Riverdale is a huge hit for The CW, but it is built on a long history.
Not just of Archie Comics characters, but a long history of film, TV, and books that all blend together to inform the campy, violent, and smarter-than-it-looks world of the show.
Each episode of Riverdale is named after a movie -- usually an older, noir-inspired movie, although with some more contemporary stuff and a healthy splash of horror thrown in for good measure.
Following tonight's status quo-changing midseason finale, it seemed like as good a time as any to look back on the movies that helped shape the show's third season up to this point...
It is also likely a very loose use of Riverdale's customary naming convention, since Labor Day (the holiday) actually plays a prominent role in the episode, so it likely is drawing more on the holiday than on any given movie version.
The most recent and high profile of the Labor Day movies is probably the one that came out in 2013 and starred Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet.
In that film, depressed single mom Adele and her son Henry offer a wounded, fearsome man a ride. As police search town for the escaped convict, the mother and son gradually learn his true story as their options become increasingly limited.prevnext
Fortune and Men's Eyes
This one was a classic example of a title that pretty much gave up the twist of the previous episode...which wouldn't be a problem if this was a movie, but since it's a TV show, the previous episode had not yet come out when the title was in wide circulation.
Fortune and Men's Eyes is a 1967 play and 1971 film written by John Herbert about a young man's experience in prison, exploring themes of homosexuality and sexual slavery.prevnext
As Above, So Below
There are actually two films called As Above, So Below, and while it is most likely that it was the 2014 film that served as the inspiration for Riverdale's title, there was an earlier movie -- in 1973 -- that feels very of a piece with the kind of movies Riverdale likes to cite.
In that one, 15 children get locked in a room, and they soon discover they are not alone.
In the 2014 film, a team of explorers ventures into the catacombs that lie beneath the streets of Paris, and uncover the dark secret that lies within this city of the dead.prevnext
The Midnight Club
The 1933 film is about a group of highly-skilled jewel thieves whose scheme is foiled when one of them starts to become irrationally jealous of a man flirting with his girlfriend.
But of course, this movie is a throwback to the '80s (even though it's set in 1992) and is a loving homage to John Hughes's The Breakfast Club, in which a group of dissimilar students find themselves spending a day together in Saturday detention. Anthony Michael Hall, who plays the Riverdale High principal in this episode, was one of the teens in the original movie.prevnext
The Great Escape
In The Great Escape, Allied prisoners of war plan for several hundred of their number to escape from a German camp during World War II.
What's funny is that the same week Riverdale had this episode airing, Arrow had an episode that drew its title from The Shawshank Redemption. While "The Slabside Redemption" had little in common with Shawshank, Riverdale's "The Great Escape" was a lot less like The Great Escape than it was Shawshank, right down to some shots that were basically lifted from the Frank Darabont classic.prevnext
While Manhunter is the name of a number of movies, this one is probably referencing Michael Mann's moody, color-saturated take on the Hannibal Lecter character, which hit theaters in 1986 with CSI leading man William Petersen in the lead role.
The movie was based on Thomas Harris's novel Red Dragon, which was later adapted again, into a movie of the same name starring Edward Norton and Anthony Hopkins.prevnext
The Man in Black
The Man in Black is a 1949 whodunit in which a yogi seemingly dies while simulating death, and his evil second wife and her daughter try to force the yogi's daughter into insanity for control of his estate.
That does not seem to share much in common with Hiram Lodge's insane, elaborate drug plans, but given that he is constantly referred to as "The Man in Black," it's still a pretty solid choice for the episode's title.prevnext
While CDC scientists are working to find the animal and synthesize a cure from its antibodies, the U.S. military grows increasingly restless about having a mega-disease ready to explode out of control at any moment, building to a head when the town -- which has been quarantined for much of the film -- is about to be blown off the face of the earth by a bomber if the cure cannot be created in time.prev