Cultwatch! The Cabin In The Woods

It’s time for another edition of Cultwatch!, where Jimmy and Tom talk about a cult movie.  This time around, the guys are looking at the 2012 meta-horror-comedy movie The Cabin in the Woods.

Of course, Watson and maybe Jenny’s husband Jonathan suggested they might come by for this chat, but they didn’t, so that happens.  Or it didn’t.  See discussion of the movie that maybe got a Geek in trouble at home below.

The Cabin in the Woods

jimmy:  Well, to start, I can’t hear the title of this movie without thinking of this:

tomk:  Does Jenny know that musical exists?

jimmy:  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Side note. I’m not a big fan of musicals, but that one is awesome. And all based around a…cabin in the woods. And we’re back!

tomk:  I am also not a big fan of musicals, but I will make a note of this.

But this movie, this was not a musical.

jimmy:  No. No it was not. But it did almost get me put in the doghouse.

tomk:  Should I ask why?

Was it the killer unicorn?

jimmy:  Oh. She never got that far.

Ms Impossible is not one for scary movies. We stopped it the first time when the hillbilly zombies rose from the dead. We continued after that, but she was done once the whore lost her head. I watched the rest on my own.

She was not impressed I made her watch it. I said I didn’t know what level of scary it was. And then I blamed Tom.

tomk:  I would have thought she would have been fine with it if she sat through Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead.

jimmy:  GOT can be graphic but not really scary. But Walking Dead she’s fine with because that “can’t really happen”.

tomk:  

jimmy:  I know.

tomk:  They should have picked the Merman.

No one ever picks the Merman.

jimmy:  For good reason. That guy is fugly.

tomk:  Bradley Whitford–the guy you get when you want to make a different kind of horror movie between this and Get Out–wanted the Merman. He got him.

jimmy:  I think it was more the other way around.

tomk:  True,

OK, so, we know you almost spent the week sleeping in the shed after this one, but did you like the movie? Was it worth the near banishment to the Moose Lodge?

jimmy:  I did…but…I feel I am going to be in the majority in terms of grading. I liked it a lot more when it was the actual Cabin in the Woods part with the crew manipulating everything from below. Once the “heroes” got into the elevator, it was unique and inventive, but it lost the charm a bit for me. Which is probably ironic, since that is probably the point where people’s minds got blown.

tomk:  Did you know who the giant hand was supposed to be?

jimmy:  Dave Grohl?

tomk:  Close.

It’s you.

Here, this video explains all the references, especially the giant hand.

jimmy:  Cool. Yeah, it’s very smartly made with a lot of great references. Kinda like Scream that way. Though that was more honed to slasher films.

tomk:  Right, so if you were unimpressed by the end, maybe that means you, Jimmy Impossible, was the giant hand.

jimmy:  Heh. Indeed I am! But it’s not that I wasn’t impressed, I just liked the more traditional Evil Dead tribute first 3/4 better.

tomk:  Even as those drab lab guys under the cabin were manipulating things to guarantee it would be a more traditional Evil Dead tribute?

jimmy:  That’s what made it interesting.

tomk:  Ah.

So, I actually more or less knew the plot of this one since the movie gets written up a lot in various essays and articles about the latest gems in horror movies, but was what happened surprising to you, Jimmy?

jimmy:  Well, I knew there was a twist and it wasn’t just a straight up “Evil Dead” type movie, but I didn’t know exactly what that twist was and avoided it as spoilers the best that I could. I had a sense of it being a Big Brother manipulating things behind the scenes, but thought it was more like a reality show or some such, not an actual human sacrifice ritual.

tomk:  The blood pouring into the temple wasn’t a tip off?

jimmy:  Well, it was once I watched the movie. I’m talking about before.

tomk:  Ah.

Well, it’s not like they could just toss a girl into a volcano.

jimmy:  Times were simpler then.

tomk:  More direct. Less forcefields.

jimmy:  Poor, poor Thor.

tomk:  Plus, that eagle.

jimmy:  He had it coming.

To that point…

tomk:  Thor or the eagle?

jimmy:  The eagle.

I was surprised that right off the hop the movie was set up as someone is manipulating all these events from behind the scenes. It worked and it made sense, I was just expecting it to be more from the campers point of view and have no idea that something was amiss until the actual reveal later in the movie. Say, when Shaggy returned from “dying” off screen to reveal the elevator.

tomk:  Did you learn any of the characters’ names?

jimmy:  Um…Thor. Grey’s Anatomy. Shaggy. The Whore. Velma. Evil Well Wisher. Office Jerks. Red Neck Zombies. Yup, I think I did.

tomk:  Sounds about right to me.

It’s not like they had other names that made them all highly memorable characters.

jimmy:  They almost literally were just placeholders for the 5 stereotypes.

tomk:  Which was pretty much the point.

None of them were actually like that. The athlete was a dedicated student. The smart guy wasn’t that smart. The fool figured everything out. The virgin had an affair with a married man or something, and the whore was monogamous.

jimmy:  Yeah, good points. The Overseers or whatever they were called, had to use their chemicals to fit them into their archetypes.

tomk:  And Sigourney Weaver’s explanation at the end said they just had to be close enough.

jimmy:  So, basically 5 random people. 🙂

tomk:  Well, it helped if they at least looked the part from the sounds of things.

jimmy:  And that the guys downstairs got to see some boobs.

tomk:  Side benefit for them from the sounds of things.

jimmy:  Speaking of boobs and the guys downstairs, I guess no one else will be joining us.

tomk:  Yeah, sure looks that way.

But speaking of guys downstairs, there’s something to be said about how Richard Jenkins treats his character as a guy who’s just doing a job and might even be bored by the whole thing.

jimmy:  Whitford too. Both do a great job.

tomk:  You gotta wonder how many times they went through that.

And this time, Japan doesn’t have their back by getting it right.

jimmy:  A nice Ringu tribute.

But good question. Their…methods…have obviously upgraded over the years.

tomk:  I did have a bit of a chuckle watching the schoolgirls beat the Ringu ghost.

jimmy:  With ease by the looks of it.

tomk:  You should never discount the ingenuity of Japanese schoolgirls.

Or a pothead.

jimmy:  His pot counteracted the pheromones. Maybe they should have dyed his hair blonde as well.

tomk:  Or let him stay behind with his Great Dane.

jimmy:  They would have gotten away with it too…

tomk:  If it weren’t for the Elder God’s being displeased.

And maybe the Merman.

jimmy:  Thinking about it now…how would the Merman even get to the cabin? Or catch them if they ran away? He’d really be a poor choice of nightmare.

tomk:  They had a giant octopus from the looks of things. The Merman could still crawl after catching a couple of them in the lake.

jimmy:  Well, we know they had various places to perform these rituals…maybe one was more…aquatic.

But why leave the whole thing up to chance…just for the fun of it?

tomk:  It was all part of the ritual.

jimmy:  Why would random homicidal murderer/creature be part of the ritual? Emphasis on the “random”.

tomk:  How did they figure out exactly what the Elder Gods wanted?

How did they capture all those things anyway?

Which was your favorite critter?

You can probably answer the last one there.

jimmy:  I don’t know if I can answer any of those questions! 🙂

tomk:  Not even your favorite critter?

Maybe it’s just me and my general Guillermo del Toro fandom, but there was something about the Sugar Plum Fairy…

But the killer unicorn was pretty cool too.

jimmy:  I thought unicorns were beautiful, loving creatures?

tomk:  Only for virgins.

Besides, Legends of Tomorrow showed me how dangerous a unicorn can be.

jimmy:  And I always thought Unicorns were all candy and rainbows.

tomk:  Only the type that think friendship is magic.

jimmy:  Well, anything else to add here Tom besides Jonathan and Watson being jerks?

tomk:  Not really. We can send those guys to see the Dark Lord of Pain later.

jimmy:  They deserve it.

Hmm…one thing, if you were part of the group…what character would you be? 🙂

tomk:  I’d probably go in thinking I was the smart guy, end up the fool, with Watson calling me the virgin while he sat in the control room. You?

jimmy:  Heh…probably the same.

tomk:  So, to grade or do we speculate who Controller Watson bets on in the pool?

jimmy:  Douche Bags aren’t usually on the Big Murder Board.

tomk:  That could have been true if they selected American Psycho option.

jimmy:  Hmmm…good point. And that video did mention Mr. Bateman as possibly appearing.

tomk:  Well, if we’re wondering what Death By Watson is like, beyond an obsession with its own Rotten Tomatoes score because of a competition with Death By Ryan, maybe it’s time to grade.

jimmy:  You go first…

tomk:  9 out of 10 metaphorical pleas to fix the horror movie genre.

jimmy:  I figured I’d be lower. I’m going to go with 7.5 never ask for the merman out of 10. I could be talked into an 8. I can appreciate what they did and what they were going for, but as mentioned, I enjoyed it more when it was Evil Dead homage than end of the world monster mash.

tomk:  You are the giant hand!

jimmy:  Hail to the giant hand, baby!

tomk:  Well, we need something else. Maybe after seeing the world end, we need someone to save it.

jimmy:  Does he have an eye patch?

tomk:  He could. I thought a team might be in order. A team of mystery type men and maybe toss a woman in there to be fair.

jimmy:  A team of Mystery Men…that’ll never work.

tomk:  But if you had something else in mind…

jimmy:  That can wait for another day…let us see these “Mystery Men” of which you speak…

NEXT TIME:  Well, we need to save the world after destroying it.  Sort of.  Come back soon for a discussion of the 1999 superhero comedy Mystery Men.

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