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

The Playlist By Benjamin Wright | The Playlist September 18, 2012 at 11:59AM

We here at The Playlist haven't been shy about our appreciation for writer-director Drew Goddard’s marvelously subversive entry into the horror genre, “The Cabin in the Woods,” with members of our staff doling out high praise after catching the film’s debut at SXSW in March, and eventually giving it a spot on our Best Films of 2012…So Far list over the summer. The film tells your standard tale of a bunch of horny, college-aged kids heading into the woods for a weekend getaway complete with nudity and keg stands, only to find out true terror awaits.
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Big Trouble In Little China
“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
“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.

This article is related to: Cabin In The Woods, Drew Goddard, Interviews


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