Rachel Paige
Updated Sep 01, 2015 @ 10:54 am

The Toy Story seriesis all fun and games —until the toys wind up trapped in a daycare and Woody and Buzz Lightyear have to save the day, or Buzz and Woody end up trapped in sociopathic child’s house. Don’t worry, they always escape in the end — this is a family series, after all. However, even though the Toy Story moviesare rated PG, they’ve got some pretty spooky references to an R rated thriller.

So, the director of Toy Story 3, Lee Unkrich, is a huge fan of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. You know The Shining. It’s the Jack Nicholson movie where he yells, “here’s Johnny!” And while Unkrich didn’t work that terrifying scene into Toy Story, he was able to reference The Shining in a few other ways. According to Unkrich, it’s the movie that inspired him “to become a filmmaker,” and what better way to pay homage to that then to work it into your own film?

And since, once again, The Shining isn’t really a movie that meshes well with Toy Story 3, the references are small and subtle. But they’re there.

The biggest thing is that the number 237 keeps popping up. What’s the deal with 237? That’s the hotel room in The Shining where all sorts of crazy stuff goes down. We see it pop up in Toy Story 3 a few times, like on the license plate of a garbage truck, and even as the screenname for a toy down the street – he’s a dinosaur, and his username is, “Velocistar237.”

At another point, there’s a security camera that bears the name “Overlook” on it, which is the hotel from The Shining. These are things you don’t necessarily pick up on when you’re solely focused on Mr. Potato Head.

Toy Story 3 wasn’t the only movie in the series that got sneaky and spooky with us. In the first Toy Story (this one directed by John Lasseter, edited by Lee Unkrich) you might remember a particular carpet, and it miiiight seem familiar to you. Or give you shivers. And that’s because it’s the same carpet pattern from The Shining‘s hotel.


While these references are undeniable, Unkrich has denied the fact that Tory Story 3 and The Shining share similar themes. But, people are still trying to compare the two. In an interview with Vulture, Unkrich described it as, “People [wanting] to find meaning in things that seemingly don’t have meaning on the surface.”

But, viewers are still going to see what they want to believe, and theorize like crazy. So while the references are there, the similar themes, not so much. I mean, Lotso is a scary villain, but he’s no Jack Torrance —let’s be real.

(Images via Pixar, Warner Bros.)