For our first foray in the world of blood, guts, frights, and freaks, we're taking a look at Cabin in the Woods. Simply put -- I love this movie. When the wife and I went and saw it in the theater this past summer, I managed to avoid any and all spoilers regarding the movie. I had heard it was a fresh take on the horror genre, Joss Whedon did some weird and inventive shit, and that was all I needed to know. That being said, it has to get spoilery as hell to discuss the movie, so you might want to wander off, rent / buy it, watch it, and then come back if you're going to continue reading. The whole conceit of Cabin in the Woods -- that there is a hidden cabal behind everything, and that horror movies are actually the enactment of ancient rituals to please the Old Ones -- is pretty clever. You can tie it into Behind the Mask, which exists in a world where all the slasher killers are real entities, but especially something like Wes Craven's New Nightmare, wherein movies are a reflection of a real thing buried deep within our past, and that when said flicks unreel, they're like a prayer wheel or mandala. The construction and viewing and use of these "scared objects" fulfills an ancient need. It's a great idea, and wonderful concept around which to base a movie that primarily exists to show some female flesh, get bloody as hell, and scare the ever-loving fuck out of you. It's a shock scare movie -- Cabin in the Woods doesn't exist on a plain of outright unease until the elevator descends, and you get a sense of what could have been. In a perfect world, we'd get some sort of prequel, wherein the whole backstory of the corporation is explained, and showing the other facets of the story (if there's this J-horror aspect hinted at, what does the Italian branch look like?). Matt over at Dinosaur Dracula wrote a loving homage to the film, and especially its final twenty minutes, which is really the pay-off for the average horror fan. If you watch the bonus features, one of the creature makers talks about how he needs to rewatch the film with all of the main action oscured, and just pay attention to the monitors. I am totally doing this at some point. The innumerable homages to such films as Chopping Mall (killer robot), Hellraiser (Cenobite), and on and on and on ... it's really just an excuse for horror fans to watch and go "Oooh! Is that...?" for an hour and a half. Granted, if you're not a horror nerd, it probably just seems weird and fun, but for hardcore fans of the genre, this is brilliance.