Giftmas is over and it’s a safe bet that the booze has been drunk, the Turkey has been eaten and the games on your favorite gaming site have been played to the point of tedium.
What better way to wile away those winter hours and combat cabin fever than to turn off the lights and bunker down with some horror. For me, at this time of year I love a good ‘cabin in the woods’ movie, paradoxically I find them cosy, comforting.
A well established trope of modern horror the log cabin is arguably the perfect setting. I can’t think of another setting that provides such a palpable sense of claustrophobic terror; the characters are plunged into a pressure cooker of fear & the isolation of being surrounded by dark woods provides a bleak hopelessness that can’t be matched. So here’s a quick run down of what I consider the ‘cabin in the woods’ sub-genre.
Firstly I have to begin with what I’d venture to say is the original and archetypal movie of this sub-genre, Friday the 13th. The 1980 classic set the mould for this type of horror with a revenge fuelled Mrs. Voorhees picking off promiscuous teens as they either huddle in a cabin or run scared through the dark forest (although if you ask me the franchise really got going in part 2 when Jason puts a potato sack on his head and starts wielding the machete himself). A perhaps cynical attempt to cash in on the success of John Carpenter’s 1978 proto-slasher Halloween the franchise helped create a sub-genre within the nascent Slasher genre.
Friday the 13th may have set the mould but in my humble opinion the standard was set with Sam Raimi’s 1981 classic, Evil Dead. Here Raimi took the ball and ran with it. Slashers are fantastic but for me the fear of the unknown tops the shock and gorefest that is a Slasher. This is where Raimi gets it perfect. Not only do the characters have the concrete, pressure cooker, situation of monsters in the basement but the also have the unseen fear of the forces at work.
They are quite literally surrounded by the evil that seeks to destroy them, creating that perfect horror scenario of an inescapable evil that eventually must be confronted to survive.
If all this fear and terror is a little too much for you on these dark and stormy nights when the wind is howling at your windows why not ease yourself into it with an alternative. If you’re too scared to go out to the woods just yet, check out Betway’s new slots site and among their great variety of games you’ll find their new slot Cabin Fever. Also, my best bet is try one of the more recent ‘cabin in the woods’ movies.
The sub-genre seems to have experienced a sea change in recent years. With movies such as Dead Snow the emphasis seems to be more on the comedic side of horror when setting tales in this scenario, and for me, my all time favorite has to be Tucker & Dale Vs Evil.
Tucker & Dale Vs Evil strikes the comedy horror balance perfectly. Providing plenty of shocks and gore with well written comedic characters and a narrative approach that I find truly unique. The idea is simple and one of misadventure but the concept of the creepy rednecks simply being misunderstood and the killings being hilarious accidents is a new slant I’ve never come across; which breathes life into a story told countless times, truly unique. That said, a final mention has to go to the eponymous Cabin in The Woods. Again a fresh take on a now conventional story mode, the slowly revealed twist is something I found ingenious and the journey from horror to comedy is deftly handled (plus it’s worth watching just for the Unicorn… The Unicorn!)
So whether it’s scary movies, scary games, or just plain being scared you enjoy then my advice for beating cabin fever this winter is wrap up warm, close the curtains and take a trip to the cabin in the woods…