invent something that will make him behave. Rick develops a helmet which increases his intelligence in the exact same manner Dr. Lawrence Angelo’s computer turns simple minded Jobe into an powerful omniscient being in the 1992 film THE LAWNMOWER MAN.
The Hive Mind – “Auto Erotic Assimilation”
Rick and Morty come across an INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS world that Rick has a prior history with. On this entirely assimilated planet, Rick fulfills his most depraved sexual desires. Essentially this episode answers the question- what would happen if a hive mind took over an entire planet, and Rick was having sex with it.
Scary Terry – “Lawnmower Dog”
In order to get a better grade in math, Rick and Morty enter the dream world of his math teacher to subconsciously force him into upping Morty’s grades. This episode references A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET with the inclusion of a character called Scary Terry, a “legally safe knock-off of an 80s horror character with miniature swords for fingers instead of knives”.
The Devil’s Ironic Gift Shop – “Something Ricked This Way Comes”
Probably the most outright horror-referential episode, this one makes direct references to THE TWILIGHT ZONE, FRIDAY THE 13TH THE SERIES, and NEEDFUL THINGS. It also gets its title from the 1983 Disney film SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES. In this episode, Rick takes on the Devil, who has just opened a shop on Main Street selling trinkets full of ironic curses.
Coach Feratu – “Big Trouble in Little Sanchez”
Rick turns himself into a teenager in order to hunt down and kill a nest of vampires stalking Morty and Summer’s high school. The best part of the episode comes when the head vampire is enraged by Coach Feratu’s poor attempt at covering up his vampirism by choosing such an on-the-nose name.
What a Twist – “M. Night Shaym-Aliens”
Rick and Morty are trapped on an alien spaceship bouncing from simulation to simulation as a race of aliens try to figure out the combination to Rick’s safe. This episode utilizes director M. Night Shyamalan’s use of twists by having twists on top of twists on top of more twists with a side of twists.
The Time Eaters – “A Rickle in Time”
Summer and Morty’s indecisiveness destabilizes time creating multiple timelines. As they attempted to merge the timelines, their further indecisiveness creates even more timelines forcing a fourth dimensional being to emerge and try to fix things. The being is similar to the creatures from Stephen King’s THE LANGOLIERS, who are responsible for eating the past, but not for beating up Einstein.
Bum World – “Anatomy Park”
Rick creates his own version of JURASSIC PARK in the body of a homeless man dressed as Santa Claus named Ruben. Several problems in the park force Rick to shrink down to microscopic size so he can fantastically journey inside Ruben. Once inside, they quickly discover that viruses and diseases have taken over the park.