8 Theories About the Toy Story Franchise

REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

You may have noticed that Andy's evil neighbor Sid returns briefly as the garbageman in Toy Story 3. A theory related to this career choice just popped up on Reddit:

"[Sid is] a guy who just learned that inanimate objects are alive. He's trying to save the toys. He picked the one kind of job where you can rescue those things. And Sid is uniquely equipped to fix those toys that he finds that are broken."

Maybe? Maybe not. If you're not convinced, perhaps one of these interpretations (with varying degrees of plausibility) will change the way you see the Toy Story movies:

1. Andy’s mom previously owned Jessie.

The most recent Toy Story theory to go viral is courtesy of Jon Negroni, known for the “Pixar Theory” that every Pixar film takes place in the same universe. Negroni has recently written an article claiming that Andy’s mom is the Emily that Jessie sings about in “When She Loved Me” from Toy Story 2. Andy’s mom is never given a name in the films, so she could easily be Emily. Negroni also notes that Andy owns a cowboy hat, but its much more similar to Jessie’s hat than Woody’s. It is also extremely similar to a hat that can be seen on Emily’s bed in a flashback, so it plausibly could have been passed down through the family and ended up as Andy’s hat. Plus, Emily’s face is never shown, but she does have hair that is a similar length and color to the hair of Andy’s mom.

2. Andy’s parents are going through a divorce.

This theory has long persisted, but it seems to date back to a blog post by Jess Nevins. Andy’s father never is mentioned or seen in any of the Toy Story films. Not only is he not around, but he seems to have disappeared without a trace. In Andy’s house, there are family photographs, but only of Molly, Andy, and their mom. Their mom also never wears a wedding ring. Interestingly, in Toy Story, Molly is also only one, so whatever happened between Andy’s parents must have happened shortly before the film begins. The same film shows the family moving into a smaller house, which often happens after a divorce.

3. Or Andy’s father is dead.

There's a popular Reddit thread that explores the possibility that Andy’s father is dead rather than estranged. One user believes, “Andy’s dad was a cop who was killed in the line of duty. Not only is he attached to two male toys, but both represent some form of law enforcement.” Although this theory doesn’t have an answer to why Andy’s mom would have taken down the photographs of her deceased husband, it does better explain the absence of Andy’s father at his son’s birthday party and later departure to college.

Pixar story supervisor Matthew Luhn has responded to the question of Andy’s father. He claims, “If there was a dad in Toy Story, the boy would not have had such a need for a doll who represents a kind of authority figure, like Buzz.” This apparently was so obviously necessary to the story that the actual circumstances were never discussed further by the creators of the film.

4. Toy Story 3 is an analogy for the Holocaust.

Film theorist Jordan Hoffman has noted many parallels between the journey of the toys in the film with the victims of the Holocaust. For example, Buzz Lightyear recommends they hide in the attic, as Anne Frank and her family did. Sunnyside Daycare could represent a work camp. Also, the toys view being thrown away as a constant threat, which would result in them being burned alive. This one has been previously investigated here at mental_floss. We learned that Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich once stated, “The Holocaust was never anything that was discussed in the making of [Toy Story 3].”

5. Toy Story 3 has Marxist undertones.

This theory also comes from Jordan Hoffman. In this interpretation, Andy stands in for the bourgeoisie: He comes from a rich family, he’s moving on to higher education, and he’s obsessed with his belongings. Therefore, his toys are the proletariat. The most compelling argument here is probably that Andy puts literal labels on his toys, which is a symbol of exploitation. Hoffman also claims that Barbie represents Marxist philosopher Rosa Luxemburg. Presumably, he believes this to be the case because of Barbie’s line, “Authority should derive from the consent of the governed, not from threat of force."

See Also: 10 Rejected Titles for Toy Story

6. Toy Story is an analogy for the director’s experience with Disney.

Getty Images

Before creating Toy Story, director John Lasseter was once fired from Disney for pushing a computer-animated method at a time when the company wanted to stick to hand-drawn films. Along with a few colleagues, Lasseter started to work on a computer-animated version of The Brave Little Toaster, so he lost his job. According to this theory, Toy Story is Lasseter’s way of reconciling those differences in beliefs. Woody represents the traditional animation route and Buzz represents a newer, most technologically-advanced method. At the end of the film, the two put aside their differences to make a child happy, just as Disney and Pixar eventually would do for their audiences.

7. Toy Story 3 contains Illuminati messages.

The Internet and Illuminati conspiracy theories go together like Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head (or else there probably wouldn’t be extensive blogs dedicated to the Illuminati’s connection to Boy Meets World). Conspiracy theorists who write about the Illuminati usually focus on the secret society’s power to influence the United States. In the film, Lotso supposedly represents the Illuminati and their manipulation. For example, he brainwashes Buzz Lightyear into becoming a spy. One line about Lotso in particular stands out to these theorists: “He’s made us into a pyramid and he put himself on top.” This is interpreted as a reference to the pyramid and eye symbol that represents the Illuminati.

See Also: 8 Creative Interpretations of Groundhog Day

8. The Walking Dead is based on the Toy Story trilogy.

The YouTube video “Zombie Story” properly lays out the similarities between the plot of the hit television show and Toy Story. For example, both star a sheriff who’s “the leader of a motley group thrown together by fate, living in a world full of beings that want to chew them up or tear them apart.” Both have cowgirls, barns, jailbreaks ... the list goes on and on. The video also contains some very convincing side-by-side comparisons of frames from Toy Story and frames from The Walking Dead

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

Sign Up Today: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews, and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping newsletter!

15 Terrifying Facts About John Carpenter’s Halloween

Michael Myers is coming to get you in Halloween (1978).
Michael Myers is coming to get you in Halloween (1978).
Anchor Bay Entertainment

It doesn't matter how many times you've seen it; John Carpenter's Halloween, which was released more than 40 years ago, will always be required viewing for the holiday for which it's named. Here are 15 things you might not have known about the film.

1. It took less than two weeks to write the script for halloween.

Director John Carpenter originally intended to call his movie The Babysitter Murders, but producer Irwin Yablans suggested that the story may be more significant if it were based around a specific holiday, so the title was changed to Halloween. Carpenter and co-screenwriter Debra Hill wrote the original script in just 10 days.

2. Halloween features Jamie Lee Curtis's feature debut.

Jamie Lee Curtis was initially interested in the role because she loved Carpenter’s 1976 film Assault on Precinct 13 and went on to audition for the part of Laurie Strode three separate times. Carpenter initially wanted actress Anne Lockhart for the role, but cast Curtis after her final audition, where she nailed the scene of Laurie looking out her window to see Michael Myers in her backyard. Curtis has reprised her role as Laurie several times in the 40-plus years since the original film's release, and also lent her voice in an uncredited appearance as a phone operator in Halloween III: Season of the Witch (the pseudo-sequel that did not feature the Michael Myers storyline). In 2018, she played Laurie again with David Gordon Green's reboot of the series, which she is set to do again in its upcoming sequels: Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends.

3. Halloween was set in the Midwest, but it wasn't shot there.

Though Halloween is set in the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois, it was shot on location in South Pasadena and Hollywood, California. If you look closely, you can see palm trees in the backgrounds of some shots, like the scene above where Laurie walks Tommy Doyle to the Myers’s house. Haddonfield is named after co-writer and producer Debra Hill’s hometown of Haddonfield, New Jersey.

4. Halloween's production was incredibly short.

The 20-day shoot commenced in the spring of 1978 and the film was released in October of the same year. The seasonal restrictions created some interesting hurdles for the production—dozens of bags of fake leaves painted by production designer Tommy Lee Wallace were reused for various scenes. Others may notice that the trees that line the streets of the fictional Haddonfield are fully green instead of autumnally colored. Carpenter initially wanted to somehow change the trees too, but budget restraints kept him from making them seasonally correct.

5. The Halloween script didn't call for a specific kind of mask.

The mask for Michael Myers was only described as having “the pale, neutral features of a man,” and for the movie the design was boiled down to two options: both were cheap latex masks painted white and bought for under $2 apiece at local toy stores by Wallace. One was a replica mask of a clown character called “Weary Willie” popularized by actor Emmett Kelly, and the other was a stretched out Captain Kirk mask from Star Trek. Carpenter chose the whitewashed Kirk mask because of its eerily blank stare that fit perfectly with the Myers character.& ;

6. John Carpenter named many of the characters in Halloween after acquaintances or influences.

Michael Myers came from the British film distributor who helped put out Carpenter’s previous movie, Assault on Precinct 13, in the UK, while Laurie Strode is named after one of his ex-girlfriends. Tommy Doyle is named after a character from Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, and Sheriff Leigh Brackett is named after sci-fi novelist and screenwriter Leigh Brackett, who wrote classics like The Big Sleep, Rio Bravo, and The Empire Strikes Back.

7. Halloween’s iconic floating P.O.V. shots were done using a Panaglide camera rig.

The Panaglide was a competitor to the now-ubiquitous Steadicam, which allowed the camera to be fitted to a camera operator for far-ranging and smoothly unbroken shots. Carpenter loved it because he could shoot copious amounts of footage in one day to make up for the film’s minuscule $300,000 budget. Halloween was among the first films to use the Panaglide, alongside films like Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven. Check out director of photography Dean Cundey’s original camera tests for Halloween using the rig above.

8. One Halloween character was named after another famous movie character.

Donald Pleasence’s character, Dr. Sam Loomis, was named after the character of the same name from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Curtis’s mother, Janet Leigh, appeared in Psycho as Sam Loomis’s girlfriend Marion, and was killed in the film’s famous shower scene. For the Loomis character in Halloween, Carpenter originally wanted either Peter Cushing or Christopher Lee, but both passed on the film because the pay was too low. Pleasence would go on to appear in four Halloween sequels, concluding with Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers, which was released after his death in 1995.

9. Most of Halloween's main cast provided their own wardrobe.

Curtis bought her costumes at JC Penney, all for under $100.

10. The Thing made a cameo in halloween.

One of the scary movies that Lindsay Wallace watches on TV is the 1951 version of The Thing (a.k.a., The Thing from Another World). Carpenter would later remake The Thing in 1982, though his version is more heavily based on the source material: a 1938 novella by John W. Campbell Jr. called “Who Goes There?”

11. Michael Myers is played by three different actors.

Anchor Bay Entertainment

Michael Myers was primarily played by actor Nick Castle, who was Carpenter’s friend from USC film school and who would go on to co-write Carpenter’s 1981 film Escape from New York, but was also played by production designer Tommy Lee Wallace whenever needed. When Myers is unmasked at the end of the film, he is played by actor Tony Moran who would go on to appear in guest spots on TV shows like The Waltons and CHiPS. Moran was paid $250 for a day’s work and a single shot in Halloween.

12. The Myers's house was relocated in the 1980s.

Halloween fans looking to see the Myers home in its original location are out of luck: In 1987, it was relocated from its location at 709 Meridian Avenue in South Pasadena, California, after it was slated to be demolished. The home is now located at 1000 Mission Street in South Pasadena, and it won't be going anywhere. The home was named a historical landmark in the city of South Pasadena, not only because of its cinematic history but also because the house itself dates back to 1888 and is thought to be the oldest surviving residential structure in the city.

13. At the time of shooting, the Myers's house really was abandoned.

The scenes of the Myers house looking dilapidated were actually how the crew found it and they shot it as is. It wasn’t until the last shot on the last day of production (which is actually the first shot in the movie) that the entire crew banded together to paint the house and dress it with furniture to make it look lived-in.

14. John Carpenter completed the entire score for Halloween by himself in just three days.

Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly

The director usually does all the music for his own films, and his theme for the movie came from a simple drumming exercise for the bongos that his father had taught him when he was a child.

15. John Carpenter filmed new scenes after the fact.

To fill a two-hour time slot needed for television broadcasts of Halloween, Carpenter filmed additional scenes during the production of Halloween II (which Carpenter co-wrote and co-produced, but did not direct) that primarily featured Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis. The new scenes include Dr. Loomis at a hearing to review young Michael’s incarceration at the sanitarium and confronting a young Michael in his room, Loomis discovering Michael has escaped and scrawled the word “Sister” on his door, and a concerned Laurie asking her friend Lynda about the man she keeps seeing around their neighborhood.