Pre-Convention Double-Feature


I’m going to be out-of-town next week, attending the Florida Anime Experience as a guest and running panels. So here are a pair of podcasts to tide you over in the mean time. CLICK HERE or on the poster above to download our review of Blade 2, featuring Sean “Hollywood” Hunting. CLICK HERE or on the poster below to download our review of Cabin in the Woods, featuring Thomas Pandich and Franklin Raines.



  1. timeliebe says:

    Paul – Yay!

    Thanks for these!

  2. antho42 says:

    I view Cabin in the Woods more as a comedy than horror film. I still like the film, but it would have been a better film if it actually include stuff that make horror great: dread, atmosphere, and scariness.

    And speaking of horror, v/h/2 is supposedly a good film ( a vast improvement over the awful first one). It is good to hear the positive feedback, since the film includes features of Greatest Movie Ever Pdocast! favorites, Gareth Evans (The Raid) and Jason Eisener (Hobo With the Shotgun).

  3. antho42 says:

    Good/Great, modern horror films:
    Rec, Let the Right One In, Dumplings, 28 Days Later, Pan’s Labyrinth, Pulse, and Pontypool.

  4. K-Money says:

    I honestly liked the ending of Cabin in the Woods despite disliking it for the most part. The decision to let everyone die in the end is completely rational from where I’m sitting. If I’m going to die in either case, it does not matter if everyone else lives or dies. I would do the same thing in their situation and you would too even if you don’t think you would.

  5. I admit that Hellboy II The Golden Army has a very simple story, but then again, many comic book runs seem to have a simple story too. I would find it interesting to hear why Paul does not enjoy Hellboy II. Most people do tend to say that HB2 was a visually impressive film though.

  6. Jung-ho says:

    I’d also like to know Paul’s thoughts on Hellboy II. I’ve always held that it’s just so different (straightup fantasy vs Lovecraft/nazi occultism) and less unique. Beyond the dropping of main character, the introduction of relationship problems, the redouchifying of Jeffrey Tambor, that bizarre opening scene

    Blade II of course the much better sequel

  7. Antho42 says:

    I also think that is wrong to assume that utilitarian philosophy is the only correct framework for life and to examine a work of art.

  8. Because I’m a horrible human being, I spoiled myself with listening tot he podcast for “The Cabin in the Woods” and see why I don’t like horror movies much at all. I will say though the thought of how the movie ends, why does the tune “My Way” fit in perfectly as the end them to said picture? 😛

  9. Cleofis says:

    Am I the only one who vastly prefers Blade 1 to Blade 2? I just feel the action, the atmosphere, the music, everything was so much better in the first (plus it has one of the greatest pre-mortem one-liners in the history of cinema). Any chance of a podcast on that one sometime? 😀

  10. Can’t wait to listen to Cabin in the Woods, I really loved it in the theatre and want to hear what you guys have to say about it, but I’m going to try my best to save the ep for work on monday!

    Just a plug, I also have a movie podcast and am a big fan of GME and have been for years, would love for some of you guys to give us a listen: 🙂

  11. Chris Mosher says:

    Hey Paul, you focus on how you felt that your loyalties were divided but I liked that. I felt that the tension and suspense was increased by wanting both sides to win. The whole psychological dissonance thing I guess.

    And you said you wanted to get away from the analysis from the fans but the film is about what the fans want.

    I never noticed the opening credits.

  12. Hamish says:

    Count me in as someone who enjoyed the ending of Cabin in the Woods. It doesn’t matter if it’s morally questionable or not, for me it’s always satisfying to see someone make a choice that effectively screws over the whole world and life as we know it. It’s juvenile but when someone says “f**k everything, I want to see what comes next”, I cheer for them. Carpenter’s Escape From movies and MD Geist are similar in this respect. Of course MD Geist is terrible but I have a very considered appreciation for it, plus it’s funny as heck.

    It’s fictional entertainment and I don’t require my protagonists to always make morally justified choices (or even be like-able human beings). This podcast celebrates Nicolas Cage and his best film in recent years is definitely Bad Lieutenant, which is a film about a despicable person who somehow manages to escape learning his lesson or punishment of any kind, and indeed gets rewarded by the end despite being so vile.

  13. timeliebe says:

    I liked the ending to CABIN IN THE WOODS, and the entire movie, much more than you did, Paul – and I think one reason why is because I identified with the kids more than the office drones. Yes, they had some cute bits, but watching them at work, drugging and manipulating their victims into taking actions and behaving in ways that will kill them all, is like watching an object lesson on The Banality of Evil. The story makes the point repeatedly that this isn’t how their victims behave when they’re not being manipulated, so basically they’re being made into something they’re not so they can be slaughtered – unlike the ritual sacrifices depicted at the start of the movie, where the sacrifices willingly made the choice to die for the greater good.

    When Sigourney Weaver’s facility Director showed up at the end trying to convince Dana to kill Marty, she reminded me of John Boehner or some Fox News talking head sleazily blathering about “shared sacrifice” (i.e., we suffer so The Great and The Good and their toadies can stay fat and complacent, occasionally oinking the word “conservative”!) – which given it’s Sigourney Weaver, I have to wonder if that wasn’t a deliberate creative choice. I would like to think I would have made the same choice Dana and Marty ultimately did, to let the world die if the Fatcats who treat me and mine like sheep die first!

    It’s all a question of choice, Paul – what you see as “cowardice” I see as defiance against a corrupt system that rewards murdering crooks while treating normal people as “disposable”, and taking the chance to bring it down…ALL the way down. Maybe the next people (and there will be “next people”, because otherwise The Ancient Ones won’t have anyone to worship them!) will remember that sacrifice really only works when it’s an informed choice…..

  14. VichusSmith says:

    I will not say anything about how Paul pronounces suplex. Just glad Sean did.

    Blade is the Rodney Dangerfield of the Marvel movies– and I don’t mean that it’s dead, and in a coffin.

    I think that to this day, people may still be unaware that the movie they watched is about a Marvel character.

    That Blade Anime? Ehh. I think that all of the Marvel anime had their issues, but the issue that bugged me most is that they felt like they had to have Japan involved somehow. They could’ve easily cribbed from an existing storyline, instead of creating this new, awkward mess.

    For me, Blade was the second best anime out of the four. He had opponents who I felt fit him, and it didn’t matter much that they crammed Japan into it.

    So what, you guys haven’t watched Ultimate Spider-man? Maybe that’s the Spider-man you’ve always wanted! For me, I still would’ve wanted to see where that MTV CG Spider-man would’ve gone. I think that got a raw deal.

    OK, Blade II. I loved everything that involves Blade and Nomak’s vampires. The Blood Pack and all the rest I could take or leave. Donnie Yen was awesome for the few seconds he actually fought.

    If they revive the dead characters from Serenity in the same way they revived Whistler in Blade II, I’d be both disappointed, befuddled, and oh so happy. Just have them as vampires, even! I don’t care! 🙂

  15. gooberzilla says:

    I can’t agree with your reading of the film, Tim, which adds a political / class element that I don’t think was present. The kids are college students and the people working the scenario are white-collar joes and janes; they’re from the same socio-economic strata.

    Likewise, there’s absolutely nothing to indicate that there would be “next people”. The Old Gods neither desire nor require human worship; the sacrifices in the film are committed specifically to keep them asleep. In all the literature I’ve read, the Ancient Ones are at best indifferent to the existence of human beings and at worst directly antipathetic. This isn’t a “reset”. It’s a “game over”.

  16. I think my problem with Cabin in the Woods’ ending beyond what we talked about in the podcast is the nihilism of the ending really does feel unearned. While I’m not going to comment on Tim’s political comments one way or the other, I’m just underwhelmed by this notion of the world ending for no real reason other than “Eh, if I’m going to die everyone else is going out too”.

  17. But this world’s reality of the continual worldwide murder of innocent people sits better?

  18. gooberzilla says:

    Um, no, it does not. But that doesn’t really have anything to do with either of the movies being discussed on this post, K.

  19. timeliebe says:

    I kind of got a political reading off it as you can tell, Paul – or perhaps the current political climate where people already feel like insects squashed by forces beyond their control, and are damned pissed off about it, encourages that kind of reading. Yes, giving the entire world the Raised Middle Finger is a long way from Occupy Wherever or even the Tea Party’s inchoate gun-waving rage, but they all share a similar feeling of anger and defiance – and I suspect that’s one reason why many of the people who like CABIN IN THE WOODS do.

    I also think what Thomas Pandich takes as bug (“unearned nihilism”) feels more like a feature to me. The entire movie’s an elaborate sick joke anyway, which is made clear by the fact that it doesn’t start with the kids (using the term advisedly, as all four look to be pushing thirty!) but with the day at the office stuff. The movie pulls the clever switch of creating the kind of cliché’d Monster Fodder we all want to see die in inventive ways, and by having the office drones treat them as Monster Fodder and manipulate them so they conform to those roles makes (some of) us empathize with them and what they go through – enough, at least, that we don’t root for them to die like we normally would! That Dana’s and Marty’s choice, which brings on the Apocalyse, is treated as a Triumph of the Human Spirit is the punchline to the Shaggy Monster Story this movie’s telling – so of course it’s going to be a cheesy-looking Big Red Claw that punches up in the final shot! It’s Goddard’s and Whedon’s version of Monty Python’s Giant Foot That Steps on a Cartoon to put a button on a sketch….

    As for the use of exclusively educated White people negating any political impact? That is an issue Whedon and those who work with him tend to have. Let’s not forget FIREFLY featuring a US/Chinese Commonwealth Alliance – with no Chinese in major roles! For that matter, BUFFY’s Sunnydale is an awfully White town – and while ANGEL has Gunn as a Hero of Color, he starts out as The Stereotypical Black Gang-Banger who happens to hunt demons, and he’s really the only regular or seriously recurring character who’s not White (or Green or Orange or Blue or some other fantasy color, played by White actors) in that series. Most of Whedon’s creative circle are White Professional Class (with the exception of his Sister-in-Law, who’s Asian-American), and their writing tends to reflect that.

  20. timeliebe says:

    @Paul – I kind of think K’s point is that maybe it does, just a bit….

  21. gooberzilla says:

    Having read Goddard’s script, I don’t think the cheesiness of the big red hand at the end was intended to be part of the punchline. Goddard’s language describes the hand as majestic and terrifying, not as the foot from Monty Python.

    I get the joke; I just don’t think it’s particularly funny or well-executed.

    This is one of the dangers of meta-fiction. Any directorial misstep can be interpreted as satire or parody.

  22. wolvenspectre says:

    FINALLY!! (sniff, sniff) I have found someone who also sees Hellboy 2 as an incredibly artistic train wreck too!

    Most people I know love the movie and say how beautiful it is and when ever I made arguments about what made it a bad Hellboy movie IMHO they look at me like some sort of heretic blasphemer.

    It was so bad that, even though I have often disagreed with your opinions (and sometimes strongly) when I heard Paul say some of the things I thought about the movie (although probably for different reasons) my heart skipped a beat and in my head I said “brother….”


  23. timeliebe says:

    @Paul – are you sure that isn’t a feature of metafiction? 😉

    I have no idea if any of this was Goddard’s (or Whedon’s) original intention or not – but as an artist friend of mine once argued when he was complimenting me on the dramatic impact of what I considered a badly-misframed shot, even the missteps you leave in are a creative choice, and may say more about your intent than what you originally chose to do. He’s used a story I told him about B-moviemaker William Castle leaving in a scene with the fog enveloping Joan Crawford in STRAITJACKET as an example of “subconscious art” when he’s teaching art classes, so he obviously believes in this!

    I’m not entirely sure I agree with him – but there’s no doubt that you and Thomas have a very different reading of this movie than I do, based on our coming to it with different knowledge and attitudes. Maybe it’s all just a mis-framed shot that can pass as dramatic impact, and we could argue until the End of Days which is which – or we can discuss instead how you and Sean didn’t mention how totally awesome a comic-book director Guillermo del Toro is!

  24. Um, yes, it does. I was discussing Cabin in the Woods, in response to Thomas’ comment on nihilism in the film. It’s the comment right above mine.

  25. gooberzilla says:

    Sorry, K. When you said “this world”, I thought you meant our own reality, not the world established by the movie. I thought you were making a real-life political statement.

  26. K: I’m not arguing right versus wrong with the ending. I’m arguing that Cabin in the Woods does a poor job of making the ending sit right with the actions of the characters. I don’t believe that the movie establishes Marty as enough of a nihilist that he would say “this is screwed up, the world needs to burn.”

    Having said that, I feel like the alternative where Marty dies and the world is saved, is a valid ending justified by the fiction. Marty and Dana are survivors who will do anything in their power to survive. I believe that Dana’s actions as someone who has gone through a horrible situation are perfectly justified at the end. The fiction justifies Dana’s actions at the end of the film perfectly where as Marty’s ultimate decision is neither foreshadowed or justified.

    Again, I’m not making a value judgement on who is “right”. I’m just saying that the story doesn’t justify Marty’s ultimate decision.

    Tim: I can’t agree with you. Having underdeveloped characters may potentially be a trope of the genre but I believe it is a failure of the script. We started the movie being introduced to characters who are supposed to be fleshed out that become one dimensional stereotypes (which is the joke), but they never stop being one dimensional after they escape into the base. The whole jump from “we are doing everything we possibly can to survive” to “eh, end of the world, whatevs” isn’t earned. I’d even buy it if the film framed the third act as as revenge versus pure survival, but it never reaches that point. The jump is too sudden and unearned.

  27. Nissl says:

    I checked out Cabin last night after hearing the spoiler warning at the beginning of this podcast (and without hearing your first opinions). I don’t know if it really needed that kind of warning, honestly; I mean, the movie *starts out* with the office guys rather than the students and there aren’t exactly a lot of crazy twists from there; as you said, everything is telegraphed (e.g., the hawk hitting the barrier). I found it to be a modestly funny low budget comedy and wish it had been advertised as such, because I would have checked it out a lot sooner. It was remarkable for being less emotionally engaging than anything I’ve seen in a long time, both because of the split focus and the early reveals, as you said. I don’t really have a huge problem with that, though. And because I didn’t care, while I thought the ending was dumb and irritating, it didn’t actively make me angry. They were just trying another trope inversion that didn’t work.

    It sounds like the bigger problem you guys are having is more around how the movie was marketed, how popular it was, and where the horror genre is at present and what this movie’s reception says about it. You want movies that transgress and push buttons, that speak to the id and are capable of drawing out repressed emotions. But I want to suggest that sometimes it’s valuable to have a movie that makes the broader audience appreciate the rote elements in what they’ve been watching. Maybe it will decrease how easily some of them are satisfied with stock “horror” movies these days.

    By the way, since you all are into anime, are any of you watching Attack on Titan? I’m guessing many anime fans are probably sick of hearing about it by now, but I couldn’t help thinking of it listening to the podcast. It’s not a pure horror series, but it has a lot of horror elements and it’s the first thing to actually give me an horror-style emotional workout in a very long time. (And contra your comments about the ending of Cabin, it also proves large naked humans can be plenty scary if handled correctly.)

  28. Daryl Surat says:

    I don’t typically like to play my hand regarding things I write about professionally, but with regards to Attack on Titan I’ll say that it manages to be far, far more genuinely terrifying than what is marketed as “horror” by simply doing something which the modern horror film refuses to do: make you root for the “victims” over the “killers.”

    Cleofis: Though I like it the best, Blade II is rather divisive. I’ve found that people tend to either like it the most or the least, with very few people putting it in the middle. (Note: all those people who think Blade II is worse than Blade Trinity mystify me.) As such, it’s not uncommon at all for you to prefer the original over it and I wouldn’t really begrudge anybody for doing so.

  29. Invid Ninja says:

    Have to agree with Nissl’s thought above with regards to recent horror fan; then again like most things, I still think the best horror films have been from the 70’s and 80’s. There are some modern highlights but for me at least the foreign markets such as the French and Koreans (i.e. Inside) have put basically every U.S. produced modern horror film to shame.

  30. Nah, not taking it that far. Apologies for creating confusion.

  31. I came from it feeling that either choice is icky. So the earth is at the mercy of these demon gods, and you either fulfill the sacrifice (which means that people worldwide continue to be sacrificed to these gods anyway) or the gods kill us all.

    So a little evil versus great evil? If I was in those shoes, I don’t know what I’d decide.

    Anyway, if these mad gods kill everyone, then isn’t this the Blade 1 conundrum? If the vampires slaughter/turn all humans, then who’s left to munch on? If the gods need sacrifices, then what do they do when the earth is bereft of humans?

  32. Blade Trinity is so weak! Dracula, my ass. It was funny, but Snipes was phoning it in as much as the film was. It ran out of gas.

  33. Nissl says:

    Daryl: Blade II is actually in the middle for me. As I remember it, the series declined a bit with each new movie. Although to be honest, I haven’t seen any of them in more than half a decade and while they were reasonably fun, I’m not chomping at the bit to revisit them.

    Insightful point about modern horror. One reason I’ve been thinking about AoT perhaps more than it really deserves is because I’ve felt very blah about new hard-R violence/gore for the last few years (TV as well as movies) and I’m just realizing that maybe it’s not something I outgrew, it’s just reflecting a systemic flaw in that stuff. I had been chalking it up to the fact that AoT isn’t nihilistic (e.g., even with where Mikasa is at emotionally late in episode 7, she still says she believes the world is beautiful.) But you’re right that the characters are treated differently than in recent “hard” things I’ve watched. I’m tired of antiheroes and/or deliberately irritating cannon fodder in every horror movie and dark cable drama.

  34. torinostu351 says:

    Regarding Cabin in the Woods, I felt like too much time was spent discussing the horror fans, and not horror as a genre, although that did come in at the end of the podcast. My take on the film was actually more about what the genre has become, not who the fans are.

    In essence, the Old Ones = Studio Execs, the control center workers are the writers/producers/directors, who are tasked with churning out horror films (it’s all about the formula) to make a profit. The undead hillbillies are the horror element decided upon by the studio despite all the great ideas the writers came up with because that’s all they could do with the budget they were given. The college students are the fans who are allured by the marketing, go willing to sacrifice themselves (giving money, rather than blood), but usually end up just being abused by the studios pumping out another rubbish film. And regardless of the fan rage that ensues, they can’t change the process. They have to keep going, sacrificing themselves, to appease the Old Ones so more movies get made, in the hope there will be a good one someday.

    Of course, maybe I’m giving the movie too much credit because in this analogy, it doesn’t matter how the movie ends because the studios will always win, eventually. Or did Paul actually say something like that in the podcast?

  35. timeliebe says:

    ::Having underdeveloped characters may potentially be a trope of the genre but I believe it is a failure of the script.::

    I don’t remember having said anything about this at all, Thomas Pandich – in fact, I’m pretty sure I said one of the things I liked about CABIN IN THE WOODS was that it made the point the kids were being manipulated into characters they didn’t really fit. You and Paul, OTOH, said it quite a lot, so I guess you both felt the characters were really underdeveloped….

    Like Invid Ninja (among others), I really prefer Seventies/early Eighties horror films to what’s out now, which feels like it has no real transgressive qualities to it, and a very (though not in the way I usually mean it!) conservative view. Everything any more really does feel like torinostu351 describes it, as coming off a checklist of what they can afford/are told will sell rather than the creators really digging into What Makes Their Flesh Creep. You might say that’s because All The Good Monsters Are Taken (that’s certainly a background theme in CABIN IN THE WOODS, where they show knockoffs of popular horror franchise characters as “action figures” for their rituals!) – but they were saying that back in the Seventies when Carpenter redefined horror with a big guy in a solid-white Shatner facemask or Coscarelli turned a kids’ movie into a fever dream of horror/SF, Cronenberg married the cold clean civilized surface of Canada with his own horror/fascination with Things That Erupt Out Of You, or later when Barker took what looked like Friday Night at a S-M Club and took it…further. And I haven’t even touched on the movies being made in Europe and China at that time!

    Now that we’ve got low-cost, high quality HD video and editing gear available, I’d like to start seeing some genuinely innovative and disturbing horror features start getting made once again by North American filmmakers. Since that kind of film was always in the minority against a mountain of successful knockoffs and schlock, I guess that means I’ll have to tolerate Eli Roth’s torture porn – though I do hope that he realizes his real strength is in sick humor….

  36. Gogo gaga says:

    Nice to hear about what you had to say about these films.

    Oh, torinusto351 had a pretty cool interpretation about what Cabin in the Woods shoulda-woulda-coulda been.
    If that really was the underlying theme the potential for some seriously amusing meta-fiction had struck right at home with me.
    Taking the appeal from the smart-alecky aspects of horror fandom. Throwing them into the clichéd franchise trappings and forcing them to stand up against the one’s churning out stupid crap like Cabin in the woods for example. 😉

  37. Hello Goob, long time, um second time commentor.

    I wrote a review of this film myself at my own blog at partly as a response to some of the things in your review but here’s the salient part.

    “On a side note I do want to briefly address the review of Cabin in the Woods by Gooberzilla over at The Greatest Movie Ever podcast. This is an excellent podcast by the way and I strongly recommend it to anyone interested in film, particularly genre film. I don’t always share Gooberzilla’s taste in films myself but he is always articulate and logical in his arguments about why he doesn’t like a film I might personally love.

    But in his review of Cabin in the Woods he makes a cardinal film criticism sin. He reviews what the film isn’t rather than what it is.

    Gooberzilla posits a version of the film that starts with the future dead teenager characters and does not cut away to the controllers until much later in the film. In this version the set up would be played straight until they get to the cabin and the film would slowly reveal hints that what the characters are experiencing is more than it seems. They find the cameras, we in the audience notice the gas or a subtle voice whispering what a character should do and we start to suspect that this is some kind of set-up. Then the third act proceeds much as before with two of our protagonists escaping into the facility and discovering the conspiracy and the fact that they need to die to save the world.

    His argument is basically that this would have worked as both a horror film and a comedy and the scenes where we don’t know what’s going on would have genuine tension to them and enigma.

    Now I fully agree that this would be a great film and I would happily watch it, but that isn’t the film Cabin in the Woods is, nor is it the film it’s trying to be. Starting the film with the controllers was a very deliberate choice, not a failing and here’s why they did it. To deny the viewer what they want. The very fact that many voices have bemoaned the opening scene and how it ruins the tension and the mystery points out that the audience wants tension and mystery. But the filmmakers don’t want you to have it. This is a film that is a) about subverting conventions and b) has the core thesis that horror cinema is bad and human beings are bad for wanting to watch it. Therefore they’re going to set it up like a horror film and then deny you the pleasures of a horror film. That’s why the film isn’t scary, that’s why our protagonists neither die heroically nor find a way to beat the odds. Those would be satisfying endings. Instead our characters fail because they want to deny you the pleasures of a horror movie. Whatever you want to see this film thinks is bad for you and so denies it. They even make this idea literal with the Merman running gag. One of the controllers wants to see a merman, it’s a running gag throughout the film, and when he sees a Merman, it kills him. What you want is bad for you horror fans.

    You may disagree (indeed, I do) but you can’t criticise the films structure when it works towards the films aims.

    Gooberzilla’s other complaint I want to respond to is the big hand at the end saying he would have preferred something more lovecraftian like a tentacle. Again I’d argue there is a very good reason for the human hand, it’s because the great ancient one is a human being, or at least symbolic of human beings. The whole reason for the sacrifice in the context of the film is to appease this dark gods but meta-textually there are no dark gods only human beings. Human beings want to see violence and gore and human sacrifice and we can be appeased by what the controllers have created, a horror film, a scenario that conforms to our cultural needs and which prevents “the dark times before” i.e. the violent history of humanity prior to the outlet of violent fiction. Making it a tentacle would make it less obvious that the dark gods are viewer stand-ins.”

  38. gooberzilla says:

    Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear enough in the review: I understand completely what Goddard and Whedon were attempting to do with this film in terms of it serving as a meta-textual allegory. I just don’t think it was particularly effective, nor do I think the message was particularly interesting. I’d also argue that the script in many places is structured and written like a typical horror movie, and that tension was specificially what the film makers were attempting to evoke in certain scenes. That these scenes don’t play out that way in the final cut is a bug, not a feature.

    If the message is supposed to be “this stuff is bad and you should feel bad for enjoying it”, then the film makers should make me feel bad. I didn’t feel bad. I felt bored.

    Compare this to say, God Bless America or Body Double, where the films make you complicit in their anti-social themes. I enjoyed those movies, but I also felt like a terrible human being for doing so.

  39. No you made yourself perfectly clear in that regard I just disagree. I think it was effective as a meta-textual allegory although I might be more inclined to agree with you that what it has to say about horror isn’t as interesting as the film thinks it is.

    But I don’t think there were any scenes that aimed to generate tension and failed. To my recollection anything that seemed reminiscent of a typical horror film scene undercuts the tension deliberately either by cutting away to the controllers or having something in the film establish the artifice of it prior to it happening.

    For example the scene with the bike. You quite rightly point out that there is no tension to that scene because of the earlier scene with the bird that established the existence of the invisible fence. Now for you that means the scene doesn’t work because it appears to be building up the tension as a standard horror film scene but can’t. For me though the existence of the bird is evidence that the filmmakers aren’t trying to evoke tension at all. Yes it’s shot and structured like a scene from a horror film but it can’t possibly contain any tension because of the bird that was established earlier. It’s a gag, the audience is in on the joke, we know what will happen. But really don’t we always know what will happen? Because we’re so used to the tropes of horror.

    The bird is very deliberate and not a mistake, it’s a symbol of how the film makers want to deny the viewer the traditional pleasures of a horror film.

  40. gooberzilla says:

    Maybe so, maybe not. Read Goddard’s script here, look at the language he uses, and then tell me whether you think key scenes weren’t written specifically with tension in mind:

    Even if your interpretation is the correct one, and the filmmakers were deliberately deflating the tension in every scene for comedic or allegorical purposes, what then? It’s the cinematic equivalent of holding a piece of candy out of the reach of a child and going: “Is this what you want? Is that what you like? Well, nuh-uh, you can’t have it. Neener neener. Also, you are bad for liking candy.”

    I’m not convinced that Cabin was supposed to be entirely tension-less. I think at some point the film’s creators wanted to eat their cake and have it, too.

  41. “Even if your interpretation is the correct one, and the filmmakers were deliberately deflating the tension in every scene for comedic or allegorical purposes, what then? It’s the cinematic equivalent of holding a piece of candy out of the reach of a child and going: “Is this what you want? Is that what you like? Well, nuh-uh, you can’t have it. Neener neener. Also, you are bad for liking candy.””

    That is exactly the message I got from Cabin in the Woods, especially the part about being bad for liking candy. To me the thesis of the film is ultimately “you are a bad person for wanting to watch a horror film.”

    Or if you’re inclined to be more charitable “You are a bad person for wanting to watch yet another rote repetitive “spam in a cabin” horror film.”

    Either way when you add up the deflating of tension, the ending, the merman gag (i.e. getting what you want isn’t good for you) and the fact that the big bad monster that destroys the world is a blatant stand in for the viewer it’s clear to me that the film has a very harsh view of the traditional horror audience.

  42. timeliebe says:

    Boy, you really did not like CABIN IN THE WOODS one little bit, did you, Paul?

    I have to say, I tend to agree with Bravely Brave Sir Robin (great name!), and I think he expands on and improves thoughts some of the rest of us had about the film. Maybe it’s always going to be one of those “Love It/Hate It” movies….

  43. Hey, just a note on Wesley Snipes going crazy. You should check out the Patton Oswalt interview on the AV Club, specifically the section on Blade II. It sounds like Snipes went very colourfully out of his mind.,88860/

  44. Porkchop222 says:

    very entertaining & interesting podcast on Cabin in the Woods.

    I liked the ending & didnt interpret it as “if i die, i’ll take everyone with me”. Rather i saw it as “Were not going to sacrifice our fellow men for the entertainment & appeasement of a fear monger. were not going to throw our friends in a lion pit for the amusement of a roman emperror guy from Gladiator. we’re going to stand by our principles and our people. and if an even worse horror movie monster comes then we’ll deal with it.”. i viewed it as courageous.
    its sort of like when terrorists threatened the newspaper in denmark, to censor the muhamed cartoon. They can succumb to threats and censor themselves out of fear. or they can stand up for their princples, eventhough its putting them at risk of attack., In cabin in the woods they choose not to succumb

  45. Porkchop222 says:

    and i definitely agree with Paul that cabin in the woods is not a horror movie. its winking at the audience throughout. the parts that have horrific creatures are only there to say “remember this cliche, remember that cliche; remember pinhead, remember the clown from IT, remember dr giggles, etc.”. theres never really a moment that has horror for the sake of scaring us, its just there to remind us.

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