By Jordan Gerdes
We are living in an amazing time for horror fans. Both the silver screen and the small screen are packed to the brim with programming for every type of enthusiast out there. We have gotten a number of amazing shows in recent years. An Exorcist continuation series. Ashley J Williams fought the good fight against the Deadites once again. We saw the origins of Hannibal Lecter and Norman Bates. The X Files is back and Twin Peaks got a revival. AMC has had continued success with The Walking Dead, Fear The Walking Dead, and now The Terror. SyFy unfortunately just canceled Channel Zero, one of the most underrated creepypasta anthologies ever concieved. The Haunting of Hill House and The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina dominated Netflix this Halloween season. With more shows in the works, the list can go on forever. So why not throw another hat in the ring.
In 2012, Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard introduced us to The Cabin In The Woods, a meta take on the classic haunted cabin trope. Without spoiling too much of this excellent movie, (If you haven’t seen it, go watch it right away) we are given a look into a shadowy global conglomerate known only as The Organization. The Organization holds a vault filled with a seemingly endless number of horrifying monsters, ghouls, ghosts, and cryptids that has always peaked my interest. Some are immediately recognizable, others are so far out that I want to know everything about them. Why are they there? How did they come to be in their possession? And what kind of havoc can they wreak?
Which gave me an idea. A long shot, but hey, that’s what the internet is for. What if they created a show based around this vault? Taking place before the movie’s timeline, every episode would begin with senior technician Steve Hadley, Richard Jenkin’s character in the movie, giving the rundown on an inhabitant of the vault to a new technician. The show can be a sort of anthology based look into the the otherworldly things that haunt our nightmares. Jenkins would act as a pseudo Crypt Keeper, telling the viewer what we are about to see. The rest of the episode would be a one off story using “footage” The Organization has archived, showing the subject in action, hopefully involving lots of scares and lots of gore.
Picture this. It’s just another day at the The Facility, and the Japanese installation has completed another successful sacrifice, as they maintain a perfect record. The sacrifice means the clock resets and each installation now has downtime to re calibrate and plan for the next sacrifice. For The Facility, it means that Hadley’s job is to train a new technician that was recently transferred. Hadley’s responsibilities include acquisition, maintenance, and execution. The new technician is fairly green, and Hadley must guide him through all of the steps they take for each sacrifice. The Facility is number two, only to Japan, and Hadley is being hounded by The Director for better results. Hadley’s idea is the acquisition of new monsters that provide a better success rate. Hadley begins to flip through dossiers of monsters recently spotted in the North American region. The first seen is Bigfoot, which Hadley remarks as being too complicated with too little payoff for success. The next dossier glimpsed shows a picture of The Jersey Devil, which Hadley says hasn’t been glimpsed in decades and this new sighting is nothing more than scared teenagers telling tall tales. He throws it in the discard bin. He does the same for a dossier marked Bear Lake Monster, as their relations with the Canadian installation aren’t on the best terms currently. He grabs a file from the bottom, showcasing a mass murderer that has been racking up body counts for the better part of three decades at a summer camp in the Northeast, yet seemingly is impossible to kill. He looks at the intern and smiles, saying The Director should be pleased with his success rate, and sends the green light to prepare the acquisition team.
Each episode follows Hadley’s attempt to acquire one new inhabitant, directing a team to locate, capture and secure. This provides an opportunity to explore all sorts of cryptid and paranormal lore across the United States, in a monster of the week style run. Finally, the episode run culminates in a sacrifice, unleashing these new monsters on an unsuspecting group at one of their sites around the country, as The Cabin in the Woods surely isn’t the only kill zone they have.
Since this is placed before the film, this gives a chance to explore how some of the monsters in the Vault got there. The Buckner’s, The Sugar Plum Fairy, The Scarecrow Folks, even the Merman. The Vault has four types of categorical monsters, according to The Cabin In The Woods wikia, citing Supernatural, Psychopaths, Folkloric Creatures, and Common Phobias. These categories alone cover enough ground to provide Hadley and his team plenty of frights and fun.
There is an infinite number of possibilities to be had with this formula, and Whedon and Goddard found a creative way to skirt around copyrights by taking liberties with some of the more recognizable faces that we glimpsed, such as “The Hell Lord”(a very similar Hellraiser incarnation.) Bigfoot. Mothman. Aliens. Alligators in the sewer. Skinwalkers. Slashers. All horror tropes and urban legends are on the table here, and plenty others that my mind hasn’t even wrapped its claws around yet. There is even opportunity to be had for guest directors to jump in, in a Masters of Horror type move.
In a 2015 interview with Ryan Lamble of Den Of Geek, Goddard described a very unsure future for the film universe;
“the fun thing about Cabin is, the rules are pretty crazy. We get away with a lot of crazy stuff. So, I’m sure we could figure it out if we got inspired to. I know Joss and I both feel like we don’t want to tarnish what we did with the first one. With a sequel, we’d only do it if it made us laugh hard enough, I suppose.”
While expressing Lionsgate’s interest for a new film, he mentions that
“There’s nothing in the hopper right now, but who knows? The way Joss and I work, we might wake up tomorrow and go, ‘let’s go do that,’ or whatever.”
While this doesn’t sound like great news for a film sequel, it leaves room to imagine a show such as this. I never rule out creative teams like Whedon and Goddard to surprise fans down the line. With the recent popularity with anthology style series on television, this one feels like a home run, especially for horror fans. What do you think? The idea of seeing Merman on screen again is enough to make me dream.