Monday, November 27, 2017

Cult-TV Theme Watch: The Cabin in the Woods

As the 2012 meta-horror movie Cabin in the Woods reminds us, there is no greater -- or more isolated -- locale for terror than, well, a cabin in the woods.

One of the greatest horror films ever made, The Evil Dead (1983), charted that particular territory brilliantly, but the subject of this blog post involves TV series that utilize the location.

The isolated cabin in the woods is the central battlefield, for example, in the classic The Twilight Zone (1959-1964) episode, “The Invaders,” which involves a lonely woman (Agnes Moorehead) attacked by tiny, malevolent beings. These monstrous invaders turn out to be human astronauts.

A memorable episode of Ghost Story/Circle of Fear (1972-1973) called “Doorway to Death” involves two children taking a mystical doorway from a haunted city apartment in San Francisco to a wintry landscape. There, in the woods -- at a cabin, naturally -- a killer is seen chopping wood with an axe. The doorway is literally, a portal to death.

One of the greatest The X-Files (1993-2002) episodes of its first season, “Darkness Falls,” finds Agent Scully (Gillian Anderson) and Agent Mulder (David Duchovny) trapped in a cabin in the woods in the Pacific Northwest as flesh-eating, prehistoric insects attack. The bugs emerge at night, but are repelled by light. In a suspenseful scene, Mulder and Scully must depend on a single, dangling light bulb, and a faulty generator, to keep them alive.

In Chris Carter’s Millennium (1996-1999), the leader of the Millennium Group played by R.G. Armstrong is seen to be living in a remote cabin in the woods in the early second season episode, “Beware of the Dog.” Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) is sent by the Group to encounter him.

A cabin in the woods has also been a sanctuary, on more than one occasion, for the living, during the zombie apocalypse in AMC’s original series, The Walking Dead (2010 -- ), and of course, Ash vs. The Evil Dead (2015 - ) has revisited the notorious cabin in the woods where all the horror of Sam Raimi’s Deadites first began.

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