When Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho opened in 1960 it was carried into theaters on a wave of advertising that commanded audiences to keep mum about the story’s surprising elements. Thanks in part to that ad campaign, Psycho became a hit that changed horror films even as it legitimized them. The mainstream horror genre quickly developed around a codified set of tropes, character archetypes and specific rules that, fifty years later, are tiresome in their predictability.

Marketing for The Cabin in the Woods, from director Drew Goddard and his co-writer Joss Whedon, exploits some of that same “don’t tell friends how it ends!” PR mode. But that’s just a smokescreen. Goddard and Whedon aim to demolish the archetypes born in the wake of that early popularization of horror, and in doing so bring a sense of spontaneous fun back to the genre.

The pair succeeds spectacularly. The Cabin in the Woods is a blast. It’s a film for anyone who feels the spark has gone out of horror. This movie is clever and quite self-aware, and it has very specific ideas about what caused horror to fall into rote patterns. As they get around to explaining just how horror turned into what it is today, Goddard and Whedon give the audience a chum bucket full of the thrills it wants, but also argues that playing by the rules is the wrong way to go. Read More »

One of the films that got caught up in the tumultuous financial collapse at MGM was The Cabin in the Woods, which Joss Whedon co-wrote with Cloverfield writer Drew Goddard, who also directed. The film stars Chris Hemsworth (Thor) in a story that tweaks the classic horror plot setup that plops a handful of people into a cabin in the middle of nowhere.

Now, years after it was completed, the film is going to be released by LionsGate, and we’ve got the first promo image after the break. Read More »

When MGM’s financial standing temporarily went to the great balance sheet in the sky, the two biggest projects that were left standing like children in a Charles Dickens novel were the Red Dawn remake and The Cabin in the Woods, a reportedly smart horror film directed by Cloverfield writer Drew Goddard and co-written and produced by Joss Whedon.

I’m not certain that anyone cares much about the still-homeless Red Dawn, especially after EnemyGate, but I’ve heard so many good things about The Cabin in the Woods from parties in the know that I am quite curious to see it. And now Lionsgate is going to make that happen, as the studio is picking up Cabin to distribute this year. Read More »

Annette Haywood-Carter, a former script supervisor who jumped to directing (Foxfire, with a young Angelina Jolie, for instance), is preparing to shoot the period drama Savannah in the Georgia town of the same name, and has secured the final pieces of the film’s cast. Jim Caviezel and Chiwetel Ejiofor have joined Bradley Whitford, Jaimie Alexander, Jack McBrayer and Hal Holbrook. Read More »

MGM’s dire financial troubles have already spelled doom or delay for several films: the next Bond movie was indefinitely postposed, The Hobbit is delayed to the point where Guillermo del Toro walked as director, and the Red Dawn remake is shelved for the time being, because the studio doesn’t have enough money to release the film.

Now the horror movie Cabin in the Woods, written and produced by Joss Whedon and directed by Cloverfield writer Drew Goddard, looks like the latest casualty of the studio’s misfortune. Read More »

Drew Goodard’s Cabin in the Woods is finally showing signs of progress to the outside world, with the casting announcement of two supporting roles. Richard Jenkins (above left) has signed, and Bradley Whitford (above right) is close to signing, for two associated roles as “white-collar co-workers with a mysterious connection to the cabin”. I love Jenkins in particular and hope that this is a good sized part for him.

The Cabin screenplay is by both Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon, which pretty much guarantees a high level of invention, wit, relevance and quality craftsmanship; on the other hand, it also keeps Goddard in the shadow of Whedon, at least as far as press coverage goes, for another year or so. To try and push down on the other side of the scales just a little, I’m not going to mention the W word even one more time in this post. Promise.

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