Cabin in the Woods: The painting and the whiteboard


[For the next few days, we’ll be looking at The Cabin in the Woods: The Official Visual Companion and the official movie novelization, both from Titan Books. The visual companion features an in-depth interview with Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, the complete screenplay, cast interviews, and hundreds of full-color images. The film’s novelization is by New York Times bestselling author Tim Lebbon. The visual companion and the novelization come out tomorrow.]

The Official Visual Companion to The Cabin in the Woods is jam-packed with great images. This includes stills from the completed film, behind-the-scenes photos, storyboards, and lots of production art. Picking what to highlight is a little hard given that I still don’t want to spoil anything major about the film. Previously we looked at Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard’s writing process and how they kept secrets while casting their leads. So I decided to focus on just two images.

First up is a painting in the cabin that’s particularly gory. The other image I present without elaboration. It’s not a total spoiler since you need the context, but avert your eyes from that whiteboard image if you don’t want to know anything about the movie. Those who’ve seen The Cabin in the Woods ought to get a kick out of it.

You can view both the painting and the whiteboard in the gallery. After the cut, I’ve included the description of the painting from the novelization as well as comments on the painting from production designer Martin Whist, whose other credits include Cloverfield, Super 8, and the forthcoming RoboCop remake.

From The Cabin in the Woods: The Official Visual Companion:

Martin Whist on the painting: “That was fun. This poor guy who actually had to paint it, he was very classically trained, a wonderful painter. I started by giving him classical references, Gainsborough and wonderful English landscape painters, and then started adding the layer of Goya and the darker painters, and he sort of understood that, but then as we kept going on and on, he kept bringing it back to something more restrained, and I would just keep making him put more gore and more blood into it! At a certain point, he would roll his eyes. He almost couldn’t do it. In the end, he was just shaking his head. ‘You guys are nuts.’ ‘No, more gore! The dogs need to be ripping the flesh out! There needs to be pools of blood!'”

From the novelization of The Cabin in the Woods by Tim Lebbon:

He assumed it was an old horse-and-dog print, a country scene from a long time ago, maybe even imported from Britain. But looking closer, the detail started to stand out… and it was horrible.

It was a hunting party, and most of the members were shown dismounted, their faces flushed red with rage or freshly blooded, arms raised, hands bearing curved machetes that reflected gray sunlight where they weren’t also darkened with blood. At their feet were several big, vicious-looking dogs, reminding him more of the wolf’s head in the living room than the family pets he was used to. And at the focus of their attention was a lamb. Scarlet clefts had been struck into its back and flanks, and one dog had its slavering jaws clamped about the poor animal’s throat.


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Don’t forget that you have a chance to win the Mondo poster for The Cabin in the Woods. The Escher-ific limited-edition poster (pictured below) is completely sold out, so this is your chance to actually get one.

Hubert Vigilla
Brooklyn-based fiction writer, film critic, and long-time editor and contributor for Flixist. A booster of all things passionate and idiosyncratic.