It is no secret that Riverdale is jam-packed with pop culture references. Drawing inspiration from countless television shows, movies and comics is one of the many ways that Riverdale captures fans of so many different backgrounds and interests. With the show’s inspirations stemming back from the eras of the 1960s to today, there is no question that Riverdale has an infinite amount of material to pay homage to. Here are a few references that you may have missed that Riverdale has captured on the small screen. (For this list, we aren’t mentioning the Archie Comics. That one is just too easy.)
Riverdale is absolutely filled to the brim with Twin Peaks references. While David Lynch’s ‘90s cult classic television series was never meant for a younger audience, Riverdale closely follows the storyline of the small town high school murder. The opening sequence of Riverdale immediately mirrors Peaks with a shot of the town’s welcome sign. In addition, Madchen Amick, who plays Betty’s mother, also plays Shelly Johnson in Lynch’s magnum opus. However, the most chilling parallel between Riverdale and “The Black Lodge” is this scene below where Killer Bob creepily steps over Laura Palmer’s living room couch. Doesn’t it remind you of Betty’s Christmas dream with the Black Hood in “Chapter 22: Silent Night, Deadly Night?”
In Season 2: Episode 13, “The Tell-Tale Heart,” Betty and Jughead work together to push Chic’s car into a swamp. This scene strikingly resembles this scene in Psycho when the film’s iconic murderer, Norman Bates, sinks Marion Crane’s car to dispose of her body and the rest of the evidence.
Who would have thought that the creepy creators of Riverdale would make a reference to the 2005 cowboy tearjerker? “Chapter Sixteen: The Watcher in the Woods” expertly pays homage to Brokeback Mountain when Kevin gets stabbed by the Black Hood while out on one of his midnight forest runs. While that instance turned out to be just a scene that played out in the very-much-alive Kevin’s head, there is no doubt that it took inspiration from Brokeback Mountain. The show’s creator, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, told Entertainment Weekly, “That horrible scene where Heath Ledger is calling in the phone booth and he sees flashes of Jake Gyllenhaal’s death—that was what inspired that.”
Nightmare On Elm Street
For this one, you might have to look a little bit closer. And by closer we mean super close—at the street signs. In addition to Jughead’s name drop of Wes Craven’s masterpiece in the Season 1 finale, Betty and Archie actually live on Elm Street. To make matters even more telling, Betty’s house strikingly resembles Nancy Thompson’s white, upper-middle-class home with a bright red door. Coincidence? We think not.
Directed by David Fincher, the 2007 mystery thriller gets a quick salute in “Chapter 15: Nighthawks.” In the Riverdale episode, two high school students are seen doing Jingle Jangle in their car only to be shot directly in the face, much like Zodiac’s scene below.
All right, this one is pretty obvious. In the show’s musical episode, “Chapter 31: A Night To Remember,” the cast performs its version of the gut-wrenching tale by Stephen King. With the night ending in tragedy, Carrie’s symbolism alludes to more than a few pop culture references.