FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Oct 25, 2013

SHOCKtober: 70-61

Each of the following films received three votes!

70. The Cabin in the Woods -- 2012, Drew Goddard
69. Dawn of the Dead -- 1978, George Romero
68. The Silence of the Lambs -- 1991, Jonathan Demme
67. Them (aka Ils) -- 2006, David Moreau & Xavier Palud
66. The Serpent and the Rainbow -- 1988, Wes Craven
65. The Innocents -- 1961, Jack Clayton
64. Dark Water -- 2002, Hideo Nakata
63. The Last House on the Left -- 1972, Wes Craven
62. Amityville II: The Possession -- 1982, Damiano Damiani

61. The Vanishing (aka Spoorloos) -- 1988, George Sluizer

Is Cabin in the Woods simply a loving riff on genre tropes, or an indictment against horror films and fans? Or both? Or neither? 

I think it's enjoyable, but at the same time I couldn't help but feel that Goddard and co-writer Joss Whedon were calling me a degenerate dummy for liking these kinds of movies. You know, kind of like Michael Haneke did with Funny Games...only Cabin didn't leave me pondering my relationship with on-screen violence. Rather, I found myself thinking "Hey, the fact that I like horror movies doesn't make me a bloodthirsty moron." Folks love the film, though, so clearly mileage varies and strokes are diff'rent.


Verdant Earl said...

Interesting. I saw it the other way. That Goddard and Whedon love these films as much as I do. I never really felt like I was being disparaged or talked down to or anything. I just loved it, even if I didn't find it scary for the most part.

Unknown said...

I found 'Cabin In The Woods' to be enormous fun (if utterly unscary)but didn't really feel like any real message was being transmitted to me (other than "American teenagers are horrible self-absorbed little wankers who would rather let everyone else in the world die than kill their worthless little stoner turd of a friend who was going to die anyway").

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I felt the same way as Earl about Cabin. I thought it was a friendly ribbing of a genre they clearly love as much as I do. The ending alone, once those elevator doors unleash the fury. It's just a smorgasbord of horror delight. I didn't even know how much I wanted to see that go down until it was happening before my eyes.

Michelle said...

Almost always, parody = love.

vampy said...

No, I get "the message" in Cabin, I just don't think it was very coherent. It seems like they threw together some kind of message and it was all an excuse to do a monster mash (it was a graveyard smash). The monster mash was OK and technically very proficient, but I prefer the SEGA Dreamcast game Illbleed's version.

Now, I didn't vote for Cabin, but I did vote for Serpent and the Rainbow, it was based on true events O_O

Stacie Ponder said...

Guess I saw it differently than you guys did!

Diana Rogers said...

I feel very talked down to during Funny Games (but I still think it's a great movie) but not Cabin in the Woods. When I watch that one I just feel the love, man. And, yay for The Innocents and Amityville II. Both freak me the hell out, for vey different reasons.

CashBailey said...

That's a really impressive list. Although THE INNOCENTS should probably be in the top 10.

And is AMITYVILLE II really a good movie? I've not seen it.

Stacie Ponder said...

People really seem to dig it, but I have a hard time willingly watching anything with Burt Young in it.

matango said...

I took Cabin in the Woods as both a love letter and a critique. I thought Haneke was an asshole for Funny Games. If he's critiquing violence in movies in general, then the violence in other genres are more problematic. If he's critiquing on screen violence specifically in horror movies but not other genres, that doesn't make sense since in horror movies the violence at least ostensibly supposed to be horrible (and that is, I think, a problem with a lot of newer, more sadistic horror, which keeps the form of being horrible but seems to be inviting the viewer to enjoy "meaner" violence) while violence in action movies, for example, is supposed to be cheered, at least if the hero does it.

Diana Rogers said...

Amityville II is decent. It's got a lot of flaws but it holds up pretty well, I think. It only makes my list, though, because I saw it as a kid (when my babysitter refused to change the channel and I was too scared to leave the room) and it traumatized me.

Dead In Hell said...

Have to agree with the other commenters. I saw Cabin as a critique not of horror per se, but of bad horror, of lazy writing, of tired cliches, etc. It was just sort of asking horror writers/directors to do something a little more, and perhaps also for audiences to expect a little more. In this sense, I totally agree with Misters Goddard and Whedon. I'm a bit critical of modern horror films and tropes, and CITW just kind of managed to express all of my frustration in a way that was also a great horror movie. I loved it. I haven't enjoyed a horror film so much in quite some time.

And yes, the irony of Funny Games is that Haneke's tremendous conviction of moral rightness was, I imagine, supposed to shame everyone else into never showing any more violence on film. And yet the end result was just a legion of copy cat films and torture porn flicks which revel in sadism. It must make the guy's blood boil. Which is probably the only redeeming feature of said films.