The Set of 400: #292 – My Favorite Merman

Today! Because this is Zombie Redneck Torture Family, see? They’re entirely separate species. Like the difference between an elephant and an elephant seal –

The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Directed by Drew Goddard

Starring Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Anna Hutchison, Sigourney Weaver, Brian White

Not really being a horror guy myself, it’s probably fitting that this not-really-a-horror-movie is my favorite horror movie of recent years. I mean, it has a lot of basic horror elements – kids partying at the desolate cabin in the woods, maniacal killers, spooky atmosphere. But right from the beginning, right from the opening credits, something is obviously wrong in this film. What follows is a frankly amazing subverting of the entire genre, a parody inside of a science fiction/fantasy/mythology that is as funny as any horror movie ever made, which I know is a pretty weird endorsement. I saw this based almost entirely on reviews – the studio clearly had no idea how to market it without giving the entire film away – and audiences were clearly conflicted. While it did okay at the box office, it got savaged by Cinemascore (if you give any credit to that outfit). Rotten Tomatoes places the movie at a robust 91% with critics, yet Cinemascore gave it a C, with female audience goers (usually a very supportive demographic to horror) handing out a D+! Clearly, few were prepared for the non-horror horror movie from Goddard and co-screenwriting god Joss Whedon.

Like fellow 2012 release Red Dawn, The Cabin in the Woods was filmed in 2009 and canned while MGM went bankrupt. Because of this, the young Hemsworth seen here had already hit it big as Thor before either of these films were released, even though they were ostensibly the reason he got to play the Marvel god in the first place (along with that four minutes of Star Trek, filmed around the same time as the delayed movies).

Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t share my name-drop heavy story about one Bradley Whitford – In 2017, the wife and I went to Milwaukee to meet Hilary Clinton and get a picture:

I don’t care who you voted for, it was pretty cool

And the interviewer for their staged Q&A was none other than Brad Whitford. We didn’t know this ahead of time, though, so while we were standing in the very lengthy line to get the above picture taken, he arrived backstage to get ready for the show. So unexpected was his appearance, and fairly quick and subtle too, that few noticed him – but I did. I made eye contact with him, pointed, and half-chuckled in acknowledgement “Oh, hey.” He smiled, nodded, and disappeared.

That’s my Bradley Whitford story. Maybe we’ll make a video that better explains my bizarre reaction.

The Cabin in the Woods was nominated or won a bunch of random horror film awards, because they do that sort of thing nowadays, including what I didn’t know existed until this minute – Best Film from the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards – Rondo Hatton being a name I know from his appearance as the Hoxton Creeper in the excellent Rathbone/Bruce Sherlock Holmes film The Pearl of Death. I can’t top that with any made-up hokey award!

He had quite the horror villain face, but I’m sure he was a sweet guy

Sigourney Weaver joins the Two-Timers list with another late-in-the-film cameo, following her similar work in #352’s Be Kind Rewind. And yes, the Two-Timers club is getting wildly crowded, as Sigourney is now the 147th member. Might be time to retire this thing, focus on Three- and Four- (and Five-?) Timers. Maybe!

She presents some tough choices in this film

Coming tomorrow! This is the voice you have learned to fear. Again, we bring you disaster: crushing, humiliating disaster –

3 Comments

Filed under Movies

3 responses to “The Set of 400: #292 – My Favorite Merman

  1. shortgirlnation

    I enjoyed the heck out of this movie and had kind of forgotten about it. Not being a huge horror fan myself, I was happy to see that it was something more interesting and unconventional. Women be crazy.

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