I was lucky enough to take part in a round table question and answer session with Drew Goddard, the writer/director of the upcoming film, “Cabin in the Woods.” Goddard has a rich background in the horror/comedy genre, writing for shows such as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angle.” He brings the same wit of those shows to “Cabin in the Woods,” one of the most entertaining movies your inclined to see this month.
Goddard wrote the screenplay with his “partner in crime,” Joss Whedon, who additionally created “Buffy” and “Angle.” “We had been working together for over 10 years now,” Goddard said. “We just wanted to write something together and we missed each other. We love horror movies so much and we wanted to get back to there. So we just wrote it. Write what you want to see.”
Upon being asked if making the transition from writing to directing was difficult, Goddard responded, “Yes, certainly. They’re very different. The reason you become a writer is because you like to sit in a room by yourself all day. The reason you become a director is the exact opposite. Fortunately, the directors I worked with in television, J.J. Abrams and Joss Whedon, are very empowering writers. TV in general is the writer’s medium. So a lot of the stuff I did as a director in features is what you would have to do as a writer in television. It felt like a very natural progression.”
Goddard further described “The Cabin in the Woods” as “a love letter to the horror genre. I love going to horror movies, especially when they’re really fun. Where you’re laughing just as much as you’re screening. There’s nothing like a good, rowdy horror movie.”
“Cabin in the Woods” is certainly among the most satirical and gleeful horror movies in recent years. But does that mean that the film is some sort of response to torture porn movies like “Saw?” Goddard asked. “We didn’t set out to make the anti-torture porn movie. I love horror films. There’s not a particular genre I don’t like. I just don’t like bad movies. Sometimes you can tell when a director doesn’t care about their characters and that’s what happens in the torture porn genre. They’re just lining people up to get killed. That’s what we wanted to do differently.”
With “Cloverfield” and now “Cabin in the Woods” under his belt, one might assume that Goddard would ditch television and concentrate on features. Goddard said, however, “I hope I can go in between the two because there’s good and bad in both. The thing that’s grueling about television is also the thing that’s great about television. Every eight days you’ve got to put out a new episode. It’s hard, but you don’t have to second-guess yourself. There were times on ‘Buffy’ where we didn’t have any ideas. It’s like kids in a garage experimenting. Sometimes our best episodes would come out of that. With movies it takes years, but it’s also nice to take your time.”
Whether Goddard sets his sights on film, television, or both, you can always expect something interesting to come from him. Personally, I’m exciting to see what he’ll do next. Until then, be sure to check out “Cabin in the Woods” on April 13.
Ahwatukee native and Desert Vista graduate Nick Spake is a student at Arizona State University. He has been working as a film critic for five years, reviewing movies on his website, NICKPICKSFLICKS.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.