14 Trivia Facts About the ‘Insidious’ Universe

There are references to other horror movies hidden throughout the ‘Insidious’ universe.

Lin Shaye plays psychic Elise Rainier in all five Insidious films.

Insidious (2010) is a supernatural horror movie directed by James Wan and written by Leigh Whannell (who also plays one of the paranormal investigators). The story follows Josh and Renai Lambert (Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne) as they deal with their son Dalton’s (Ty Simpkins) sudden slip into an unexplained coma. With the help of Josh’s mother Lorraine (Barbara Hershey) and psychic Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye), they learn a dark secret about Josh’s past and how they can rescue Dalton from as astral realm known as “The Further”.

Leigh Whannell (left) plays Specs in the first four Insidious films. He also wrote the first four films, provided the story for the fifth and directed Insidious: Chapter 3.

The first two Insidious films set up the franchise’ universe: a place where astral projection is very real and can have life or death consequences. The cliffhanger ending of Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013) finds Josh and Dalton safe from The Further and back in their bodies, but without any memory of what has happened to them. Elise Rainier’s team continues the psychic’s work with her accompanying them as a ghost. Working with a new little girl who is in an unexplained coma, Elise hears someone in the home and turns to confront someone or something.

As Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015) and Insidious: The Last Key (2018) were both prequels, the cliffhanger ending of Insidious: Chapter 2 has never been addressed. Audiences will finally return to Josh and Dalton’s storyline in Insidious: The Red Door (2023). The upcoming fifth Insidious film is set 10 years after the end of Insidious: Chapter 2. “Josh Lambert heads east to drop his son Dalton off at an idyllic, ivy-league university. However, Dalton’s college dream becomes a nightmare when the repressed demons of his past suddenly return to haunt them both. To end the haunting and to put the demons to rest once and for all, Josh and Dalton must return once again to the Further in order to stop the Lambert nightmare for good.” Insidious: The Red Door will release on July 7, 2023. Here are some fun trivia facts about the Insidious universe to prepare for the fifth film:

  1. It only took three weeks to film Insidious (2010).
The Lambert family include’s Josh’s mother Lorraine (Barbara Hershey), Josh (Patrick Wilson), Dalton (Ty Simpkins) and Renai (Rose Byrne).

2. As James Wan directed the first two Insidious films and the first two Conjuring films, there are many connections between the two universes. For instance, Patrick Wilson plays the male lead in both franchises. A main character in Insidious is named “Lorraine” after Lorraine Warren in The Conjuring.

3. In Insidious Leigh Whannell’s character talks about writing a book. The joke is that Leigh Whannell literally wrote the script the film is based on.

4. Leigh Whannell also wrote Saw (2004) with James Wan. Actor J. LaRose appears in both Saw (as Jigsaw’s victim Troy) and Insidious (as “the Long Haired Fiend”).

5. Alec Baldwin, Ethan Hawke, and Brendan Fraser were considered for the role of Josh Lambert.

6. Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger, Maya Rudolph, Emma Thompson, Ashley Judd and Kate Walsh all auditioned for the role of Lorraine but the role went to horror royalty Barbara Hershey.

The Insidious franchise is known for having some of the best jump scares in horror history.

7. Barbara Hershey previously starred opposite a seriously malevolent poltergeist in The Entity (1982). Lin Shaye is also horror royalty as she has been in Alone in the Dark (1982), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Critters (1986), Amityville: A New Generation (1993), Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994), and Snakes on a Plane (2006) before Insidious and even more horror roles after.

8. There are also references to other horror movies throughout the franchise. In the first movie, Poltergeist (1982) is referenced in the scene where Leigh Whannell’s character rests his head on the kitchen island and puts a steak on his face. When Rose Byrne’s character is spooked in the family’s attic, it mirrors a scene from The Exorcist (1973). The seance scene mirrors the one in The Changeling (1980).

9. The story seems to be inspired by “Ghost Boy” the 319th episode of Unsolved Mysteries that aired on July 25, 2001. The segment focuses on Michael Jones, a boy who is terrorized by paranormal activity including a “Shadow Man” who refuses to leave the boy alone despite multiple exorcisms and interventions by paranormal investigators.

10. The boy’s mother, Denice Jones, wrote a book called The Other Side about her son’s experience. The book’s description reads: “When Denice’s 10 year old son, Michael, begins seeing strange objects he describes as light and dark shadows, no one believes him. But when objects levitate and people are locked in closets, they come to believe that their house is haunted. They try exorcisms and psychic detectives. Nothing helps. They move, but the demonic acts continue and become more and more dangerous. Then Denice realizes that it’s not the house that’s haunted; it’s Michael.”

11. Insidious wouldn’t be the only horror movie to be inspired by an episode of Unsolved Mysteries.

Many characters from The Further are referenced or appear in multiple Insidious films.

12. The hospital used for Lorraine’s flashback in Insidious: Chapter 2 is the same one featured in Halloween II (1981).

13. In the Spanish version, “The Further” is called “Limbo”. In Catholic theology, Limbo is a place between Heaven and Hell where people who were born before the life of Jesus Christ and unbaptized babies go in the afterlife.

14. James Wan has a cameo as a theatre director in Insidious: Chapter 3.

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Meet The Author

Chrissy is the co-founder of Creepy Catalog. She has over 10 years of experience writing about horror, a degree in philosophy and Reiki level II certification.

Chrissy Stockton