All the X Easter Eggs in A24’s New Horror Prequel Pearl
The scares continue in A24’s new horror movie Pearl, a prequel to X, which was released earlier this year. In X, a group of young people, including Maxine — played by Mia Goth — try to film a pornographic movie on a farm inhabited by two old people, Howard (Stephen Ure) and Pearl (also Goth, in heavy prosthetics). Pearl ultimately goes on a killing spree and takes out the visitors one by one, until Maxine kills her and flees from the farm. After the movie was released, director Ti West announced that a prequel that would serve as an “origin story” for Pearl had also been secretly filmed.
The new movie, released September 16, was clearly influenced by Technicolor movies of yesteryear, like Mary Poppins and The Wizard of Oz. In the film, Pearl is intent on leaving her parents’ suffocating farm and starting a new life as a Hollywood star. But the iron grip of her mother, Ruth (Tandi Wright), keeps her firmly rooted in place. Soon, Pearl’s frustrations with her circumstances lead her toward violence and murder.
West used the same set for both films, so fans will recognize the barn, the farmhouse, the guest house, and, of course, the terrifying alligator in the lake. Pearl also has a lot of callbacks and Easter eggs that will delight X fans. Read on for our list of these fun moments amid the mayhem.
The Pitchfork in the Barn
Early in the movie, Pearl picks up a pitchfork to feed the cows in the barn. She later uses that same pitchfork in X to kill Wayne (Martin Henderson).
Pearl Milking the Cow
One of the porn scenes in X features Maxine in the barn, wearing a bandana and milking a cow. She has sex in the barn with Jackson (Scott Mescudi), and elderly Pearl watches her with jealousy. In Pearl, Pearl lives the scene Maxine is parodying — she milks a cow while wearing a bandana, and the moment was shot similarly by West.
The Car Framed in the Doorway
In X, the car parked in front of the house, which becomes Maxine’s getaway car, is often framed by the door, as viewed from inside the house. Pearl mimics that shot with the projectionist’s car. He’s unsuccessful in using it to get away from Pearl, though.
The Basement Door
Pearl sets her mother on fire — it’s up to the viewer to decide if it’s an accident or on purpose — and locks her in the basement. A close-up shot of the locked door reminds the viewer of the role the door plays in X, when Jenna Ortega’s Lorraine is also locked in the basement and discovers a collection of dead bodies.
The Hair Comb
X features haunting shots of Pearl brushing her thin, stringy hair with an old comb. In Pearl, she uses the same comb to brush the hair on her mother’s corpse.
The X on the Stage
Throughout the movie, Pearl’s goal is to become famous. She wants desperately to be an actor or dancer in films. She thinks her luck might be changing when a tryout for a local dance troupe comes through town. She heads to the audition, and the director has her stand in a spot on stage — marked with a giant X. The camera lingers on it for a moment, reminding us where all of Pearl’s murderous chaos is ultimately heading.