You just saw Cabin in the Woods and your mind has been sufficiently blown. Where to go now? Horror movies, at their best, are no more than a dude/monster/ghost ripping into people, with gore and blood everywhere. But what about the ones that transcend the horror genre? The ones that are scary, but also funny and have a unique point of view? Along with a dude/monster/ghost ripping into people, here are a few more horror movies that go above and beyond.
It’s not a movie, per se, but it includes a movie that Cabin in the Woods writer Joss Whedon has mostly disowned. Yes, between the original movie, and the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, you can see many of the Cabin in the Woods themes popping up. Ancient hell demons? Meet Wolfram and Hart from Angel. Covert group capturing monsters? Meet the Initiative from season four of Buffy. Quips? Oh, there are quips.
The Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2
These are two movies about, well, a cabin in the woods. In both movies, a group of friends find a weird book in the cabin that unleashes a horde of zombies and undead magical nasties that come after them. Sound familiar? The Evil Dead plays the story straight. Kids go into the woods, almost everyone dies a gruesome death. Evil Dead 2, on the other hand, is the same exact set-up from the first movie, except everything is played as a comedy. The movie climaxes in a battle with a possessed dismembered hand. It’s a film that rewards repeat viewings.
Cabin in the Woods’ second half took some inspiration from this low-budget Canadian classic. In Cube, the characters find themselves in cube-shaped rooms with doors on all six walls connected to other rooms. The twist? Many of these rooms contain booby-traps. In Cube, the characters work together to find their way out. Thankfully, no attempt is made to explain how the cube was made, why the people are there, or who even put them there.
Before Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson made horror movies. Dead Alive is his intestines-filled love letter to the zombie genre. Widely regarded as the goriest movie ever made, Dead Alive focuses on an outbreak in a town after someone is bitten by a Sumatran Rat-Monkey. Predictably, everyone dies, lawnmowers are converted into zombie maiming machines, and laughs are had by all.
Yes, the Scream franchise has exhausted itself over the last fifteen years, pouring out three sequels to diminishing returns. However, the original perfectly set out the meta-horror movie rulebook that even Cabin in the Woods references, with their set-up of a jock, a bimbo, a fool, a nerd, and a virgin that must be killed.
Cabin in the Woods was more than Joss Whedon. The film’s co-writer and director was Drew Goddard. Goddard’s previous movie was Cloverfield, a first-person love letter to the Godzilla style monster movie. Make sure you take a Dramamine before you watch it, though: you may get motion sickness.
One of the thing that sets Cabin in the Woods apart is its commitment to awesome monsters. No movie in the last ten years has had as amazing a set of monsters as Pan’s Labyrinth. Pan was even referenced in Cabin, as one of its monsters was defeated in Spain.
In Cabin, the Japanese were always the ones the ancient hell demons could depend on. The reason was their ability in using little girls with wet hair in terrifying ways. Of course in Cabin, a class of adorable schoolchildren turns the ghost girl into a frog. In the Ring, things turn out much worse.
What's your favorite genre-bending horror movie?