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In The Cabin in the Woods, I recognized a few items as references to famous horror movies. Additionally, later when

Dana and Marty head down the elevator to the monster storage area,

there are a few monsters that are obviously references.

Which of the items and monsters are references to other films, and what films do they reference?

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Meta discussion on the form we should adopt for questions like this: Annotation repositories –  Gilles Apr 22 '12 at 23:44
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11 Answers

up vote 28 down vote accepted

From the IMDB FAQ and edited based on the image below. Massive spoilers ahead!

  • Alien Beast - Generic reference to alien creatures. (ex. Alien). [Bet on by Bio-Med]
  • Ancient Ones - Generic reference to god-like beings such as Titans and Lovecraftian Elder Things.
  • Angry Molesting Tree - Specific reference to The Evil Dead (source: Kristen Connolly). [Bet on by Wranglers]
  • Bloody Bride (Possibly Summoned by Wedding Dress) - Possible reference to The Bloody Bride of 13 Curves Road. [Bet on by Digital Analysis]
  • Clown - Generic reference to killer clowns (ex. It). [Bet on by Electric]
  • Deadites - Specific reference to The Evil Dead franchise. [Bet on by Story Dept]
  • Demon - Generic demonic reference (ex. Night of the Demons).
  • Dismemberment Goblins - Seen on the betting board and listed on credits.
  • Doll Faces (Possibly summoned by matching doll face masks in basement)- Specific reference to The Strangers.
  • Dragonbat - Unique creation (ex. Graveyard Shift). (Source: Script)
  • Escaped Prisoners - Generic reference to escaped convicts/patients.
  • Evil Surgeons - Generic reference to evil medical staff (ex. House on Haunted Hill)
  • Fat Zombie - Seemingly specific reference to Boomers from Left 4 Dead.
  • Giant - Generic fantasy reference (ex. Trolljegeren).
  • Giant Snake - Generic reference to Giant Monster/Eco-Terror films (ex. King Cobra). [Bet on by Internal Logistics
  • Giant Spider - Generic reference to Giant Monster/Eco-Terror films (ex. Eight Legged Freaks).
  • Hell Lord aka Fornicus, Lord of Bondage and Pain (Summoned by Puzzle Orb) - Specific reference to Cenobites from Hellraiser. The puzzle orb references Pinhead's Puzzle Box - also from Hellraiser. [Bet on by Sitterson]
  • The Huron - possible reference to Lake Placid
  • Jack-O-Lantern - possible reference to Pumpkinhead
  • Japanese Floaty Girl (Kiko) - Generic reference to Japanese Yurei films (ex. The Grudge & The Ring.)
  • Kevin - Seen on betting board. (Possible reference to Sin City).
  • Killbot - Generic reference to Killer Machine/Robots films (ex. Hardware).
  • Kraken - Generic fantasy reference (ex. 20000 Leagues Under the Sea).
  • Merman (Summoned by Conch) - Generic fantasy reference (ex. Creature from the Black Lagoon). [Bet on by Hadley]
  • Mummy - Generic reference to mummies (ex. The Mummy). [Bet on by Psychologists]
  • Mutants - Generic reference to mutants (ex. Wrong Turn). [Bet on by Demolition]
  • Patience Buckner - Specific reference to Alessa from Silent Hill.
  • The Reanimated - Possible reference to Re-Animator film. [Bet on by Administration]
  • Reptilius - Seen on betting board. Probable reference to Reptilicus.
  • Sasquatch / Wendigo / Yeti - Seen on betting board. (ex. Abominable).
  • Scarecrow Folk - Generic reference to Killer Scarecrow subgenre (ex. Dark Night of the Scarecrow). [Bet on by Data Archives]
  • Sexy Witches - Seen on betting board (ex. The Craft). [Bet on by Archives]
  • Snowman - Seen on betting board (ex. Jack Frost). [Bet on by Communications]
  • Sugar Plum Fairy aka Ballerina Dentata (Summoned by Music Box) - Unique creation (source: Drew Goddard).
  • Twin Girls aka Grady's Daughters- Specific reference to The Shining.
  • Unicorn - Generic fantasy reference. [Bet on by Engineering]
  • Vampires - Seen on betting board (ex. Vampires). [Bet on by Distribution]
  • Werewolf - Generic werewolf genre reference (ex. The Wolf Man). [Bet on by Finance]
  • Witches - Generic witch genre reference (ex. Darkness Falls). [Bet on by Operations]
  • Wraiths - Generic ghost genre reference (ex. 13 Ghosts) [Bet on by Bio-Med].
  • Zombie Redneck Torture Family aka the Buckners (Summoned by Diary) - Mash-Up of Zombie, Torture, & Killer Family films. [Bet on by Maintainence & Ronald the Intern]
  • Zombies - Generic Zombie genre reference (ex. Night of the Living Dead). [Bet on by Chem]
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1  
This is definitely good (+1), but doesn't include the item references (e.g. Fornicus' Puzzle Sphere). –  Ian Pugsley Apr 16 '12 at 12:50
    
True, I haven't been able to find a comprehensive list yet. The Cabin in the Woods: The Official Visual Companion may yield better info. I'll stop by the book store tonight and see if they have a copy to go over. –  phantom42 Apr 16 '12 at 12:53
    
Puzzle sphere could elude to the puzzle cube from Hellraiser? –  OghmaOsiris Apr 20 '12 at 8:04
    
@OghmaOsiris That kind of goes with the Cenobites, which were also from Hellraiser, but it makes sense to be more explicit about that. I'll change it. –  phantom42 Apr 20 '12 at 14:41
    
Additional production note: The 'alien beast' was originally supposed to be an Alien, in tribute to Sigourney Weaver's guest appearance, but the rubber suit wasn't good enough so it was deleted from the glass cubes. –  Tynam Nov 4 '12 at 9:44
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The whole elevator scene itself is a reference to The Cube in that they are in one box that moves around amongst thousands of others.

Also, where they are looking at the props in the basement a wedding dress is seen which looks like Gina Davis' dress from Beetlejuice. Moments later, Chris Hemsworth blows a horn which looks like Alec Baldwins' transformed state in the same film.

The scene in which it shows the other failures from around the world displays a castle on fire in Madrid. Did anyone feel this was a nod to Resident Evil 4 where you infiltrate the castle and you have to take out the catapults?

Also, a fat and old version of Kratos from god of war can be seen briefly after Dollfaces get off the elevator and just before the scientist gets chucked to the snake to eat.

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It would probably be simpler to list what weren't references, but I just saw it today, so I'll give it a start as a community wiki:

  1. Lord Fornicus (name from the credits) was clearly a Cenobite from the Hellraiser series,
  2. The Japanese ghost which is ultimately contained by the schoolgirls is a reference to Samara from the Ring (or Ringu, for purists),
  3. Deadites (from the whiteboard where they're placing bets) are a reference to Evil Dead,
  4. Angry molesting tree (also from the whiteboard) is also a reference to Evil Dead,
  5. The clown was clearly a reference to Pennywise from Stephen King's It...
  6. Porcelain doll-face mask folk were a reference to The Strangers,
  7. Merman was an oblique reference to The Creature from the Black Lagoon, I guess...
  8. The zombies were clearly of the Roger Corman variety...

That should be a good start.

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About 1:17:00 when you're looking at the 3x3 grid of the chaos, the middle row, first column with the woman at the desk - it looks like the foot of the aliens from Independence Day. The man on fire looks like the original Thing from the 1950s and 1983. The surgeons with the scalpel are probably generic but remind me a little of Dr Giggles.Nosferatu at 1:17:15 (above the monitor of the guy with the sign) is a reference to one of the oldest movies (or horror movies) ever created. Green blood patient - Toxic Avenger? And Bigfoot throwing the guy into the lockers: Definitely Jack Links Beef Jerky.

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"They're like something from a nightmare." "No, they're like something nightmares are from." Not all of these are references to specific movies or games. Listen to the commentary; they specifically avoided doing that. Most of them are archetypes. For example, The Huron is maybe the first real American imaginary monster, "the Indian who might kill you." While Fornicus is clearly a Cenobite (and I keep thinking I see the reflection of another one in his cube), listen to what Goddard and Whedon say during his scene.

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The Scarecrow Folk might have also a reference to the Baghead guy from The Strangers.

More likely, I'm pretty sure the Jeepers Creeper monster was a scarecrow.

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There were several video game references, the scene where they're entering the tunnel and the camera chases a hawk. The hawk scene is taken from Shadow of the Colossus. Also I feel like the Unicorn is an Oblivion reference because in Oblivion you can mount a Unicorn but it's notorious for randomly attacking guards, and the Unicorn in the movie attacked a guard.

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The Giant Spider could also be in reference more to King's "The Mist"

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Dismembered goblins could be from the movie Don't be Afraid of the Dark or even Stephen Kings Cat's Eye... In all three movies there are small goblin like creatures that live in the walls... and I know that in both the creatures got dismembered.

For the Scarecrow Folk I thought of the movie Husk that was on Syfy one night, but looking back it was made in 2011 so I doubt it. Thought of this because the Scarecrow was an angry spirit who would kill the people that entered the corn field and turn them into scarecrows...

Sexy witches could be The Craft or Witches of Eastwick

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While Ballerina Dentata was a unique creation, the second I saw the music box, I thought of the dancing corpse from Evil Dead II.

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Zombie vomiting to the face of captured man - 28 days later.
Fat Zombie can be seen in elevator episode among other cells (left and down from giant centipede), and it looks exactly like the boomer from Left 4 Dead.

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ughm, any explanation for disagreement? –  user66548 Oct 4 '12 at 17:06
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