I'm going to talk about a horror movie that really got to me, The Cabin in the Woods. Yeah I know this movie was made in 2012 and has fallen off the radar a bit, but since this is my first article and I love this movie so much...here's my Top 10 List of favorite 'Cabin' monsters!
Spoiler Alert: If you didn't see the movie...what are you waiting for??! Shall we begin?
10. Zombie redneck torture family
The Buckner Family is the "main attraction" during the film. They are a family of pain worshipping rednecks who while living enjoyed torturing themselves, each other, and anyone passing by their cabin. Maintenance Department and Ronald the Intern are notably shown betting on them, winning the jar. The family is awoken when Dana Polk reads the Latin passage in the diary of Patience Buckner. Although the Buckner Family is the main monster shown in the film, they are not a particularly original creation. They are clearly inspired by the Hill People (endemic, anachronic people) from The Hills Have Eyes, Leatherface and his family (ritualistic torture and killing) from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Jason Voorhees (risen from the dead to kill) from the Friday the 13th franchise. Also, their pain-based religion, with noticeable traits of self mutilation, seems to be inspired by the Cenobite cult in the Hellraiser franchise. Other inspiration may be the worshipping zombies who appear in the Siren Game series: both are very similar in appearance, both use knives and other fieldwork objects as weapons, and both torture and kill each other and others they find.
The zombies are first seen briefly in their cubes during the elevator scene. If you look carefully, it appears that numerous cubes contain zombies, indicating that if they were summoned, they would be spawned throughout the cabin area in different places.
Zombies are seen during the beginning of the Purge overwhelming a guard in the first wave then later consuming what was left of the Security force, and later on chasing Dana and Marty after their encounter with the Dragonbat. They can be seen on monitors throughout the purge attacking and eating facility workers who are either crawling away from the zombies in terror or are already dead. A chemical tank most likely summons them. Instead of being inspired or adapted from literature or myth as it were, Zombies are monsters that have their origin in film. George A. Romero created the zombie as the plot device of The Night of the Living Dead, taking a loose inspiration from Voodoo beliefs. Zombies are now considered one of the most common monsters in horror filmmaking history. The specific summoning item may be a reference to The Return of the Living Dead, an unofficial sequel/homage to The Night of the Living Dead, where the plot of the movie is kicked off by the opening of a chemical drum containing a preserved zombie.
Depicted as humanoid figures wearing doll masks and black clothing, The Dolls roughly resemble a family, comprised of an older woman in a corporate suit, an older man in a business suit, a blonde pigtailed girl in a black dress, and a hooded boy. They are cruel and sadistic killers, partial to torture by fire. They are not supernatural in appearance or nature. A mask resembling one worn by one of the monsters is seen in the cellar when Dana first enters it. It may be what summons the monster. The Dolls are seen in the second wave of monsters exiting the elevator during the Purge. They can also be seen in a camera view angle binding and gagging Facility workers together with tape before dousing them in gasoline and setting them on fire. Most likely a reference to the antagonists of The Strangers.
7. The Doctors
The appearance of The Doctors is based on that of normal doctors. They wear white medical scrubs stained with blood and guts. Their eyes are stitched shut and their surgical masks and hats are stitched to their bodies. They are first seen in their glass cube on a computer monitor before Dana Polk releases them during the Purge. The second and last time they are seen is in a quick camera view preparing to perform surgery on a worker who is yelling "Please don't cut!" One of the doctors is seen holding up a bloody scalpel before the camera cuts away. It is possible that surgical equipment summons them. Cinema has a long history of using the "Evil Doctor" trope. Examples include Dr. Jekyll or Dr. Frankenstein. However, the film clearly references more modern examples, such as Dr. Giggles, The Human Centipede, House On Haunted Hill, The Dead Pit, which share the common theme of featuring evil doctors who perform experiments on living people, having little to no supernatural or science fiction elements to them. There is also Professor Pyg from the Batman comics who is the very embodiment of the Evil Doctor/Surgeon.
The film Jacob's Ladder features eyeless doctors who perform mysterious, frightening surgeries as well.
The Doctors could also be a reference to The Gentlemen, supernatural monsters developed for an episode of Joss Weadon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who used magic to make their victims unable to speak and then surgically removed their hearts. Notably, the Accounting Department bets on them. Accountants stereotypically dress in somber business suits, which The Gentlemen also wore.
6. The Scarecrow folk
They are shown as clothed humanoid creatures made out of wood and straw. After the Purge, they are seen assaulting the control room. They are shown attacking Daniel Truman by holding him down on the floor, stabbing him repeatedly. After sometime, they are obliterated by a grenade that Daniel Truman detonated while they were stabbing him which ended up killing every one of them. It is possible that a scarecrow head summons them. Scarecrows are a common antagonist in horror movies; examples include: Night of the Scarecrow, Scarecrows, Husk, Scarecrow Gone Wild, Hollow Ground, The Goosebumps story The Scarecrows Walk At Midnight, The Doctor Who episode, Dark Harvest, The Town that Dreaded Sundown, and Scarecrow from Batman.
The Merman is shown as a half-human, half-fish monster with flabby blue skin, a large mouth full of sharp teeth, long unkempt black hair, and a blowhole on its back. It kills by attacking the victim with its teeth and blowing their blood out of its blowhole. Sitterson comments on this gruesome process, stating that "the cleanup on them is a nightmare." While it can survive on land, it is incredibly slow and bulky and thus only effective at finishing off incapacitated victims. It is summoned by blowing on the Conch Shell in the basement. The Merman is one of the only monsters not shown in its cube cell. Later he does appear during the System Purge, where he finishes off an injured Steve Hadley during the attack on the control room. The Merman is likely inspired by The Creature from The Black Lagoon or the cult classic Frankenfish. It may also have roots in old sailor's tales of mermen, which by their accounts were always ugly, while the mermaids were considered beautiful.
4. Giant Snake
The Giant Snake appears to be a mixture of cobra, rattlesnake and anaconda/python, but substantially larger proportions. It is possible that a snake skin summons it. It is first seen thrashing about in its cube, trying to get out. It is released during the System Purge during the first wave. It wraps its body around one soldier and squeezes him to death while swallowing another soldier whole, all within a matter of moments. The second wave of security guards catches a glimpse of the Giant Snake leaving the elevator area with the Dismemberment Goblins. The snake later eats a man who is flung over a railing by one of the Deadites, catching him in its mouth before he hits the ground. While there have been many examples of "giant monster" snakes in horror films, the most iconic and infamous is the one popularized by the film Anaconda and its sequels. Other films with giant snakes or killer snakes include Python, Mega Snake and Snakes on a Plane to name a few.
Giant snakes also appear in some video games, such as Iluzija from the Resident Evil series. The Giant Snake trope may be based in a common phobia known as ophidiophobia.
This particular Giant Snake may also be a reference to the final form taken by the protagonist in the movie Dreamscape.
3. Hell Lord
Fornicus, Lord of Bondage and Pain, is one of the monsters in the glass rooms. Fornicus is depicted as a cenobite in leather clothing, similar to a Bondage outfit and has circular saw blades embedded in his head. Like other cenobites, he possesses telekinetic powers and has the ability to summon lengths of chain to ensnare and rend his victims into pieces. In the basement, Curt nearly summons Fornicus by tampering with his spherical puzzle orb, similar to the Hellraiser Lemarchand's box. Later, in the glass cubes, Dana sees Fornicus holding the same orb. It was at this point that she realizes that there was an element of choice in which monster would be summoned. Fornicus is released during the second wave of the Purge, and can be seen shortly on the monitor after his release, about to torture two Facility workers chained together upside down. Fornicus is a reference to Pinhead from the Hellraiser franchise, though he has buzzsaws in his head instead of nails.
2. The Clown
He has no unusual physical features, bearing the stereotypical appearance of a clown: poofy red hair, red nose, colorful makeup, and baggy, multi-colored clothes with frilly trim. He dispatches of victims by stabbing them with a long, curved knife while giggling and laughing hysterically. Before the Purge, he is first seen in his glass cube. Later on during the Purge, he is seen mocking Hadley from one of the monitors, later stabbing one employee of the facility in the stomach. The clown is apparently impervious to gunfire, as he is shot by another security guard several times, to no effect. Drew Goddard has said that the fortune teller machine in the basement is used to summon him. The "evil clown" is a classic horror trope which stems from the common real-life fear of clowns, or Coulrophobia, as well as the infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy. Other famous fictional examples include:
- Joker from DC Comics
Killer Klowns from Outer Space
- Pennywise from Stephen King's It
- the Evil Clown Doll from Poltergeist
- Killjoy from the movie of the same name
- Captain Spaulding from Devil's Rejects
And many movies such as Clownhouse, Drive Thru, Funhouse, Amusement, Circus Of Fear, Clown Camp, Jack Attack from Demonic Toys.
Before I show my number one pick let's take a look at some honorable mentions.
Angry Molesting Tree
The werewolf is a creature that is part wolf, part human. The werewolf is the first monster Dana and Marty see in the glass rooms. During the System Purge, the werewolf is in the first wave of monsters where it kills two of the guards, one of them is killed instantly when the werewolf jumps and slashes at him and eats from the other and then howls. Amongst the chaos in the Facility, the Werewolf attacks a worker. Later in the sacrifical room, Dana is attacked by the werewolf, but Marty manages to shoot it, chasing it away. The item in the basement designated for summoning the Werewolf is an amulet. Werewolves are folkloric creatures that appear in many stories and films over the years. Famous film and literature examples include The Wolf Man, An American Werewolf In London, The Howling, and Wolf.
Check out the full scene here and see if you can spot any from the list.
If you have any favorite monsters from this scene that weren't included in this list comment below!