Originally I wasn’t going watch this because of pathological hatred of Zucking Fombies. Fortunately, Arleigh told me that it was more than those wretched Zucking Fombies. The Cabin In The Woods is sheer brilliance because Whedon and Goddard turned the tired and cliched horror formula on its ear. Their collaboration freed us from the oppression of torture porn and loathsome gore for the sake of gory credo.
**Spoilers begin here**
In this film world, every horror film nightmare creature from the shambling zombies to snarling werewolf to a Cenobite analogue to Lovecraftian elder gods exist. As a fan of Whedon’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer series, I couldn’t help but see similarities between the TCITW’s world and the world of the Slayer. So the description, “It’s like an episode of Buffy with gore, cussing, and naughty bits, but no Buffy Summers” is pretty accurate. The presence of Amy Acker (Winifred “Fred” Burkle) from Angel fame cemented this opinion. The film cast could easily be stand-ins for the Scoobies with Marty playing Xander Harris, David as Riley, Dana as Willow, etc. The mysterious shadow organization could easily be division of Wolfram & Hart and the slumbering elder gods could replace the Senior Partners as well as Buffy’s Big Bad. I found it interesting and clever that the token victims served as the required sacrifice to appease slumbering boogie men because it explained why the fool, the virgin, the scholar, the jock, and the party girl are always the victims of horror movies. I also loved that the grumpy old man that cryptically warns the kids also served a purpose.
The film is also reminiscent of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy universe in the sense that the evil and violence had a higher purpose. The nightmare creatures could easily be Ogrdu Hem carrying out the will of their parents, the Ogdru Jahad. The secret organization had the dual role of the BPRD and Rasputin. They were like the BPRD in the sense they prevented the end of the world and captured/contained/employed the things that go bump in the night. They were like Rasputin because they reverenced the elder beings and paid them annual tribute.
Found the following things interesting:
- The plot to keep the elder gods happy was a global one (other nations like Japan were involved).
- The wide range of monsters that the organization captured (made me wonder how they were able to capture the most lethal ones like the Cenobite wannabe, werewolf, soul stealing ghost, etc).
- The causal office vibe the organization had despite their morbid mission.
- The elder gods represented the audience/horror audience (an interesting point brought to my attention by a friend)