THE CABIN IN THE WOODS IS BASED UPON A SINGLE ORIGINAL IDEA? SERIOUSLY?
It's nothing new in Hollywood. If any movie is successful, the filmmakers are going to be sued by someone claiming that it was based on their story, movie, whatever.
Sometimes these lawsuits are legitimate and major studios have knowingly stole from a writer, thereby shaving the expense of $50,000 off their $150 million movie.
Or you know, a week of craft services. Such business acumen among the major studios is legendary, and sometimes the studios lose.
However, most of these suits are frauds.
Right now Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard are being sued for their parody, THE CABIN IN THE WOODS.
The 2012 movie was meant to be a riff on every Cabin or House In the Woods story, novel, and movie from Francis Ford Coppola's 1963 feature, DEMENTIA 13, all the way to the several hundred Cabin in the Woods-style movies from 2000 to 2004.
For those of you unfamiliar with such a motif, let me point out Francis Ford Coppola's first Horror film (for Roger Corman no less). If 1963's DEMENTIA 13 is too far back for you, how about 1967's SPIDER BABY?
Or 1968's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD?
1971's A BAY OF BLOOD?
1973's LISA AND THE DEVIL?
1974's THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE?
1975's THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (which was a musical spoof of Cabin/House in the woods type movies released 40 years ago)?
So despite the fact that Cabin/House in the Woods/Rural area with redneck varmints afflicting strangers/outsiders is a standard Horror motif every bit as common as vampires and zombies (did I mention 1971's STRAW DOGS? 1977's THE HILLS HAVE EYES? How about 1978's I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE?), author Peter Gallagher (not the actor) is suing the two men for copyright infringement. Peter says that THE CABIN IN THE WOODS steals the premise of his self-published 2006 book, THE LITTLE WHITE TRIP: A Night in the Pines.
What is that premise?
According to Gallagher's complaint (court document supplied by The Hollywood Reporter), these are the similarities,
27. Like the Book, the Film tells the story of five friends (three males and two females) between the ages of 17 and 22 who take a take a trip to a remote cabin in the woods."
I have to stop here because that premise is so astoundingly similar to (might one go so far as to say stolen from?) bestselling author, Richard Laymon's 1980 novel, THE CELLAR.
Or Laymon's 1981 novel, THE WOODS ARE DARK.
Or his 1983 novel, NIGHTMARE LAKE.
As well as Laymon's 1986 novel, THE BEAST HOUSE, 1988 novel MIDNIGHT'S LAIR, not to mention... you know what? Just take it as a given that the first paragraph in Gallagher's complaint describing his premise is similar to nearly all of Richard Laymon's bibliography, which has been on the market for the last 35 years.
If you haven't read them, then you should.
"The cabin's previous inhabitants were murdered by the father of the family, who returns to terrorize the group of friends."
Not to be confused with the similarity to the father of the twin girls in Stephen King's 1977 novel, THE SHINING.
"Throughout, the friends are being filmed and manipulated by persons behind the scenes, inadvertently playing characters in a real-life horror show."
Not to be confused with MTVs FEAR, which ran from 2000 to 2002. Or 2003's THE LAST HORROR MOVIE.
"The cabin in the book is referred to as the "Brinkley Cabin" and in the film it is the "Buckner Cabin.""
Later in the same complaint, Peter changes the cabin from its referred-to name, "Brinkley cabin" to "Brinkley House." when he writes,
4. The cabin the protagonists are going to is referred to as the "Brinkley house."
Which is not unlike the house in Richard Matheson's 1971 novel, HELL HOUSE being referred to as "Belasco House". HELL HOUSE was later made into the 1973 movie, THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE.
Now let's encapsulate, Peter Gallagher's 2006 novel, THE LITTLE WHITE TRIP: A Night in the Pines, is about five young friends who go to a cabin in the woods where they are terrorized by a killer and, unbeknownst to them, are manipulated and recorded for a show.
That's the exact plot of the 2002 Horror movie, MY LITTLE EYE, starring Bradley Cooper and written and produced by David Hilton. Filming and directing a person or persons without their knowledge to make a movie or show also smacks directly of 1968's THE SECRET CINEMA, 1983's SWEET GANG, 1998's THE TRUMAN SHOW, and 1999's BOWFINGER.
Based upon Peter Gallagher's complaint, oh yeah, his work was entirely original.
If anything, I'm flabbergasted that anyone would try and make the claim that a satire like THE CABIN IN THE WOODS is largely based upon any single story. Everything from CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON to HELLRAISER was thrown in there for good measure.
Gallagher wants $10 million from the combination of Whedon, Drew, Whedon's company, Mutant Enemy, and Lionsgate.
Read more about it at THR.