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Exclusive: Drew Goddard Reveals The 5 Films That Influenced 'The Cabin In The Woods'

Interviews
by Benjamin Wright
September 18, 2012 11:59 AM
3 Comments
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“Big Trouble In Little China”
Goddard doesn’t stray far from his love of Carpenter with his choice of “Big Trouble in Little China,” especially the look of the film, for which he mentions that the aesthetic Carpenter helped create with noted “Jurassic Park” and “Back to the Future” cinematographer Dean Cundey is “engraved on his DNA.” Goddard reasons that his choice of “Big Trouble in Little China” involves “again, color palette, and this I didn’t realize until after I had shot ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ – I went and saw John Carpenter introduce ‘Big Trouble In Little China’ on film here in Los Angeles, because it’s one of my favorite films of all-time – when I watched it I was I was like ‘Oh my God, I totally just stole his color palette.’ All I did was make it look exactly like “Big Trouble in Little China,” because again, it’s another film I think is beautiful.”

Looks aren’t everything, though, and Goddard mentions that both Kurt Russell’s legendary performance as Jack Burton and Carpenter’s sensibilities played a part in 'Cabin,' noting that, “The thing that’s wonderful, that I love about 'Big Trouble,' is that Kurt Russell is so good at doing nothing heroic through the whole movie. It’s sort of playing with convention, and playing with genre convention-- I remember specifically watching 'Big Trouble' the first time around and thinking, ‘Oh my God, he’s doing something different here, he’s actually taking on expectations and subverting them.’ And it was crucial to keep that spirit alive and well doing ‘Cabin in the Woods.’ ”

“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”
While Goddard notes that the imprints of films such as “Alien” and “The Evil Dead” are clear throughout the film, he admits “another left-field one” is 1969’s “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” – a film that’s played a key role in influencing many generations of filmmakers across various genres. But Goddard explains that his crew was a bit puzzled by his insistence that they watch it at first. “I had Fran [Kranz] and Kristen [Connolly] watch it specifically, because neither of them had seen it, and I didn’t tell them why I wanted them to watch it, and they told me ‘Honestly for three-fourths of watching it, we had no idea why the hell you were making us watch the film.’ ”

Though for anyone who sat in the movie theater in awe as the world crumbled to the ground at the end of 'Cabin,' leaving survivor girl Dana (Connolly) and stoner conspiracy theorist Marty (Kranz) smoking a joint as the world met its end at the hands of a God (literally), you’d probably agree with Goddard when he states, “Then you get to the ending, and you realize, ‘This is what the ending of ‘Cabin’ is.’ It’s two characters, against all odds, making jokes with each other, and seeing the rapport between the two of them even in the face of insurmountable odds. I always loved that ending. I always thought ‘This is great, what a perfect way to get out,’ and I wanted to capture some of that spirit with the ending of ‘Cabin.’ ”

While the ending seems pretty definitive in our eyes, there have been some rumblings of sequels/prequels to the film, but Goddard insists, “I’d love to return if there was a way to do it, but I’m not sure it’s going to be worth it – we’ll see.” As for his next directorial outing, he claims that he’s, “sort of writing my next project, but reading scripts out there to see if anything sparks, because you never know where inspiration is going to strike,” and kept tight lips as to what exactly he’s currently writing. Hailing from the J.J. Abrams school of secrecy, Goddard also remains pretty mum on the recent talk of him taking over a “Daredevil” movie – especially now that Whedon has the reins of the Marvel projects – saying that “there really isn’t a Marvel character I wouldn’t like to tackle.”

Speaking of Abrams, Goddard jokingly blames his being wrapped up in post-production duties on “Star Trek Into Darkness” for keeping him and director Matt Reeves from settling into any talks regarding a sequel to "Cloverfield," the film that helped make his name in features back in 2008, but we get the feeling it’s an idea they all have sort of grown cold on. He also claimed to be “naïve” regarding the publicity surrounding his rewrites on the troubled, Marc Forster-helmed “World War Z” over at Paramount, stating that he didn’t really know there was bad buzz surrounding the project until he started talking to film journalists. Mostly, Goddard seems pretty content to quietly work on his upcoming projects – which include co-writing director Steven Spielberg’s 2014 blockbuster “Robopocalypse.” But most importantly, we have “The Cabin in the Woods” now, and we’re pretty sure that’s reason enough to celebrate for the time being, as many repeat viewings and dissections of the film are certainly in order now that it's available to watch at home.

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3 Comments

  • Ingrid | September 19, 2012 6:48 PMReply

    What about "There's Nothing Out There" dir by Rolfe Kanfesky? It's the direct ancestor of any self-aware horror movie.

  • Cribbster | September 18, 2012 12:24 PMReply

    Good article. But I've got a slight quibble with Godard's take on "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." The two characters in "Cabin" know they're going to die. They accept it, as he says. But Butch and Sundance don't really think they're going to die. That's a big part of the tragedy and dramatic weight of that movie's ending. Even as they run back out into the square, guns blazing, they still think they've got a chance to survive. They had no idea an entire army – practically – was assembled outside with their guns trained on them. But, yes, the joking between the characters is similar.

  • Fred | September 18, 2012 1:32 PM

    In 43 years, that's the first time I remember hearing that suggested about Butch and Sundance. I (and most others) have always felt that the characters were already wounded, knowing they were outnumbered and just talking a good game until the end, which they chose to play out on their own terms. That's why it gave off a semi-happy ending vibe (along with the iconic freeze frame) that helped pull audiences in droves during it's initial and 1973 releases. However, Cribbster has given food for thought, and I always admittedly found the ending tragic/dramatic in rebuttal to all those who thought otherwise. A relook is in order...

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