Luigi's Mansion 3 References Several Horror Movies—Except the Most Obvious One. What Gives?

Luigi's Mansion 3 References Several Horror Movies—Except the Most Obvious One. What Gives?

What a frightening omission.

Luigi's Mansion 3 for the Switch is a delight. It's a cleverly built game that's jam-packed with character and humor. I have no problem recommending it to fans of the series, or to anyone who wants to equip the Poltergust for the very first time and do a little Nintendo brand ghost busting.

But not even the best games are completely devoid of omissions and oversights, and there's a big one in Luigi's Mansion 3. Ahem: the events of this game revolve around a haunted hotel, and I didn't spot a single reference to Stephen King's The Shining. Nothing from the book. Nothing from the movie. Nothing from the 1997 TV miniseries either, but that's probably for the best.

Maybe Next Level abstained from references to King's famous haunted hotel novel because the reference is too obvious. Isn't that part of the fun, though? So many opportunities! Heck, Luigi travels from floor to floor in an elevator, and not once does that elevator open and spill blood everywhere. OK, Nintendo probably wanted to keep things E-rated, but it wouldn't be hard to substitute slime or something. I pulled back countless shower curtains in the games' washrooms, and I never found a rotting corpse waiting for me in the bathtub. Not one! Throw me a bone here, Next Level. Gift me with one dead-eyed man in a cheap wolf costume. I'll settle for a haunted fire hose.

Two things confuse me about the omission of a reference to The Shining in Luigi's Mansion 3. First, there are references to other great horror films in the game, like Poltergeist. There's even a reference to another King classic, IT: when you delve into the deepest depths of The Last Resort's sewers, you'll find a balloon floating eerily in the muck, a clear shout-out to Pennywise the Clown's calling card.

But this balloon is blue instead of red. Maybe it belongs to Pennywise's lesser-known cousin, Nickeldumb. | Next Level Games/Nintendo

I also noticed similarities between Luigi's visit to The Last Resort's banquet hall and the famous banquet hall scene in Ghostbusters: when Luigi sucks up the tablecloths, the items on the table remain intact. ("Ladies and gentlemen, the flowers are still standing!")

The other thing that's strange about Luigi's Mansion 3 neglecting to pay tribute to The Overlook Hotel is that another Mario game does reference it—and it's the one you'd least expect. Super Mario Sunshine for the GameCube has a boss fight in the front lot of a haunted hotel, and said boss has an eerie resemblance to the shadowy manta-like spirit haunting The Overlook.

To be fair, Nintendo's never come out and explicitly said, "Yeah, that weird manta ghost-thing is totally an homage to The Shining, and we also had this great idea where Mario goes mad and freezes to death in the center of a hedge maze." But Twin Peaks is the confirmed inspiration for The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, and Pokemon Yellow sees you off with a blatant Stand By Me reference, so I don't suppose Mario Sunshine's potential nod is out of the question.

What is out of the question is how Luigi's Mansion 3 doesn't show us a single pair of murdered ghost twins. There's a set of magician ghost sisters, but there isn't one blue dress or pink sash between them. I am done. You can't see it or hear it, but I am brushing my hands off because I am done.

This baffling transgression aside, Luigi's Mansion 3 is great, and you should play it. Make sure to visit our myriad Luigi's Mansion 3 guides; they'll help you track down all the game's knick-knacks and collectables.

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Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve,, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

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