Matthew Lillard's cinematic ties to slasher villain Ghostface run deep, as eagle-eyed horror fans noticed while enjoying the actor's turn as Fazbear Entertainment co-founder and elusive child murderer — William Afton — in the Five Nights at Freddy's movie (now playing in theaters and streaming exclusively on Peacock).
Horror fans spot Scream homage in the Five Nights at Freddy's movie
As noted by plenty of folks on social media, if you pay close attention to the reveal of Springtrap in the film's climax, you'll notice that Afton sadistically runs his gloved fingers across the blade of a knife, perfectly mirroring the iconic action of a costumed Stu Macher (aka Lillard's breakout role) in the original Scream. It's a nifty callback and based on some recent comments made by director and co-writer Emma Tammi, the moment wasn't even scripted!
"He was just going for it on every take and doing something different and really exploring in the moment," the filmmaker told The Hollywood Reporter. "We just needed to make sure that we were there to capture it all. So, yes, there was definitely a back and forth between the two of us in terms of trying different things and really maximizing his menacing movement in that suit. But at the end of the day, he was just bringing all of his brilliance and improvisation to the table, and we were so lucky to be rolling on it."
While Afton doesn't get a ton of screen-time, Lillard takes every opportunity to chew the scenery into ragged, blood-soaked tatters — right up until the villain's alleged death, though come on... we all know he's coming back for the sequel. A second installment has yet to be announced, but Universal Pictures and Blumhouse would be mad not to continue the franchise after the movie's record-setting box office debut last weekend.
How to watch the Five Nights at Freddy's movie
Photo: Universal Pictures
Think you have what it takes to last until sunrise?
The Five Nights at Freddy's movie is now playing in theaters everywhere. Click here for tickets! To date, the film has racked up more than $217 million at the worldwide box office. It is only the second horror movie of 2023 to surpass $200 million globally after The Nun II.
FNAF is also streaming exclusively on Peacock. The NBCUniversal platform currently offers two monthly subscription plans: Premium ($5.99 a month with ads) and Premium Plus ($11.99 a month with no ads and download access for certain titles). If you're a student, you can enjoy the Premium plan for just $1.99 for an entire year!