Saturday, December 26, 2015

Proposed Alternate Ending to "Cabin in the Woods"

For those who don't know the movie, it's a horror movie that is built on the premise that the dread gods of old will wake and destroy the world if real life renditions of horror movies are not played out exactly according to the tropes.

The people trying to get the characters to live and die the tropes are, basically, the film crew, the director is, you know, the director (heavy handed much?) and the old gods who will destroy everything if they don't get what they want are the audience.


In the end it doesn't work out, the final girl is non-final, two people survive in spite of having it explained to them that this will destroy the world, and sure enough the old gods rise.

The problem comes in that the audience isn't demanding that things happen exactly according to the same old formula, and thus the message of, "You assholes watching this are the reason the characters always suffer and die in the same way," doesn't ring true.  Audiences actually have a tendency to respond positively to innovation and change, it's the people making the films (writers, directors, producers) who want to retread the same area again and again.

Thus for it to really work out as the symbols of symbolism that symbolize things in a symbolic kind of way the responsibility for repeated mass murder (character death in horror movies) has to be taken off the shoulders of the old gods and be placed firmly on those claiming to just give the audience/gods what they want.

Will Wildman has a post about that, that and more.


At the time I wrote this:

They wouldn't have needed as much of a rewrite as you suggest to shift the blame from the audience to the creators.
She doesn't kill him. Scene of the god rising is omitted. Added closing monologue:
We waited for the old gods to rise and kill the world, they never did. The gods were appeased and the world went on. In installations around the world the Directors were faced with explaining why they had been committing mass murder. Some argued that the results were somehow close enough and maintained their positions. Others were fed to the beasts they once controlled.
Life went on. The old gods continued to watch us in their slumbers, but they hardly stirred when the sacrifice wasn't made.
But better written, because stuff.


I kind of wanted to try my hand at that again, thus this post.

Dana is the narrator here:


My hand was shaking as I pointed the gun at Marty, but the more I tried to think about it, the more I realized I'd already made my choice.  The people who worked here were monsters, much more so than the creatures they used.  Now I was being asked to become one of them.  Preform a human sacrifice to save the world.

My finger never went near the trigger.

I lowered the gun.  We'd face whatever came, and if humanity did fall we'd go down fighting, not as colluders.

Marty's look of relief changed to horror as he saw something behind me.  Together we fought off the werewolf and then waited for the apocalypse to begin.

It didn't.

At first I thought that it had all been a lie.  The gods were a way for the director and her workers to avoid taking personal responsibility for the murders they got some kind of perverse joy out of committing.

Then some lower level workers came to us, and showed us the truth.  The gods were real, and they were sleeping just fine.  Better than they had in decades even.  That changed everything for those workers, and they were ready for revolution.

Maybe the gods just wanted a story, maybe they'd been waiting for something new, maybe they liked sleeping or had no desire to destroy the world.

Whatever the case, they weren't rising to kill the world, which meant the sacrifices, all the sacrifices, had been unnecessary.  Around the world the directors of the various facilities had hard questions to answer.  Why did they insist on killing people when it wasn't needed?  Why had they tricked their employees into becoming accomplices in repeated, unnecessary, mass murders?  Where had the whole five archetypal sacrifices idea come from anyway?

Some directors were able to argue that the failed sacrifices were, collectively, close enough, and thus avoid being dethroned or worse.  But not here.

The workers who showed us the truth offered us a place in their uprising, a chance to avenge our fallen friends.  We were there to see as the overseers of these sick proceedings, not just the director but everyone who had been in charge, had to face the underlings they'd turned into murderers with their lies about the fate of the world along with the monsters they usually unleashed on innocents.

The world went on, the sun came up, the sun went down, and the gods continued to be monitored.  But those who had fed their own bloodthirsty urges by pretending the sacrifices were what the gods wanted were brought to a manner of justice.  Granted it was one as twisted as they were, but since they had all of the power on their side those opposing them had to use every tool available.


  1. Look, I know people are not supposed to judge things they didn't write/read, but I'm pretty allergic to "you all are awful if you watch the awful things we want you to watch", so when I found out what the movie is about, I was less than impressed. ("But if you weren't spoiled, maybe then..." - umm, I wouldn't watch it anyway. Not my flavour of horror. But if I were somehow made to watch it unspoiled, my reaction to the twist would be exactly the same, if not worse. Also I'd be angry at those hypothetical people who made me watch.) So I like your version better.


  2. It seems to me that the implied "audience" here is not necessarily "people who've gone to see Cabin in the Woods" but "people who've gone to see the seventeenth expendable-meat-in-a-cabin film to come out this year". Yeah, insulting the audience is a trope I don't usually get on with, but this time, for me, it worked.

    I'd like to read that closing monologue as spoken by the Director.