Deal with the Cabin
I saw The Cabin in the Woods, and as promised, I’m back here to write a little bit about it. If you haven’t seen it and you are a horror writer, go out and see it now.
Spoiler Warning for The Cabin in the Woods!
Now, many will be analyzing this film and looking at how it highlights many of the sins horror movies have committed over the years, so I’m just going to look at how The Cabin in the Woods relates to my own horror novel, The Forgiving.
First off, they have huge similarities. Both are about people being brought to a classic horror house. Mine is a haunted house and Cabin’s is the classic cabin in the woods. Both stories subvert expectations, and end up focusing on a sacrifice to a deity. Add in a few snakes, and the beginning credit sequence could have been to the movie version of my novel.
Most of the similarities end there. The Cabin in the Woods has a very Meta tone that directly criticizes horror movies (and thus horror fiction inspired by those movies). I try not to do the things that Cabin criticizes (such as disposable archetypal characters, punishing youth for sex and hedonism, manipulating the characters in unrealistic ways), but it’s not the focus of the novel. When I’m finished, I would like to think of my novel as a post Cabin novel. The old slasher tropes need to be buried. The Cabin in the Woods shows you why.
The weakness and strength of The Cabin in the Woods is that it is less focused on being scary and more focused on satire and fun. It seems to be saying, if you want straight up horror, you need to deal with the Cabin first. I’m dealing with the Cabin, if you write horror, so should you.