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Conversation: Cabin In the Woods

As previously surmised on this very site, there are probably tens of thousands of alphabet-type books in existence. There are probably a double dozen published each year in the USA. Some past favorites of mine include a Where’s Waldo type hunt in the illustrations, a jazz rhythm primer, and teaching about the natural history of Hawaii.

When a market is saturated with what has been said, eventually you can say something about what has been said before and add to the conversation of what exactly the market has tolerated, what it means, what it says about us as a culture, a society, and the human experience as it is understood in this moment.

Cabin In the Woods put both of these concepts together and gave audiences a commentary on killing teenagers in a movie, stereotype roles, rituals both arcane and corporate, and the most hilarious exchange (”Am I on speakerphone?”) that illuminated the humanity behind the people who typically hold NPC signifier positions. It was not the final word.

Time marches on, seasons change, tastes change, social mores change, more derivative works are added to the total library of human creation; there is always more to be said.

Cabin In the Woods is a horror movie, first and last. Chicka-Chicka Boom Boom (referenced elsewhere on this blog) is an alphabet book. Both take the structure of expectation of their genre, tick the required boxes, and then hang something new on the skeleton of what is needed to succeed.

Horror movies need horror, and they need to say something horrible or reveal a horribleness about us or at least say something in a horrifying way. Alphabet books need to be about the alphabet or at least include the letters in the currently accepted order or acknowledge that there is an order they will proceed to ignore for the good reasons they go on to state in the work itself.

Alphabet book? Needs alphabet.

Horror movie? Needs horror.

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