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April 14 2010

(SPOILER) An update on The Cabin in the Woods from Fran Kranz. "All I know is that at one point I read somewhere that Joss said it was the horror film to end all horror films. I like that. I think that puts it best".

Joss said that, of course, at Comic-Con a few years back, when he first announced the project's existence. The line has been distorted endlessly by movie blogs and horror websites ever since. (Fortunately, Kranz isn't distorting anything here by his usage.)

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2010-04-14 07:47 ]
Also, I defy anyone to find where Joss called it a "game changer". This has been bandied about constantly by websites reporting on the movie, but no one's ever sourced it. The only time you can find it mentioned is when people say to him that they heard it being called a game changer, at which point Joss makes some over-the-top hyperbolic remark with tongue firmly in cheek. And yet here's Sci Fi Wire dragging it out again. It's pure reportorial myth.
I'm calling it now. CiTW is about giving you both sides of the story, the terrified teens in the woods and the adults who are terrorizing them, including the everyday non-freaky part of the adults' lives. That's my theory, anyway.
I'm sorry, but as much as I love Joss, I haven't heard anything that supports this being a "game-changer" or "the horror movie to end all horror movies". Honestly, it just seems so vague that I have zero interest in it beyond name recognition.

And terrified teens in the woods/terrorizing adults doesn't fill me with any hope. At best, it's the old Night of the Living Dead trope of a bunch of people stuck in a house (or a cabin) while they get picked off by the surrounding monsters. Points if Joss dares to outdo the awesomeness of Karen Cooper. It would help if there was some kind of indication of a story beyond vague recycled slasher trope indications.

The best horror films are ones that are largely psychological dramas. I mean, of all the horror films that I count in my top tier, it's stuff like Freaks (1932), House of Wax (1953) and The Bride of Frankenstein (1935). None of which are slashers. Night of the Living Dead (1968) is perhaps the only horror film that I like that is a slasher. And Freaks isn't even actually meant to be a horror film despite it getting labeled as such--it's a morality play with soap opera-like drama--and being deeply uncomfortable for most to watch due to the cast (now there's the horror film to end all horror films--the one and probably only movie that can truly NEVER be remade in the mainstream--it was disowned by MGM, influenced the implementation of the Hays Code and banned in some countries for 30 years!). But yeah, as far as horror goes, I tend to go with the moody dramas that lost their horror elements for the modern audience a long time ago (though were terrifying in their day). Let's face it, as classic as Béla Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Sr. & Jr., Vincent Price, etc... are, their films today watch more like dramas or inadvertent camp comedy than horror.

As far as modern films with horror-like elements, the only ones that really stand out to me at all are Sleepy Hollow and Sweeney Todd--and both are more accurately just the darker side of Tim Burton's German Expressionism--even the slasher elements are done in an artistic way that avoids ever looking remotely realistic. All the upteenth sequelitis-stricken slasher franchises hold no appeal for me.

And if the big twist is that instead of the "Barbara"-esque blonde getting killed off, the blonde is the monster (Darla's first scene is a riff on this trope and plays just like the opening to Night of the Living Dead) or the victim that fights back (Buffy's origin), then this is a retread.

I'm just doubtful that this is something that hasn't been done in horror or something that hasn't already been done by Joss. But I'd probably avoid the hyperbole unless everyone really thinks that this is going to actually be that memorable and huge. I admit to rolling my eyes when I see those statements, despite being a total Whedonite.

[ edited by NileQT87 on 2010-04-14 12:51 ]
And terrified teens in the woods/terrorizing adults doesn't fill me with any hope.

It does me. Deconstructing tropes has worked out pretty well in his other work. Plus, Goddard.
I think given what we know about this film right now, it's not really fair to assume that it's going to be any particular thing. I agree that right now there's not really anything to support the never-actually-made "game-changer" comment. And I think it's worth noting that Joss said, "The horror movie to end all horror movies. Literally." Which means it probably wasn't so much bragging as a hint at the content (at least, that's how I'd interpret it).

All we know is that there are monsters, and a cabin in the woods, but you already seem to be assuming it's gotta be a slasher--I think kids trapped in a cabin could pretty easily be psychological--or that Joss is extremely likely to reuse the premise of his seven-year TV show as the premise for the movie. I get it if so far nothing in the promotional material has appealed to you, but there has hardly been anything promoted at this point. I think it's just too early to assume Joss is gonna do a gory slasher, a female-empowerment film, or even a heady psychological thriller. We just don't know enough (unless, I guess, you've read the apparently-leaked script).
By the posters they had for it... I don't think we're in for anything *typical*
"The X to end all Xes" does seem to imply a rabbit in the hat, a reversal of audience expectations rather than larger helpings of the same old. Given that horror is one of the oldest genres of cinema and that so many horror films get made, finding a new approach is quite a challenge. Still, I doubt Mr. Whedon would be interested in making the movie at all if he didn't have an original idea about how to do it. And if the idea truly is original, the chance that anyone who posts here will have thought of it too is unlikely.
Which means it probably wasn't so much bragging as a hint at the content (at least, that's how I'd interpret it).

Which should have been obvious to anyone who was there when he said it, or watched the video of it. Movie bloggers and horror websites constantly leave off the "literally" emphasis, and it's the key tell of the statement which makes it not some sort of swagger or braggadocio, because obviously Joss is not saying "literally" to mean, well, "literally". A writer of Joss' caliber uses that word for a reason, and everyone leaves it out when they quote him, just to be able to call him egotistical.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2010-04-15 02:20 ]
FWIW, re: the future of MGM. EON Productions has just announced that they are indefinitely suspending development on the next Bond picture due to the uncertainty surrounding MGM. In essence, as I read it (so, you know, take with salt), MGM's just basically lost their primary tent pole.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2010-04-19 21:26 ]
Was just coming to mention that.

One tidbit - I just stumbled upon Ways & Means Productions, who appear to be doing post production on Cabin right now. They also do 3D work, so it's possible they're doing the 3D conversion.

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