Monday, March 19, 2012

My "Cabin in the Woods" Experience

Listen, we're all Whedonites here. But not all of us are fans of scary/horror films.

I used to be terrified of anything remotely scary. I seriously couldn't even watch the "Scary Movies"... it was that bad. But when I got to college, my roommate, who loves scary films, pretty much forced me to watch them with her. During Halloween weekend the "Halloween" franchise movies were on a constant loop, and I think we saw all of them at least three times each. Soon I was watching newer films such as "House of Wax" and I even went with her to see the remake of "The Thing" in theaters.

I finally felt like I could handle scary movies. But when the trailers for Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard's new film, "The Cabin in the Woods" started coming out, I was torn.

I of course had to see it, with the unwritten rule that I have to see everything Joss Whedon touches. So when I heard that The Cabin in the Woods was to be a headliner for the film portion of the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas (my hometown), I jumped at the chance to go.

But at the same time, the trailer looked downright terrifying. Was I ready to face such a horror-filled evening?

I'm a college student in South Carolina, so my trips back home are few and far between. I was devastated when I couldn't attend the Austin Comic Con back in October which some big Buffy alums in attendance such as Charisma Carpenter and James Marsters. But it just so happened that the screening of "Cabin" coincided with my spring break, so I set aside my reservations and procured some film passes, determined to get in the premiere.

A few days after returning to Austin, a huge cold front came in and with it the rain started to pour. Now, as a true Texan I know to never complain about rain, but I did feel bad for the poor out-of-towners that were there for the festival. Austin is always more fun in the sun.

The morning of the premiere, Friday, March 9, I was reading the Austin American Statesman and on the front page there was an article about the screening of "Cabin" that night. Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard, and a few of the movies' stars would be in attendance.

My jaw hit the floor.

I already knew Joss was going to be in Austin, for he had a scheduled panel/interview the next morning (but that's a whole other story) but up until that point I had no idea that he would be attending the screening. Needless to say I was freaking out.

That afternoon I bundled up in my warm clothes and rain gear, and my dad, the dear man that he is, drove me downtown to the Paramount Theatre. We pulled up to the sidewalk...

...and there was Joss Whedon. I was looking at the man himself.

I jumped out of the car and pretty much just stared for a while before noticing that the line I needed to be in was on the other side of Joss and all the cameras. I slowly walked in front of him, still staring, and when he glanced by for the slightest moment, we made eye contact. It was SO AMAZING, y'all (we all have our crazy fangirl/boy obsessions, okay?), I almost cried. Well, okay, a few tears were definitely shed, but that's beside the point.

I got in line, freezing my ass off, and instantly made friends with the people around me, as is the case with most of these situations. (Side note: I once waited for ten hours to be at the front of a Pearl Jam concert. Needless to say I bonded with the people around me.)

One guy didn't even know what movie he was going into. Another couple had traveled all the way from London and were grumbling about how the weather was the same there when they left as it was here. Wonderful people.

The thing you should know is that there are SXSW badges, which let you in to anything, and then what we had were "film passes" and allowed us to get in only after all the badge holders were seated. After almost an hour and a half of waiting out in the cold, they started letting the film pass line in. Once it got to about five people ahead of us, they stopped. They were having to count seats and let only a few people in at a time because it was so packed.


The British couple wished me and Clueless-Guy well, telling us to have the time of our lives if we got in and they didn't. It was quite emotional. We watched in agony as badge-holders dashed to the front of the line at the last minute and were let in before us. But finally, the last ten of the film-pass people were ushered in, and the doors were closed. We had made it.

Hugs and high-fives were exchanged, and we were even pleasantly surprised to find that some great seats in the middle had been blocked off for the film-pass holders. Score.

Joss and Drew came out to introduce the film, and they explained that this was a really special event for them as well because the movie had been sitting on the shelf for two years, due to the fact that it was first made with MGM, which went bankrupt, and it wasn't until Lionsgate picked it up that it truly became a reality. This was the first time they were seeing the movie in two years, and the very first time with an audience. Awesome.

So, without further ado, the wild ride began. As is with a lot of movie premieres, the packed crowed was very interactive. We clapped and hooted when certain actors came on the screen, and roared with laughter as the script crackled with Joss' signature wit.

As for the scary parts, I will say this (without revealing too much): they make you jump, but they aren't hard to anticipate. In a good way, though. You'll see. There is lots of gore, but for me the humor and the fact that it's simply such a smart movie outweighed the grossness. I will also say that most of the humor is the darkest of the dark--so if that's not your thing then beware.

And that's all I'll say about the plot! I highly recommend it, and if you are still worried about the scary aspect, go see the midnight premiere. With a big crowd to hold my hand, it was easy to laugh and scream along with everyone else--giving a lighter feel to the darker parts.

Joss and Drew and some of the cast came on the stage afterward and did a Q&A about the movie. It was truly an amazing experience.

Anyway, I hope I helped some of y'all who are a little wary about seeing such a scary horror film. In my opinion, it's worth it. It premieres in the US April 13, and I would love to hear what y'all have to say about it once you see it.

Thanks for reading! :)

-Charlotte <3

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