Cabin In The Woods
While walking into the theater to see this movie, a teenager dropped a $1 bill in front of me and kept walking. I picked it up and actually had to almost run to catch up to him to give it back to him. Instead of a thanks and maybe a cool fist bump (I don’t know what the hell they do now) I got a nod and a weird look as he walked away. Why are you now privy to this information? I will tell you in a minute. . . It is impossible to review this movie, so I am not. To give away any of the mystery of this movie would ruin your experience of the insane ride you are about to go on. What I do want to talk about is what this movie made me feel like. It made me feel like 17 year old Brass Monkey again. Why 17? That’s when Scream came out.
I spent most of my younger years absorbing and seeking out any horror movie I could find. Freddy, Jason, Michael, Pinhead, Leatherface, zombies, werewolves, vampires – whatever I could find. My wife does not understand this, but horror movies are for the most part the only movies that I find deeper meanings or commentary on life, religion, politics and society. But to be fair, every nursery rhyme you tell your children or most fairy tales are straight horror movies. It’s not my fault I paid attention as a child. Chopping off the wolf’s head, boiling the witch, being separated from your parents, evil step-parents, family members being murdered and avenged, held prisoner in a tower – keep kidding yourself that those stories are wholesome.
But you tell your kids these stories to get the moral point across. To teach them a moral lesson. To illustrate what happens when you stray from the path, when you don’t follow instructions, when you don’t keep your word. Now I just like my stories told on projectors and instead of not listening or breaking a promise or following instructions, you get punished for being a slut, druggie, jock, douche bag or creep. Same thing. But not my point.
By 17 I had seen it all, and it was getting repetitive. I can tell you how a movie is going to end in the first 15 minutes. People were starting to make horror movies just to make gore. But then Scream came out and shattered my little monkey mind. It completely dismantled the horror genre I loved so much, and blew the doors wide open. It felt (at the time) like this genius masterpiece of meta commentary. I couldn’t get enough. It justified my love of horror. It started a new movement in horror, that over time you would find out was horribly self referential and aware. Because Scream opened that partition between Dorothy and Oz, it kind of took the fun out of it for a while. Scream was brilliant, but what eventually hurt was the realization that being in on the scares wasn’t as much fun as being scared. Having characters tell you what was going to happen because they are so witty and sarcastic really just started to suck.
Now back to that ungrateful prick I gave his dollar back to. When I was younger I totally bought into the whole myths and legends and origins of these stories. I loved scaring myself. There was a time, and even a little bit today, that when I go into a dark basement and can barely make out the furnace off in the distance, where Freddy comes creeping back into my mind and I have to hurry and either turn on the lights or go back upstairs and forget what I went down to grab. It’s awesome. We used to sit around and wonder what it would be like if Michael and Jason showed up together. And if they did, how we would beat them. It was, not to sound ghey, magical. And the discussions after the movies were always held well into the night. A girl might watch some romantic show and be like ‘I hope a rich guy marries me’. We would watch Night of the Living Dead and get sucked into discussions about racism, society and stereotypes.
So this kid that I should have accidentally tripped after giving his dollar back, that was me 17 years ago. I knew it all, thought I was cooler than I really was, didn’t need some old guy helping me out. I was in on the joke, I knew so much I was better than 90% of the people in the theater. That was 17 year old Brass. The one who looked down at his little sister in pity while she talked about the Tooth Fairy because she was too stupid to know better.
After watching Cabin In The Woods, I feel like the 11 year old Brass that was totally caught up in the magic of it all. I miss believing in the Tooth Fairy. Those are fantastic times to live through as a kid. You are going to hear that this movie reconstructs what Scream deconstructed in the horror genre. I think that is wrong. What it did for me, was remind me why these movies matter. Why these movies are a steam release valve for the youth. There is a reason horror movies are some of the most profitable out there and have the most to say about society.
The writer and director of this movie said it was their ‘loving hate letter to horror movies’ and that is spot on. After sitting through this movie all I want to do is go catch up with the scary movies from decades past. To go catch back up with why they were so trans formative. These types of movies do serve a purpose. After you watch Cabin we can talk about it. Like I said I don’t want to spoil anything for you. But it feels awesome to be caught back up in the mystery of a movie and not being able to stop thinking about it.