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April 16 2015

Cabin in the Woods lawsuit: Legit or Lame? A thorough analysis and critique of the specific charges of plagiarism being brought against Joss and Drew in the Cabin lawsuit.

I gave it a quick read but the Reality-TV twist actually reminded me of Halloween: Resurrection.
My initial reaction when I heard of the lawsuit was "lame", but that was a superficial analysis. Thanks for linking an article where someone looked over the facts in greater detail.

I had forgotten "Homcoming" (with Slayerfest 98) as an example of prior work which would apply to this lawsuit.
Great analysis. Unfortunately, it sent me down the rabbit hole (one that I fall down every few months) of Slayage. Working in academia that doesn't connect to Whedon Studies is kind of a bummer, because it means Slayage is a distraction instead of being work.
Very informative! Though we hardly need convincing.
That's a good analysis.

Also, if the rest of the book reads like the quotes in this article ... wow, that's bad writing. O.o I doubt I'd make it through more than a couple of pages.
I'm a lawyer, and while I don't routinely practice copyright law, I have filed copyright suits in the past, and did a fair amount of copyright work as a research assistant in law school. Based on this article, I'd be very surprised if this suit were able to overcome the "idea/expression dichotomy" (the expression of an idea is copyright protected, but the underlying idea is not). Prior to even getting into that analysis, however, they'd have to prove that Whedon and Goddard even had access to the protected work, which sounds tenuous at best.

With all of that said, I think I'd be more surprised if this didn't settle for some sort of nuisance value because that's how these things usually go.
"In the book, itís revealed that the people manipulating Matt and his friends are moviemakers. They 'kill' his friends one by one, until only he and Julie are left alive."

Reminds me of the "Dick Van Dyke Show" episode "The Ghost of A. Chantz", from 1964. Somebody tweet Carl Reiner and get another lawsuit going.
The characters in CITW, this dude's book, The Evil Dead, and countless others could all be variations of the gang from Scooby-Doo. In this guy's book, the characters are what they appear to be on the surface. In CITW, the characters are meant to play with that trope and turn it inside out. Gallagher's plot is a straight forward plot, whereas CITW is an homage to what may be every horror movie ever made. Then there are the hungry, angry gods...

CITW may have similarities to the book, but it starts out very much like The Evil Dead, which far preceded the book (which does sound very much like Halloween: Resurrection, or a Christopher Eccleston episode of Doctor Who).

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2015-04-16 18:34 ]
The idea of filming unsuspecting people and manipulating them for the enjoyment of an audience goes at least back to the birth of "Candid Camera" in 1948. Gallagher's book simply takes that basic concept and applies it to a genre.

That's not what CITW does at all. The actual monitoring of the protagonists was only secondary to the main point of the story.

Gallagher and Whedon based their characters, in both cases deliberately, on the same set of well-known tropes and cliches.

I haven't read the book, but I read the excerpts presented in the above article. It's not very good. I found myself mentally editing it as I read it, which isn't a good sign. If Joss ever did somehow find himself reading it, I doubt he'd be patient enough with it to get past the first couple of pages.

I imagine Joss probably has a tall stack of books waiting for when he actually has enough leisure time to do any reading. I doubt any of them are random self-published books being sold out of a box on the boardwalk.
The suit may also just be an attempt to grab publicity for the book. Notice he managed to get one new reader anyway.

However, it seems to me that on the basis of major plot-line alone the comparison doesn't hold up. This guy is claiming that in both stories there is a big reveal at the end, which is that the five victims have actually been manipulated all along by others. In fact, in Cabin, that reveal comes right at the beginning. We know from scene one that the victims are being messed with by others and as the film progresses we can figure out exactly why. The only huge reveal at the end of Cabin, other than the world ending, is that the Director of the Institute is Sigourney Weaver. Somehow, I doubt that that's the surprise ending of this book.
You know, it never occurred to me before that the "elder gods" were meant to represent horror movie fandom (and/or the studio system?), who would reject any movie that didn't follow the expected tropes and "destroy the world" by denying a sequel.

So, one good thing came out of all this.
@ShortFatGuy, I thought of "The Ghost of A. Chantz" immediately too.
Just for fun, I always thought of the elder gods as the Old Ones from Buffy, and that whole facility being some offshoot of Wolfram and Heart.
I think that within the movie, the elder gods were based on Lovecraft's Great Old Ones. The Buffyverse Old Ones were too, kind of, but with a lot less of the "drive you insane if you even look at them" aspect.
That "Ghost of A. Chantz" was pretty darn funny. I'm going to have to watch more episodes of the Dick van Dyke show now that i realize they're available on Hulu.

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