11 Stephen King Easter Eggs in Castle Rock You Might Have Missed

Patrick Harbron, Hulu
Patrick Harbron, Hulu

Released weekly throughout the summer, all 10 episodes of Castle Rock are available on Hulu and can now be consumed by Stephen King fans as rapidly as they turn the pages of the author’s books. Set in the town of Castle Rock, Maine, the J.J. Abrams-produced series tells the story of Henry Deaver (André Holland), a lawyer called back to his crisis-plagued hometown to meet the “Kid” (Bill Skarsgård), an anonymous prisoner found in the bowels of Shawshank Penitentiary who cryptically utters Henry’s name.

The mystery is not a direct adaptation of King’s works but takes a number of situations, characters, and elements from his connected mythology, including a few you might have missed. Check out the portions of King’s bibliography that have made sometimes overt, sometimes fleeting appearances on the show. (Beware of minor to moderate spoilers ahead, Constant Reader.)


Bad Robot

As a boy, Deaver walked out into the woods with his adoptive father but walked back out by himself. The elder Deaver was found mortally wounded, with Henry unable to provide any explanation for what happened. His adoptive mother, Ruth Deaver (Sissy Spacek), is consoled in both the past and present by Sheriff Alan Pangborn (Scott Glenn), who was featured prominently in two King books: 1989’s The Dark Half, about murderous twins, and 1991’s Needful Things, which detailed the repercussions of a curio shop owner who takes more than money in exchange for his goods. Unlike some of the characters in the series, Pangborn has been privy to supernatural events, making his suspicion of the Kid’s true motives a powerful endorsement that there’s something not quite right with the guy.

Echoes of Needful Things abound in the show. Henry drops in at the Mellow Tiger, a bar that appeared in the book and in other King works. Later, he discovers a press clipping describing the fire that took the curio shop up in flames along with owner Leland Gaunt, who was played by Max von Sydow in the 1993 feature film. (Ed Harris played Pangborn.)


Bad Robot

King’s coming-of-age 1982 novella about a group of adolescents in search of a rumored corpse near a set of train tracks was originally adapted into 1986’s Stand By Me and seems to be a favorite of Castle Rock showrunners Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason. In the debut episode, Deaver is seen representing Leanne Chambers, a woman on death row who was once married to—and is now convicted of killing—Richard “Eyeball” Chambers (the same Chambers who taunted the kids in the novella). In episode two, there’s passing mention of a body once found near the tracks. In episode four, Deaver meets Joe Desjardins, brother of Vince Desjardins, another one of the bullies from The Body. Joe explains that his sibling headed south after attempting to collect on insurance money by cutting off two of his own fingers. Finally, in episode five, the Kid stands on the edge of a building, seemingly hearing a chorus of voices below. One of them clearly asks, “Wanna see a body?” The line of dialogue is spoken in both King’s book and the movie.


Bad Robot

It doesn’t take a lifetime King fan to recognize one of the central settings in Castle Rock: Shawshank Penitentiary, site of Andy Dufresne’s infamous escape in the 1982 novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption. (The title was shortened for the 1994 film adaptation starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.) Shawshank is where the Kid is found locked in a cage and muttering Deaver’s name. But there are some more subversive references to that story: In the first episode, a character mentions that the ill-fated Warden Norton left a bullet hole in his office. In episode three, viewers get a glimpse of Norton in a portrait hung in the prison cafeteria (above left). There’s also a nod to the opera selection (Mozart’s “Duettino Sull’Aria”) that Dufresne illicitly piped into the prison’s loudspeakers. It’s the same piece that’s playing when Warden Lacy (Terry O’Quinn) decides to take a plunge into the nearest lake in the debut episode. In episode two, the series goes a bit meta: In an establishing shot of the prison, a street sign reads “Redemption Road.”

Curiously, neither King's prose nor the movie mention Shawshank as being within Castle Rock's town limits, though Dufresne mentions being a former resident there. In the movie, it's depicted as being in a barren area. Shaw and Thomason decided to move the building so it would butt up against residential streets and lend an atmosphere appropriate for a town economy that's dependent on the business of incarceration. "Part of the reason we chose the prison that we chose to shoot at was we loved the idea that there are houses literally in the shadow of the prison," Shaw told reporters. 


Bad Robot

When Deaver enters a church after coming back into town in episode two, he overhears the minister addressing one of the parishioners by name—Jackie Torrance (Jane Levy). It’s a play on Jack Torrance, the hotel caretaker who slowly goes mad in both King’s The Shining (1977) and Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film adaptation. In episode five, Jackie (real name: Diane Torrance) reveals that she took the name to annoy her parents, who were ashamed of her uncle Jack’s rampage at the snowbound Overlook Hotel in Colorado. Jackie later alludes to wanting to visit the Overlook for herself, a plot point that might gain traction in the show's already-announced second season.


Bad Robot

King’s terrifying 1981 novel of a rabid dog cornering a mother and her child in Castle Rock has made “Cujo” synonymous with any slobbering, uncontrollable beast. While no such animal is seen in the show, several characters recall that disturbing event. “Remember the dog?” asks Warden Lacy in episode two. He even keeps a newspaper clipping (“Rabid Dog Tears Through Town”) in his office, which Deaver spots while combing through his belongings. In the same episode, a TV commercial for Sharp Cereal is shown. Sharp is the account ad executive Vic Trenton was working on while his family was being threatened by Cujo.


Bad Robot

King’s 1979 novel centers on Johnny Smith (later played by both Christopher Walken and Anthony Michael Hall in a 1983 movie and 2002-07 TV adaptation, respectively), a man who falls into a coma and emerges with psychic abilities. At one point, Johnny leads police to the house of a serial killer named Frank Dodd—likely the same house that Castle Rock resident Molly (Melanie Lynskey) is currently occupying. While she doesn’t refer to Dodd by name, she does mention she “sleeps like a baby” in the property that was once occupied by a serial strangler.

7. IT

Bad Robot

One of King’s most well-known works, It was recently adapted into a highly profitable film with Skarsgård portraying Pennywise the Clown, a malevolent force who feeds on children every 27 years. (Castle Rock viewers have noted that Skarsgård’s Kid character emerges after 27 years locked in a box.) In episode five of the series, the Kid appears headed for Juniper Hill, a mental institution mentioned in several of King’s novels, including Bag of Bones, Needful Things, and Insomnia. It was also where bully Henry Bowers was locked up in It.


Bad Robot

King’s second published novel tells the story of Ben Mears, a man who returns to his hometown of Jerusalem’s Lot in Maine and discovers that the citizens are now predominantly vampires. In episode eight, Deaver’s son, Wendell, gets off at a bus stop in Jerusalem’s Lot. In episode 10, Molly directs Deaver to Harmony Hill Cemetery, site of a grave-digging sequence in the book. Harmony Hill is also mentioned in Silver Bullet, the 1985 werewolf movie starring Corey Haim and based on King’s Cycle of the Werewolf


Bad Robot

After a stray dog is hit by a car, Pangborn and Deaver bury the animal. When Ruth Deaver suspects the undead dog is still somehow rooting through their trash, Pangborn digs it up in episode two to make sure it’s still dead. Such measures are par for the course in Castle Rock, site of King’s 1983 novel Pet Sematary, in which a pet graveyard is used to resurrect its inhabitants—including the dead son of a grieving father (Dale Midkiff in the 1989 film version).


Castle Rock realtor Molly (what an unfortunate occupation) has no direct involvement or presence in earlier King works, but there does appear to be a connection with the author himself. King’s Corgi is named Molly, whom he often refers to as the Thing of Evil due to her penchant for getting into ice cream and napping.

11. WKIT

Bad Robot

In the closing moments of the series, Jackie Torrance is seen hard at work on a book project on her laptop. The decal on the cover is a call sign for WKIT 100.3 FM, the same radio station owned by King and wife Tabitha that broadcasts in Bangor, Maine. The station is also the one Warden Lacy tunes into to play his Mozart selection before driving to his death in episode one. Like much of King's work, everything seems to come full circle.

Take Advantage of Amazon's Early Black Friday Deals on Tech, Kitchen Appliances, and More


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Even though Black Friday is still a few days away, Amazon is offering early deals on kitchen appliances, tech, video games, and plenty more. We will keep updating this page as sales come in, but for now, here are the best Amazon Black Friday sales to check out.


Instant Pot/Amazon

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- Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Sauteuse 3.5 Quarts; $180 (save $120)

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- Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker; $60 (save $20)

- Cuisinart Bread Maker; $88 (save $97)

- Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker; $139 (save $60)

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- Longzon Silicone Stretch Lids - Set of 14; $13 (save $14)

HadinEEon Milk Frother; $37 (save $33)

Home Appliances


- iRobot Roomba 675 Robot Vacuum with Wi-Fi Connectivity; $179 (save $101)

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Video games


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BioShock: The Collection; $20 (save $30)

The Sims 4; $20 (save $20)

God of War for PlayStation 4; $10 (save $10)

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Computers and tablets


- Apple MacBook Air 13 inches with 256 GB; $899 (save $100)

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Tech, gadgets, and TVs


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DR. J Professional HI-04 Mini Projector; $93 (save $37)

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25 Excellent Facts About Keanu Reeves

Jason Merritt, Getty Images
Jason Merritt, Getty Images

Keanu Reeves has been a Hollywood fixture since the mid-1980s, shifting from early dramatic turns in films like River’s Edge (1986) to action thrillers like Speed (1994), The Matrix (1999), and John Wick (2014) and an indelible performance as Theodore “Ted” Logan in the Bill & Ted franchise.

For more on the actor, including why he believed he was sent to “movie jail” for a decade, read on.

1. Despite—or perhaps because of—his multicultural background, Keanu Reeves has never become an American citizen.

Sebastian Willnow, AFP/Getty Images

Born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1964, Reeves moved to Sydney, Australia and then New York City and (eventually) Toronto, following his mother Patricia’s wedding to her second husband. Born of Chinese, English, Irish, Native Hawaiian, and Portuguese descent, Reeves maintained a connection to the Canadian city where he spent the most time as a child before obtaining a green card through his American stepfather. To this day, and despite his success in America, Reeves maintains his Canadian citizenship.

2. Hockey kept Keanu Reeves busy as a kid.

In Toronto, Reeves became swept up in the appeal of ice hockey. He played throughout school and even co-coached a hockey club. While there, Reeves had an opportunity to try out for the Windsor Spitfires, a hockey team in the Ontario Hockey League. Reeves turned it down, believing his future was in performing. Later, he would portray a hockey pro alongside Patrick Swayze and Rob Lowe in 1986’s Youngblood.

3. When Keanu Reeves was a kid, Alice Cooper used to hang out at his house.

Reeves’s mother was a costume designer, which likely contributed to his interest in the performing arts. He told Us magazine in 1995 that she made him some elaborate Halloween costumes—Dracula, Batman, Cousin Itt—and often had some of her clients over to the house. Among them: Alice Cooper. “I remember he brought fake vomit and dog poo to terrorize the housekeeper,” Reeves said. “He’d hang out, a regular dude.”

4. One of Keanu Reeves’s earliest roles was in a Coca-Cola commercial.

After getting parts on stage and Canadian television, Reeves landed a part as a cyclist in a Coke commercial in the 1980s. In 2018, The Late Late Show host James Corden asked the actor about the gig; Reeves remembered shooting over a three-day period, during which he drank “so many Coca-Colas.” In full commitment to the role, he also shaved his legs to look more believable as a cyclist.

5. Keanu Reeves almost renamed himself “Chuck Spadina.”

When Reeves came out to Los Angeles in the 1980s, he found that some casting agents were resistant to having him come in for auditions because his first name (which means “cool breeze over the mountains”) was hard to pronounce and seemingly too exotic. In order to combat this hurdle, Reeves began using “K.C. Reeves,” “Chuck Spadina,” and “Page Templeton III” instead. Reeves eventually abandoned the practice because he would go to auditions and tell them his real name anyway.

6. Keanu Reeves has a deep love for motorcycles.

Caroline Bonarde Ucci, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0

Reeves first learned to ride a motorcycle while shooting a film in Germany, and purchased one for himself the moment he returned to the U.S. His favorite bike is the 1973 Norton Commando. He also bankrolled a custom motorcycle dealership, Arch Motorcycle Company.

7. Keanu Reeves also has an extensive history of motorcycle-related injuries.

If Reeves doesn’t ride his bike as fast (or often) as he used to, it’s because he’s been in a number of serious accidents while riding them. He has lost teeth, broken his ankle, gotten road rash, and ruptured his spleen, amongst other injuries.

8. In addition to his performances in River’s Edge, Dangerous Liaisons, and Parenthood, Keanu Reeves moonlighted in a music video.

In the same year Reeves appeared in Lawrence Kasdan’s I Love You to Death, he also appeared in the music video for Paula Abdul’s “Rush Rush,” the lead single from her sophomore album of the same name. Directed by Stefan Wurnitzer, the clip recreates moments from Rebel Without a Cause using locations from the original film, with Reeves playing the James Dean role opposite Abdul as Natalie Wood’s.

9. Keanu Reeves has been willing to defer his salary to get other actors in his movies.

Reeves has worked with an impressive list of actors in his career, including Al Pacino (1997’s The Devil’s Advocate), Gene Hackman (2000’s The Replacements), and Jack Nicholson (2003’s Something’s Gotta Give). In at least the first two instances, Reeves willingly deferred his compensation in order for the productions to free up some of their budget to be able to afford the actors.

"Is that all I have to do?" he recalled asking producers. "Sure! What else do I have to do? ‘Cause I’ll do it!"

10. Keanu Reeves’s commercial success has resulted in him subsidizing more than just a few high-profile casting choices.

Beyond deferring paychecks to work alongside the likes of Pacino and Nicholson, Reeves has earned more than enough money to live comfortably for the rest of his life with a net worth reportedly along the lines of $360 million. But he gave away a portion of his salary for The Matrix sequels to provide more money for the visual effects and costume departments. And as a reward for those same stunt teams, Reeves recognized their great work by gifting them with Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

11. Keanu Reeves’s friendship with River Phoenix led to them co-starring in My Own Private Idaho.

Reeves and River Phoenix first became best friends on the set of I Love You to Death. Writer-director Gus Van Sant had written the script for My Own Private Idaho decades earlier, but continually found difficulty obtaining funding for it. However, after sending the script to Reeves, the young actor was so struck by it that he drove more than 1000 miles on his motorcycle to hand-deliver a copy to Phoenix. The two men agreed to star in the film on each other’s behalf, and history was made.

12. Keanu Reeves has been injured or sidelined by illness multiple times during shooting.

Reeves is known to be a trouper when it comes to shooting through pain, disability, and sickness, and his dedication to his colleagues is legendary. Several of his co-stars on The Matrix were injured during the wire work sequences on the film, and Reeves dealt with a spinal injury during filming when two of the discs in his back began to fuse together. He also suffered a neck injury which required fight coordinator Yuen Woo-Ping to create sequences that didn’t involve as much kicking. Later, he fought through an ankle injury before filming even began on The Matrix Reloaded. And during an extended sequence in the first John Wick movie, a scene in which Reeves's character battles several dozen adversaries in a nightclub, he finished his work despite a 103 degree fever.

13. Keanu Reeves says turning down Speed 2 put him in “movie jail” for 10 years.

After the success of 1994’s Speed, where Reeves portrayed a cop trying to save the lives of people trapped on a bus rigged to explode if it dips below 50 miles an hour, the studio was understandably eager for a sequel. At the time he was shown the script, Reeves was shooting the 1996 action film Chain Reaction and was growing wary of roles where he was “running and jumping” for little to no reason. He turned Speed 2 down, a move that he believed led to a decade of “movie jail” where he was offered no other roles by Fox. Ultimately, the sequel was made; Reeves was replaced by Jason Patric, who co-starred with Sandra Bullock in 1997’s Speed 2: Cruise Control. The film was not well-received, and Reeves appears to have no regrets about saying no to it. At the time he turned it down, he recalled telling director Jan de Bont, “You know, boats aren’t that fast.”

14. Keanu Reeves only became a part of Keanu at the last minute.

John Wick and the 2014 action-comedy Keanu were developed independently from one another, and early reporting about the latter film indicated it was a parody of the former. Consequently, Reeves’s management turned down an offer to appear in the second film without notifying their client. But when Reeves saw the initial trailers for Keanu, he reached out to filmmaker Peter Atencio and got involved, leading to the cameo in which he provides the voice of the eponymous kitten.

15. It’s possible that Keanu Reeves accidentally married Winona Ryder.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

While shooting 1992’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Reeves and Winona Ryder—who played Jonathan and Mina Harker, respectively—appear in a scene in which their characters get married. Ryder later pointed out that director Francis Ford Coppola used a real priest in the scene and that both actors said their vows, meaning they might actually be married. Coppola agreed with this theory, although it’s not known whether the priest used their character names or the actors' real names during shooting.

16. Without Keanu Reeves, Weezer might not exist.

Reeves began the music project Dogstar after a chance encounter at a grocery store with drummer/ percussionist Robert Mailhouse in 1991. The band’s success was decidedly muted at best, but Reeves’s celebrity drove fans to the band and they toured successfully for several years in addition to recording several albums. Among the bands that performed with them on tour was Weezer, who played their first ever gig in 1992 as an opener for Dogstar.

17. Keanu Reeves has been booed offstage.

Reeves infamously toured with his band, Dogstar, in the 1990s, which played what he once described as “like, folk music,” or “folk thrash.” When they were invited to play Metalfest in Milwaukee, the band stood out in sharp contrast to the heavier acts on the bill. Reeves recalled that the crowd “threw beer at us and told us to f*** off and yelled, ‘You suck!’ It was beautiful. It made me laugh.”

18. Keanu Reeves was tricked into appearing in The Watcher.

Keanu Reeves in 2008.Mike Flokis, Getty Images

In 2000’s The Watcher, Reeves plays against his typical onscreen affability as a serial killer in a cat-and-mouse game with a detective (James Spader). According to Reeves, he was actually tricked into appearing in the film when a (presumably former) friend forged his signature on the contract. Daunted by the prospect of trying to prove it was a forgery, he decided to go ahead and do the movie. “I couldn’t prove he did and I didn’t want to get sued, so I had no other choice but to do the film,” he said.

19. Keanu Reeves supports several charitable causes.

After his sister was diagnosed with leukemia, Reeves founded a private cancer foundation—not in his own name—to provide research and assist children’s hospitals. He additionally supported Stand Up to Cancer and SickKids Foundations with generous contributions, to facilitate pediatric research.

20. Keanu Reeves has a recurring role on a tv show you've probably never heard of.

It’s not unusual for film actors to take roles in one of the many prestige television series airing on streaming and premium networks. Reeves, however, seems to have taken a low-key approach to television, opting for a small recurring role in Swedish Dicks, a U.S. and Scandinavian co-production about two private detectives from Sweden trying to earn a living in Los Angeles. Reeves’s friend, actor Peter Stormare, is one of the stars. The comedy airs on the Pop TV channel in the U.S.

21. Keanu Reeves has published books of his own poetry.

In 2011, Reeves collaborated with artist Alexandra Grant for Ode to Happiness, a limited-run book featuring a poem written by Reeves and accompanied by Grant’s illustrations for each line. The composition (“I draw a hot sorrow bath”) is self-aware in its overwrought approach that Grant likened to a “grown-up children’s book.” The two have since gone on to work on 2016’s Shadows, a similar poem and art project featuring photos of Reeves, and are now pursuing their own publishing imprint, X Artists’ Books, to showcase titles with a visual aesthetic that are sold via art stores or an online subscription.

22. Keanu Reeves has always actively participated in the physical preparation required for his roles.

Gearing up for Point Break, Reeves spent weeks and weeks learning how to surf, and developed the sport as a hobby. When Reeves was cast in Speed, the actor spent several months gaining muscle for the role. By the time it came to shoot the scene in which his character Jack Traven jumps from a moving car onto the bus, Jan De Bont was convinced that a stunt man would be required, but Reeves has practiced in private and was able to wow the director with his preparation and skill in pulling off the stunt. And just for the scene where Neo emerges from his pod inside The Matrix, Reeves shaved his entire body and lost 15 pounds for what amounted to just a few short minutes of screen time.

23. Keanu Reeves’s passion for—and recognition of—other storytellers’ passion—has led to many of his iconic roles.

Pop TV

As described above multiple times, Keanu took a part or played a role because of an actor ot storyteller’s dedication to a project. Always Be My Maybe was no exception. Casting him in the film was considered a “pipe dream” by director Nahnatchka Khan, but the actor was a longtime fan of comedian and star Ali Wong, so when the opportunity arose, he reworked his schedule to accommodate the film. He even ended up contributing a handful of ideas that expanded his character (at his own expense), like wearing glasses that had no lenses.

24. The John Wick franchise might not exist without The Matrix.

Niko Tavernise, Lionsgate

Reeves signed to star in the film, originally titled Scorn, after Thunder Road Pictures acquired Derek Kolstad’s script. He subsequently reached out to Chad Stahelski and David Leitch to see if they were interested in choreographing or directing the action of the film, after Stahelski performed as Reeves’s stunt double in The Matrix, and he and Leitch later helped choreograph action in the sequels. It was their vision for the film that inspired Reeves to back them not just as stunt coordinators but co-directors for the film.

25. Without John Wick, there might not have been a Bill & Ted Face the Music.

Reeves hadn’t seriously thought about reprising the role of Theodore “Ted” Logan until 2005 when a red carper reporter asked him about returning to the character. It took another five years before Alex Winter had created an idea that everyone felt was substantial or worthy enough to explore for another film. The project spent another several years languishing in development thanks to the commercial prospects of the stars, but the success of John Wick rekindled studio interest in making a third film. That franchise’s success generated heat for all of the films he was attached to, and Bill & Ted 3 picked up steam from there.