In The Cabin in the Woods, there was

A giant red "Purge All" button that released all the monsters into the facility.

Is there any real reason why such a thing would exist? Or is this just another campy reference to horror movie theory?

  • 2
    I had the same thought when I saw the movie. It is like a giant "I am STUPID" button that someone would press. :-)If someone wanted a failsafe button, it should simply be a self-destruct button, not a "Release all".
    – beichst
    Commented Jan 26, 2013 at 6:10
  • 2
    Same question over on Movies.SE.
    – user1027
    Commented Jan 26, 2013 at 6:33
  • Well sonofa gun... whats the protocol then? Vote to close as exact duplicate from another SE?
    – Ashterothi
    Commented Jan 26, 2013 at 6:38
  • 4
    Managers like big red buttons.
    – Dracs
    Commented Jan 26, 2013 at 13:19
  • 1
    @Dracs Same question between two SE sites are ok until its not intentionally done for reputation or same user posted it. Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 13:33

2 Answers 2


From my own answer from M&TV

As per The Cabin in the Woods Wikia-

The System Purge, also called just the Purge or the Carnage, was when Marty Mikalski and Dana Polk unleashed all the monsters in the glass rooms into The Facility. This was accomplished with a button in the control panel marked "System Purge." During the Purge, each and every one of The Facilities monsters are let out in waves, eight at a time. The first wave of monsters includes: the werewolf, the zombies, a witch, the Dismemberment Goblins, the dragonbat, the Giant Snake, the Angry Molesting Tree and the killer robot.

Why the facility had the need for a System Purge is unknown, but it is likely that this is a reference to the eleventh-hour deus ex machina that is a common trope in the horror genre.

So the button is an obvious satire of the eleventh-hour "deus ex machina" in horror movies.(Reference)

  • 3
    The first paragraph of the quote is unnecessary here and since the wiki is unsourced, all you really have is a best guess.
    – phantom42
    Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 13:55
  • @phantom42 i thought wiki links are allowed on SE sItes as in M&Tv its allowed and second link is from IMDB Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 14:39
  • 1
    It's allowed, it's just unsourced, which is generally looked down upon since there's nothing to back it up.
    – phantom42
    Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 15:04
  • sure -- why spaceships even like the Nostromo have one -- I can understand a war ship -- in real life, ship/submarine commanders will deliberate destroy their vessels to prevent secrets or the ship itself from falling into enemy hands. But a huge expensive mining ship? That should have not been an automatic function of the Nostromo but maybe the engineers would have to fiddle with the warp drive to make it blow up.
    – releseabe
    Commented Mar 21, 2022 at 13:43

If we’re being generous, maybe the chamber with the elevator doors was designed to allow a large number of weapons to be pointed at it, or had anti-monster devices built-in, also controlled from the booth that Dana and Marty were in.

So, under the intended circumstances, the monsters would be wiped out as soon as the doors open. But because Dana and Marty had pretty much just stumbled in there, it wasn’t prepared.

Personally, I would have liked the button to be labelled “Release All Monsters Into Facility For Some Reason”.

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