Of Tradition And Obligation

Did you know I have published two books of my comics containing NEW COMMENTARY for absolutely every comic, embarrassing stuff I drew in middle school and high school, and LOTS more extras that have never been published online? Well, I did and I’m really proud of them and they have funny names and I think you should buy them.

First things first: The Cabin The Woods is really good. I mean REALLY good. It’s original and exciting and fun, and funny and SO VERY Whedony. The smart dialog is there, the heartbreak is there (in spades), as are the characters that you either love immediately, hate immediately, love to hate immediately or can’t wait to see get eaten by something terrible. At it’s core it is a horror movie, but in a world of Saws and Hostels and torture porn films that only exists to up the gore on their previous installment, The Cabin In The Woods takes the genre and turns it back into an actual genre of film making. It isn’t just a series of stabbings strung loosely together with nameless knife fodder characters. It builds a world, sucks you in and tells a real story. Also it’s hilarious. So funny that it could almost be classified a comedy before a horror film. Almost.

Every review or tweet I see regarding Cabin seems to emphasize, “GO SEE IT BEFORE SOMEONE SPOILS THE CRAZY TWIST!” I feel like that only applies to the average movie goer. A Whedon fan, sci-fi junky or geek aficionado should have the “surprise” figured out mere minutes into the movie. I actually pegged it during the opening credits. That isn’t to say it isn’t a fantastic premise or even that it’s well trodden ground. On the contrary. I just don’t believe there was a “I NEVER SAW THAT COMING!!!” moment, especially if you are already immersed in genre fiction. With that in mind, I can honestly say that no horror movie has ever taken this particular angle in terms of what the “big bad” actually is. Like I said, Cabin is original and refreshing and 100% worth your time and dollars.

I almost felt it was too meta to do a comic about a “Save Cabin In The Woods” campaign, since the film was actually shot in 2009 and sat on the shelf for 3 years. There was a time when it would have likely never seen the light of day. I am certain that Chris Hemsworth and Joss Whedon’s recently rising stars have more than a bit to do with it finally getting released. I imagine some studio exec looked at it like an investment portfolio that had suddenly matured. Odd that both Whedon and Hemsworth are now legitimized by the same franchise, if not the same movie.

I hesitate to say we’ve reached a point where our Whedon no longer needs us to save him. I would like nothing more, but I think the knee jerk reaction to get up in arms over his projects being treated unfairly by Hollywood will be with me for years to come. It’s probably a good thing I don’t know him personally, because I have a feeling I would cause a scene if we were at Taco Bell together and he asked for a chilli cheese burrito and got a regular bean burrito instead. He’d be all, “It’s not a big deal. They have basically the same ingredients in a different configuration.” And I’d be crying havoc and letting slip the dogs of war at a $6 an hour taco-teen with a caulk gun full of sour cream. What do you do when the guy whose back you have made it a habit of having, no longer needs your unwavering devotion? I’m sure there are others out there that need our collective complaining power on their side. Maybe we geeks should just adopt the slogan: “SAVE WHATEVER SCI-FI SHOW IS ABOUT TO BE CANCELLED!” 

I am going to be at Calgary Expo this coming weekend with Blind Ferret at booths 925/1025! The whole cast of Star Trek: TNG is going to be there as well, but you are probably more excited about seeing me or whatever. Right? RIGHT?! Well, you know who AIN’T gonna be there? Lieutenant Barkley. Fuck that noise, Space Admiral Dickhole. Broccoli or GTFO. MORE INFO HERE.

HijiNKS ENSUE At Calgary Expo 2012

COMMENTERS: Feel free to give your SPOILER FREE impression of The Cabin In The Woods. NO SPOILERS AT ALL PLEASE. 

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  1. Not seen Cabin yet, hoping to go see it tonight on 241 cinema ticket night.

    How’s about a Save Community campaign – that show is far too good for some executive somewhere to not suddenly decide to cancel it. Fox will suddenly buy it and then sacrifice it on their dark altar to Rupert Murdoch so he can live for another thousand years.

  2. I just saw it a few days ago. It was hands down the best movie I have seen in a long time (Although PLEASE see Bobcat Goldthwait's God Bless America. It is a fabulous movie, that is second only to Cabin in the Woods!) I couldn't stop laughing, and there were many points where my husband and I were the only people laughing and it was at some pretty inappropriate moments. I started to wonder if there is something wrong with us, but it just kept getting better.

    Now, as the general public, are we allowed to dare you/beg you to make a t-shirt? Cause I would love to see you make some sort of super clever "Save All Things Whedon (Even Though He's Doing Alright Now)" shirt slogan , in your usual brilliant vein. Can I pre-pay for one of those?

    • I like the idea of a shirt that says

      "SAVE [insert endangered Joss Whedon Project] NOW!" but I wonder if the time for those types of jokes have passed?

      Maybe something more generic like the quote from the end of the blog post would work better.

  3. Hey, I just wanted to let you know that on the main site for the comic there's an ad with sound… Lots of sound. It won't stop.
    I seriously love your comic and have probably screwed myself over by buying more shirts from you than will fit in my entire dresser (this is a true statement) and will continue to support this amazing comic of pure supreme fantastic, but did you okay the sound thing? If so, thank you for giving my cat the opportunity to be so surprised by the sudden noise from the ad that she turned and jumped (at the same time) off of my lap, leaving me bleeding legs of blood to clean up.
    Maybe I can send it to fox…
    Two birds with one stone?

    I'm so sorry for complaining/even bringing this up *hides in shame corner*

    • Everyone sees different ads depending on their browsing/search history and I don't choose any of them by hand. if I know the offending at, the position it ran in and the network it came from I can usually block it. Sorry for the annoyance. It was not intensional.

        • I have multiple tabs open with HE opened in all twelve of them. I support you, friend! Despite my lack of money!

          • I appreciate the effort but ads work on IP's not tabs. You can never be more than one person in the eyes of the great Google.

            • Crap. Borrow all the friends computers! Or…. I could proxy each tab with a different IP…. Would that work?

      • You need to be a responsible ABP user. I don't run a whitelist, I just blacklist the particularly egregious ones (gawker, rockpapershotgun, the escapist, any mainstream news site).

        Also, have you ever actually looked at the ads here? They're often quite relevant to my interests. I currently have an ad for Australia Post Business Services (ok not great), geology jobs (very relevant) and a donor ad for Medicine Sans Frontiers. brb clicking all of them.

  4. Fools! Don't you see? Joss Whedon and his ilk are lords of chaos, a threat beyond imagining, and it is corporations that stifle their creativity, such as Fox and EA, that are the bulwark against their madness.

    Oh sure, it may seem innocent for their kind to deconstruct a few cliches and tropes in movies, games, and books, but what do you think will happen when those ideas take root within the hearts and minds of the general populous?

    You think people will stop their newly found desire for critical analysis with entertainment? No, they'll begin thinking critically about politics, the economy, morality, ethics, and their everyday life. Then they'll see the cliches, prejudices, and stereotypes that pervades all of human society and all of human life. Then they will seek to deconstruct all that, and there will be anarchy, rebellion, and revolution. But even that will not be the end.

    People will continue to look deeper and examine the very laws of reality. They will realize the predictability of the forces that govern the universe. Everyone will start studying quantum mechanics, the real kind with math and science, not the New Agey BS with crystals and magnets. And the very walls of creations will come tumbling down around us.

  5. Cabin in the Woods hasn't opened here yet, but having said that, I went and saw The Avengers today and it was as testicle-implodingly awesome as I expected. While we have it here already in Future Land™ (Australia) I understand that it won't be open over there for another week yet.

    My solution for you is cryo-stasis of some sort, or perhaps drinking so many Mike's Hard Lemonades that you lapse into a booze-coma. Just make sure you don't over do it (those things are pretty tasty). My point here is that anything you're doing that isn't seeing The Avengers is the wrong choice.

  6. really? it was THAT good?

    Honestly, based on the commercials I had no interest in it at all. it looked like just another "teens go to cabin in woods, encounter unspeakable evil, get killed off" movie. I never even gave it a second thought, and wasn't even aware it was a Whedon project.

    Sounds like yet again you've steered me towards a quality geek product that I would have otherwise missed Joel.
    Hijinks Ensue; entertaining and educating the internet geek community since May 11, 2007 (the date of first comic, yes I checked)

  7. Cabin is a horror film living inside a Comedy – I've said it before and i'll say it again – Whedon = God

  8. NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!
    Our chief weapon is surprise…surprise and fear…fear and surprise….
    Our two weapons are fear and surprise…and ruthless efficiency….
    Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency…and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope….
    Our *four*…no… *Amongst* our weapons…. Amongst our weaponry…are such elements as fear, surprise…. I'll come in again ……

  9. I find it very interesting that Whedon has said Bradley Whitford and the other older guy represent Whedon and the other writer in the movie. Which makes _____ into the audience.

  10. joel what would you do if you and mr whedon were in a car (he's driving) and some douche on a cell phone, cut him off?

  11. I wasn't sure I would like Cabin, since I can't stand to watch horror films. But knowing it was a Whedon project, and having wanted to see it since I got my first "Cabin in the Woods" poster when I was out in LA in 2009… I felt compelled to see it.

    My opinion could easily be tainted by the fact that I don't love horror, or that I'm immune to Whedon-ness from over-exposure to it.

    Crucify me if you must, but I don't think it was as mindblowingly spectacular as everyone had been making it out to be on the twooterds beforehand. Don't get me wrong – Whedon-y touches (in plot and dialog) were evident and WELL appreciated, and that part I enjoyed. And I can't really say I've ever genuinely laughed at a horror film before, so it's got that going for it. But yeah – I didn't see a big twist in the movie (like Joel, I had it from the opening credits). Even the extremely Whedon-y ending wasn't a surprise to me, because, you know, Whedon. The reaver was a nice touch, though. Just sayin'.

    It was a good but not great movie in my book. A "yeah, see it in a theater if you can pay matinee price for it" kind of movie. I didn't hate it, there were parts of it I loved, and parts of it I couldn't even watch (because of the horror factor).

  12. Oh, Josh you delightfully paranoid bastard. You guys shouldn't worry about Whedon being the underdog, now that he's got 2 hit movies out this year! But he stiil needs your support to stay in the limelight & to get the word out. It's your duty as Whedonites! As for Cabin spoilers, I won't do it, because I'm still on the fence about it, but this guy did: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/col
    On a related note, did you guys watch FOX's 25th Anniversary Special? They showed clips from the many MANY sci-fi shows, including Firefly, sort-of-but-not-really apologizing for cancelling them, AFTER showing the clips of the "reality" shows that were greenlit in their wake.

  13. I dragged the wife out to see Cabin on Sunday. She didn't really like it. I thought it was pretty great. Definitely worth my dollars.

    Has anyone watched "Breaking In" on Fox? There were 6 episodes last year, I believe it was a mid-season show. I thought it looked mildly interesting and decided to give it a look. I was very pleasantly surprised. The characters were great, the writing was solid, and I really enjoyed it. It was a perfect role for Christian Slater as this narcisitic, godlike character and Michael Rosenbaum was freaking hilarious as the dumb redneck. I was a little bummed when it got canned with just those 6 episodes, but it's Fox, so I was kind of expecting it.

    • I was pleasantly surprised to see they decided to bring it back again this year … until I started watching it. It's like they killed all of the cast and the writers, reanimated their corpses, and have tried to pass it off as the same show. It's actually painful to watch. They took every cool part about the show and reversed it. They added horribly, annoying new characters, the writing is childish and ignores continuity, and they made it into a cheesey drama that tries to be funny instead of an actual situation comedy. I hate Fox!

  14. "What do you do when the guy whose back you have made it a habit of having, no longer needs your unwavering devotion? I’m sure there are others out there that need our collective complaining power on their side. Maybe we geeks should just adopt the slogan: “SAVE WHATEVER SCI-FI SHOW IS ABOUT TO BE CANCELLED!” "

    Joel, the problem with the other sci-fi out there getting cancelled is, the majority of it kind of sucks. That's why The Whedon deserves our devotion and fanatical defense of his work – he's (one of) the only one(s) out there making really quality sci-fi/horror/action/humor-tainment worthy of my bood-thirsty protection/vengeance. That, and the majority of stuff on HBO. I would also defend GoT with my life's blood.

  15. What we really need is a hastily assembled, rabidly devoted "Can't Stop the Eureka" campaign… poor Eureka…

  16. I'm afraid we do need the "SAVE [insert endangered Joss Whedon Project] NOW!", because Australian & New Zealand fans are getting shafted by the local distributor of The Cabin in the Woods.

    Apparently we fans in the general location are meant to be satiated be a sooner than expected DVD release.

    I've waited FOUR YEARS for the Cabin in the Woods to made and released and not seeing it on the biggest screen possible just feels wrong. My Heart is RAGE Filled Pineapple.

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