Warning: This article contains mild spoilers for Us, so proceed at your own risk.
In a twisted turn of events, Jordan Peele’s record-breaking new horror movie Us did not draw inspiration from a brutal true crime case or even a mysterious urban legend, but rather from an 80s charity event.
In Us, Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o), her husband Gabe (Winston Duke) and their two children Jason (Evan Alex) and Zora (Shahadi Wright-Joseph) head to their beach house near the Santa Cruz boardwalk for a relaxed family holiday.
Their holiday plans quickly go to hell, however, when sadistic duplicates of the family invade their home and proceed to terrorize them for the remainder of the film. The doppelgängers are called “The Tethered” a species of human who remained hidden in underground tunnels until the day they decided to rise up and react a dystopian and bloody version of the decade’s old charity event Hands Across America.
Take a look at the terrifying trailer for Us.
The catch is, there was never anything brutal or dangerous about the original Hands Across America, a charity event that took place on May 25, 1986 and was instigated by Ken Kragen, a talent manager who also orchestrated the We Are the World charity single and album.
The idea behind the stunt was to raise between $50 million and $100 million to combat hunger and homelessness in America by convincing millions of people to stand side-by-side and hold hands, effectively creating a human chain across the nation beginning at 3pm and lasting for 15 minutes.