Cabin in the Woods

Cabin in the Woods Acker

The Final Girl was a pretty great evolution for horror movies. Instead of endless heaps of screaming ladies falling victim to supernatural and human evils, some would rise above, running out the front door rather than up the stairs, finding a way to fight back rather than just blow the audience’s ear drums with blood-curdling screams. But the Final Girl was just that – a girl. One solitary girl might live so that the evil had someone to fight with in future, franchised battles. The down side to having a Final Girl was that only one would persevere while many more perished – victims who were often just as capable (if not smarter, or at least more charismatic) than the ones who would live. To make the victims into Final Girls might not always make narrative sense – and indeed, can change the entire outcome of a film – but it’s still fun to imagine the alternative, especially on Halloween.

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Stay Tuned

It’s not often that movies find themselves double-covered for Junkfood Cinema, but that’s largely because we reserve double-coverage for our fudge-dipped Oreos…that we then dip in fudge…and then in rainbow cake frosting. Triple-double-covered Oreos notwithstanding, there are certain titles, such as 1992’s Stay Tuned, whose importance to the medium of film cannot be adequately communicated with just one paltry article. Or just one poultry article for that matter, so prepare your palates for a second helping of those delicious Chicken Corn (f)Ritters. Peter Hyams’ hellevision meta comedy may seem at arms length with contemporary audiences, but in fact it has a great deal in common with a recent meta horror film. You know, like even more than the word meta. It took a recent screening of a 35mm print to finally cement it, but Stay Tuned and The Cabin in the Woods boast some bizarre similarities. That’s not to say Cabin writers Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard borrowed from Stay Tuned, nor am I even suggesting that they’ve seen Stay Tuned, but at the very least the two movies are kindred enough as to belong on the same channel.

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You read the headline correctly. The number of horror classics that could be remade outnumbers the number that shouldn’t be. I’ve bought into it. I’ve seen enough good examples of remakes done well to no longer balk at the announcement of a new one outright (and I’m sure 5 more will be green-lit by the time I’ve finished typ…okay 5 more just got green-lit…); and if early word on the new Evil Dead picture is to be believed then it’s just one more punctured notch into the human-skinned belt of worthwhile horror remakes. No horror picture is safe from being resuscitated and put back through a brand new shiny meat grinder. Sometimes we get unexpectedly tasty ground sirloin; and sometimes we get mildewy grotesqueness reminiscent of “The Stuff” (which could use a remake). Talented filmmakers will make a good picture while talented accountants will make money. Sometimes both can be satisfied, and that readily occurs in the production of a horror remake because they’re cheap to make, easy to sell, and fun to play around with. They’re the pancakes of the film industry. Almost any horror picture is capable of being remade well given the right kind of people with the right kind of attitude. While it feels like everything’s already been remade, there are still a few stragglers that haven’t. Here are 5 that shouldn’t and 10 where an update might not be so bad.

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Continuing a yearly tradition that began at the defunct movie blog Spout, this is my 5th annual list of mostly original yet highly unlikely Halloween costume ideas. You can take any of these suggestions if you want, especially if you want to avoid having the same outfit as another person at the party you attend, and particularly if you want something that needs a lot of explanation — these tend to be good conversation starters for people looking for excuses to hit on you. Mostly, though, the following ideas are not to be taken too seriously. Some are really just stupid jokes. But they’re primarily intended to visually remind us of some of the trends, criticisms, immediate icons and zeitgeist of the past year in film. For instance, last year‘s “Forrest Gump wearing an X-Men uniform” costume illustrated 2011’s penchant for Gump-like revisionist history in blockbuster movies. And back in 2008, there was a costume called “Nuke the Fridge.” Sadly, in looking over 2012 for this year’s ideas, I realized that it’s been a very weak year for movie references worth calling back. Where are this year’s “nuke the fridge,” Antichrist fox, “Why cookie Rocket?” and “Winklevi”? Before too long, I might need to spin-off a TV version of this tradition to make it easier on me and more interesting to readers. Because we all know film culture is dead anyway, right?  

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Joss Whedon

No matter how big he wins, he will always be our underdog. Joss Whedon, the writer who cut his teeth on Roseanne and started cult phenomenons like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, seems perennially boned over by The Man who secretly placed a glass ceiling on his mainstream success. That is, until he Hulk smashed through it this summer. For some, it may seem strange to check out filmmaking thoughts from Whedon, since he’s only directed three feature films (one of which has only been at festivals so far), but his success rate across mediums is unreal and his particular talent peerless. Serenity was and is a fan factory while The Avengers found the impossible sweet spot that satisfied fans and the financiers. Not to mention his screenwriting career and Oscar nomination. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from Joss the Boss. Maybe we’ll learn who actually calls him that.

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Dredd Concept Art

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly news column that doesn’t always have something to say. But when it does, the geeks of the world listen. We begin this evening with some great DREDD concept art found by the folks at Comic Book Movie, picked up via Germain Lussier’s ever-excellent Superhero Bits column. The excitement I have for this, one of Fantastic Fest’s big name films, has gone through the roof as more reactions come in, including that of our own Nathan Adams at TIFF.

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What is Movie News After Dark? Who even knows anymore… We begin this evening with something strange, a shot of Johnny Depp in full Tonto make-up on the set of The Lone Ranger, meeting with leaders of the Navajo nation. I wonder if they have any problem with the fact that Johnny Depp is exactly 0% Navajo. Nope: “We are honored the movie The Lone Ranger is being filmed here on the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Nation has beautiful landscape and we are glad it is being shared through filmmaking.” 

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Culture Warrior

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Cabin in the Woods Carol J. Clover‘s 1992 book Men, Women, and Chainsaws was one of the rare academic books to become a hit amongst a larger, dedicated movie-going public. The book introduced the term “final girl” (the virginal “good” female who often becomes the final victim or lone survivor at during the final act of a horror film) into the zeitgeist, and it’s an idea that seems so obvious, and is so pervasive throughout the genre, that the fact that a similar term had never been popularized before was simply confounding. It’s also the central organizing conceit to Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods, the most overt act of genre deconstruction to enter multiplexes in quite some time. The final girl does not emerge in Cabin as it does in its normal generic form (as a narrative inevitability, a cliché), but rather Clover’s coined conceptualization of “the final girl” encompassingly structures the film – it is the critique of generic conceit, rather than the routine employment of a generic norm, that acts as Cabin’s narrative impetus.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the sun, the moon and the stars. Wait, I thought there’d be stars… We begin this evening with a blurry, somewhat comprehensible image of Spock (Zachary Quinto) falling in front of a green screen on the set of Star Trek 2. According to Screen Rant’s theory — and a spy report — this could very well be Spock falling into a Volcano on a “jungle planet” as part of a big CGI set piece. I’m for it.

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ActionFest

If you haven’t heard of ActionFest, let this piece stand as your introduction. ActionFest is a young film festival held annually in April in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina celebrating, predictably, the best in badass action cinema. The fest is currently in its third year and is presided over by the likes of Magnolia founder and CEO Bill Banowsky, former Magnolia and current Weinstein Company acquisitions guru Tom Quinn, and Aaron Norris brother of Chuck. Colin Geddes, who programs the prestigious Midnight Madness slate at the Toronto International Film Festival, is in charge of programming and serves as Festival Director. These guys know action films and they’ve put together a scrappy if relatively small fest that’s a ton of of fun to attend. I happened to be in North Carolina in April of last year and decided to come up to Asheville for two days jam-packed with ActionFest films. Upon my return to Austin, I could feel Junkfood Cinema kingpin Brian Salisbury’s seething jealousy. I could literally feel it since we happen to be roommates and he spent time breathing down my neck about going to the next iteration of the fest. This is how I found myself pulling out of our driveway on Wednesday around 11:30pm, Salisbury at my side, a bag full of chips and Red Bull in the backseat and a 20 hour drive across the country ahead of us.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly collection of links and stories from around the world of movies, television and other mixed mediums. It’s a column that has worked hard this week, and would like to be a bit silly on Friday night. Do enjoy. We begin tonight with an image of William Shatner wearing a Proton Pack. The folks at Topless Robot are holding a caption contest for this one. My entry: “Of course I have a Proton. Pack. I’m William. Shatner.”

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If you’ve been rocking back and forth with anticipation for The Raid: Redemption, your wait is almost over. It hits theaters this weekend (alongside another certain highly-anticipated movie), and to whet your appetite, we talk with writer/director Gareth Evans who dissects an action scene for us. Plus, Kate Erbland and Rob Hunter join us for the Movie News Pop Quiz and to share their favorites from SXSW that will be coming to your neck of the woods. Download Episode #126

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly collection of movie news and links that is quickly finding out that even though SXSW isn’t over, there is such a thing as an early SXSW hangover. A pre-hangover hangover, perhaps? We begin this evening with the coolest image of the day. Easily the coolest image of the day, from The Happytime Murders, a noir murder mystery set in a world where puppets are second class citizens. Henson Studios is putting the thing together, and there’s no end to my own personal excitement.

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Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Five young, attractive friends take a weekend trip to a remote cabin deep in the woods, but after a night of partying and a dark discovery in the basement they soon find themselves in a fight for their lives against a nightmarish enemy. As well as you think you know this story, you are wrong. Drew Goddard’s The Cabin In the Woods (co-written by Joss Whedon) takes a stereotypical horror film set-up and does extraordinary things with it. It features more than a few jump scares and creepy scenes, a hefty amount of laughs, and a near-brilliant take on a deceptively common storyline. It’s that last part that serves as the core of the film’s greatness, and instead of being just a simple twist or revelation it opens up a whole new way of seeing the genre. Please note, I’ve avoided true spoilers in the review below. That said, there are some elements that may seem spoilery but actually aren’t. If you’ve seen even a single trailer this is a safe read.

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It’s already the second day of 2012, which means we’ll all be sober within the next day or two. It also means that we can officially start looking (through blurry eyes) ahead to the future. A future of promise and potential. A future of hope. A future of tingling anticipation that the road stretched out in front of us that leads to the cinema will be paved with gold. Will there be piles of excrement along the way? Of course, but we don’t know how many or how badly they’ll tarnish our yellow-bricked roller coaster ride. All we can see from this far out is the shimmering wonder of movies to come – the vast unknown that looks wonderful (and might just live up to the hype). In past years (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011), we’ve gone with a fairly arbitrary count of 20-30 movies. This year, we decided to prove that there were 52 movies worth prematurely celebrating (even though what we found were many more). That’s one for every week (even if there are some weeks with a few and some weeks with none at all). Regardless of the number, Rob Hunter, Neil Miller, Kate Erbland, Allison Loring, Landon Palmer, Brian Salisbury and Cole Abaius have joined forces to remind us all that there are a lot of great movies to hope for this year. Go grab a calendar and pencil in everything that gets your blood pressure up toward unsafe levels. It’s going to be a busy, flick-filled […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? Someone said something nice about it the other day, so it’s feeling sort of full of itself. Luckily this means that there will be more news, more snark and even a few surprises in tonight’s entry! There really is nothing like a self-aware movie news column with a sense of purpose. In addition to the surprisingly dark first trailer, Fox has released some HD concept art for the ineptly titled Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The art is also quite stunning, showing off some large scale scenes. Most interesting is the fact that it hints at a movie that focuses much of its time on the actual ape uprising, rather than the build-up. I’m ready to see humanity swallowed by simian rage. Aren’t you?

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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Coroner

After a pretty dismal 2010 in terms of horror films, I decided to look into my crystal ball and peer into the future. By the future I mean 2011. While gazing deep into my crystal ball laptop monitor, I feel fairly confidant that 2011 will be approximately 78% better in terms of horror than the previous year. Why do I feel more confident in this year’s horror slate? Because in trying to find just 11 titles to bring attention to, I had to whittle it down from sixteen. Why not give you all sixteen? Because it’s 20-eleven, not 20-sixteen, duh. Anyway, here are the 11 horror films to keep on your radar this year.

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EvilDeadBack

Now to see if they’ll play it as a double feature with Spider-Man 4

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we avoid getting hit by a volcano. By. That. Much.

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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