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Top 10 Craziest Deaths In Cabin In The Woods

There has never been a horror movie quite like "The Cabin in the Woods." Released in 2012 after years of delays, Drew Goddard's directorial debut is a metafictional masterpiece, simultaneously a love letter to and a scathing critique of its own genre. It follows five college kids (each embodying suspiciously familiar traits) who take a trip to a remote location for a weekend of sex, drugs, and nightmarish monsters — your standard horror flick set-up. In "Cabin," however, these particular college students and their adventures are being watched and manipulated by a group of mysterious individuals in a hidden control center, who seem to have an interest in events playing out a certain way.

"Cabin in the Woods" is very much a horror film in its own right, and it gets quite creative when it comes to killing off its cast. But these deaths aren't separate from the movie's larger narrative. It's not just that the characters get iced in unique ways — it's that those unique ways could only be possible in a movie with this specific premise, and things only escalate when that premise is fully realized in a way most movies wouldn't dare imagine. As a result, examining the craziest deaths in "Cabin in the Woods" gives us a surprisingly clear picture of what makes it special.

Spoiling this film should be a crime that comes with a prison sentence — so if you haven't seen it, make your escape now!

10. Curt crashes his motorcycle

Despite the strangeness of the scenario, "Cabin in the Woods" doesn't start getting off-the-rails until the last third of the movie. By then, we've seemingly lost two of the five vacationing victims to their undead attackers: Jules (decapitated after daring to try and have sex in a horror movie) and Marty (dragged into a grave and stabbed to death) – but neither of these deaths are terribly creative, and one didn't actually happen. It's the death of Curt (played by a pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth) that really kicks things off.

After escaping the titular cabin and making it to their van, Curt, Dana, and Holden attempt to leave the area by driving back through the mountain tunnel they came through earlier in the film — only to have it collapse. Maddeningly, they can see the road on the other side, but can't cross the ravine the tunnel was bridging. That is, until Curt comes up with the idea to jump over the ravine with his motorcycle.

Savvy viewers knew exactly what was coming: Back when the kids first arrived, we saw a bird attempt to fly across this same ravine, only to smash into an invisible wall. But that knowledge doesn't help when Curt's attempted heroics end with his body dashed against that same wall, bouncing against it, alongside the pieces of the motorcycle, on their way down into the chasm. It's the first death that could only happen in "Cabin in the Woods."

9. Holden gets it in the neck

On its face, this one doesn't seem all that insane, especially compared to everything coming next. Sure, it's a guy getting stabbed through the neck with a hay hook, but it's just a guy getting stabbed through the neck with a hay hook. "Cabin in the Woods" generally has higher standards for craziness. What's nuts about Holden's death, however, is that it comes 97 seconds after Curt's death in the motorcycle crash.

"Cabin in the Woods" doesn't do a ton of jump scares or out-of-nowhere kills  — it's not trying to surprise you with the thing you didn't see around the corner, so much as with the larger mechanisms behind the narrative itself. This one, however, is a shocker. Curt just died, meaning Dana and Holden are the only kids left. Dana is finally starting to put the pieces together about what's really going on, and she and Holden have a romantic subplot dating back almost to the beginning of the film, so you'd expect them to hang around as a couple for a least a little while longer.

But, nope. Holden dies a minute and a half after Curt does, as he and Dana drive back toward the cabin, not knowing that the patriarch of the zombified Buckner family was hiding in the back. The van crashes into the lake, and the movie is essentially over just as Act 3 was starting ... because it's time for the real Act 3 to begin.

8. An entire security team gets wasted

The third act of "Cabin in the Woods" is one of most delightfully mad sequences ever committed to film. It begins when Dana, who the audience is led to believe will be the last survivor (the final girl, if you will) is rescued by Marty, who wasn't actually stabbed to death after all. Together, they discover an elevator leading down into "the Facility," which houses, to their horror, "an army of nightmare creatures." Every kind of monster, from every kind of horror film in human history, is contained in an individual holding cell within the Facility, ready to be unleashed at any moment upon a pack of unsuspecting teens.

Of course, Dana and Marty are not supposed to be seeing these things, so the Facility sends a security team to kill them. Dana and Marty take cover from the team's gunfire in a control booth near a series of elevators, where Dana notices a large button marked "System Purge."

Why does this button exist? Unclear. But when Dana pushes it, all the Facility's monsters are released, and the first thing they do is make short but spectacular work of the security team. Highlights of the slaughter include a guy getting ripped in half by something called "Dismemberment Goblins," another guy getting dragged away by an evil tree (after which a fountain of blood erupts from their offscreen location) and a witch making off with a security guard's soul. The crazy death party has officially begun.

7. Mowed down by the Dragonbat

One of the things the "System Purge" sequence pays off is the White Board from an earlier scene, in which the employees of the Facility place bets on which monster the kids will unleash. It seems like a one-off joke that the board has things like werewolves, giant snakes and even Deadites from the "Evil Dead" movies — until you actually see all those things tearing through various staff members. One of the most memorable monsters in either scene is the Dragonbat, which is exactly what it sounds like and probably a reference to the horror genre's tendency towards nightmarish animal hybrids.

Marty and Dana hide from the first wave of the carnage in the control booth, but they're forced out when the Dragonbat comes crashing through the window, screeching at them in all its gore-stained glory. After fleeing through the scene of bloody destruction outside the booth (amid further predatory screams from the Dragonbat), they run into a scientist who briefly tries to assist them, telling them that the north exit is blocked. Unfortunately, the scientist immediately gets taken out by the Dragonbat in a murderous flash, the creature's momentum carrying both it and its prey all the way through a nearby wall. He's there, and then he's gone. Not the most creative death in the world, but it's the only death in 100-plus years of cinematic history that has ever involved a Dragonbat, so it certainly warrants a shout-out. 

6. Impaled by a unicorn

Sharp-eyed viewers may have noticed another interesting creature on the White Board in that earlier scene: a unicorn. These mythical creatures are far from a staple of horror movies — in fact, most people consider them adorable — but sure enough, the unicorn does appear during the system purge. And it does, in fact, kill somebody, in uncharacteristically vicious fashion. 

Details regarding the victim are unknown, but we do see the unicorn charge him, impale him with its horn, and then take the horn back out so it can impale him again. That's the angriest unicorn, ever. Granted, we'd be angry too if we'd been captured and imprisoned in the facility for who knows how long, but even beyond that, unicorns are notoriously fearsome beasts in mythological history. There's a reason only virgin women were supposedly able to tame them — they would probably shank anyone else who tried to get close.

It is a bit of a shame that we don't get more of the unicorn in "Cabin in the Woods," considering the plot point that Dana is playing the traditional role of the virgin in the horror movie, despite not actually being a virgin. Still, it remains majestically murderous in its one scene, and we can't think of any other film that has a unicorn deciding that some dude needs to die (then stabs him again just to make sure). The brief sample of innocent, holy music as it happens only serves as icing on the cake.

5. Truman blows himself up

It's all well and good to enjoy the deaths of nameless Facility employees, but when that appetizer is over, it's time for the main course: the Facility employees we know. The first one to go is security officer Daniel Truman, and it's a shame  — Truman seems like a genuinely decent guy, spending most of his screen time questioning what the Facility does and serving as the not-yet-jaded audience stand-in for the stuff happening inside the control room. He's a crucial character, as his lack of experience allows control room operators Hadley and Sitterson to explain things to him, thus also explaining them to us, while also providing the sole voice of dissent in the building (though his dissent is mild, at best).

But while Truman's death is regretful, we can't complain about how he goes out. When the control room is breached by multiple monsters, Truman takes on the Scarecrow Folk, who shrug off his gunfire and surround him, dragging him to the ground. The Scarecrow Folk then start stabbing Truman repeatedly in the gut, tearing him open and pulling out his internal organs while he's still alive. In a final, desperate act, Truman sets off a grenade, blowing up both the Scarecrow Folk and himself. If Truman had to die, he at least took some monsters with him — one of the few times we see any of the monsters being killed.

4. Hadley sees a Merman

Steve Hadley (played by Bradley Whitford) is one of the standout characters in "Cabin in the Woods," and responsible for a large portion of the film's comedy. He has clearly been doing this job for a very long time, but there's one thing he's always wanted. 

We get hints of it when his partner, Sitterson, mockingly refers to him as "Aquaman" during the monster betting, as well as when Curt picks up a mysterious conch before getting distracted by another monster summoning item in the cabin basement. After the kids unwittingly choose their monster and reanimate the terrifying Buckner family, Hadley laments their decision. "I am never gonna see a Merman," he says, to which Sitterson replies: "Dude, be thankful. Those things are terrifying. And the clean-up on them is a nightmare."

When Truman blows himself up, the force of the explosion sends Hadley flying across the room, where he struggles to regain his senses while lying prone on the floor. As his vision starts to clear, he sees a strange creature crawling slowly toward him. At long last, Hadley got to see a Merman after all, and it is, indeed, terrifying. The irony is lost on no one, including Hadley himself, whose final words before the Merman's jaws close around his face are "Aw, come on!"

Special mention in this death goes to Hadley's blood spurting out of the Merman's blowhole, which is just the absolute best kind of disgusting — even if it will be a nightmare to clean up.

3. Lin gets snatched by the Kraken

After Hadley's death, the only people left alive in the control room are Sitterson and Wendy Lin from the chemical department who, as played by Amy Acker, is a force of nervous consternation throughout the film. Unfortunately, Lin doesn't make it out of the control room either — Sitterson manages to open a trap door to a hidden passage below, but before Lin can descend, a giant tentacle tears through the ceiling, wraps around her, and drags her away screaming. Sitterson can only look on in awe and terror.

It's a quick moment (so quick we couldn't even get a good screenshot) and not a graphic one, but it's still pretty insane to watch what had been a fairly major character suddenly snatched by a tentacle, never to be seen again. It's even more insane when you realize that the monster that got Lin is the Kraken, the fabled sea monster of enormous size and appetite, featured as the primary monster in films like "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Clash of the Titans." Seriously, "Cabin in the Woods?" First a unicorn and now the Kraken? How did the Facility even capture it, let alone find a way to keep it in one of those holding cells? Regardless, the Kraken is the monster that got Lin, and that makes her death amazing by default.

2. An act of Patience

When the gruesome system purge sequence is completed and most of the cast are dead, "Cabin in the Woods" transitions into its final scene, in which the full truth of what has been happening is laid bare. As explained to Dana and Marty by the Director (played by Sigourney Weaver in a phenomenal reveal), the five friends were the subjects of a ritual sacrifice, which must be performed regularly to appease the gods that slumber beneath the world. This sacrifice, which has presumably been carried on for decades if not centuries, takes the form of a horror movie, with the implication being that all horror movies are records of previous sacrifices. Tropes like the promiscuous girl being the first to die, the creepy old man who warns the kids to turn back at the beginning, and the idea of the final girl are all part of the ritual. And the Director intends to complete it.

Appropriately, the Director is foiled in this endeavor by the unlikeliest of individuals: Patience Buckner, the youngest of the zombie Buckner family, whose tragic diary was the catalyst for their revival. As the Director is about to shoot Marty in the head (Dana's death is optional, given her role as the virgin) Patience, who has slowly made her way down into the ritual chamber, buries her hatchet in the director's head. When Marty kicks the Director's body into the pit containing the sleeping Ancient Ones, Patience is dragged down with it.

1. Humanity dies

With the Director dead, Dana and Marty are the last survivors of the Facility, huddled together in the ritual chamber. Both are wounded and bloody, and Dana is dying after a werewolf attack. At this point, both of them are well aware that they're the only people who can save the world from the Ancient Ones — the other horror movie rituals in other countries like Sweden and Japan have all failed to kill their targets, meaning that if the American ritual fails, too, the Ancient Ones will rise and destroy all of humanity. Only Marty's death can stop them. 

However, in the final moments of the film, he and Dana instead smoke a joint together, resigning themselves to the end of the world. Sure, they could save it, but is a world that requires the systematic, brutal deaths of children and young people to survive really worth saving? In the end, Dana and Marty would rather let all of humanity die than turn on one another in the service of such a cruel, unjust system.

And so, they do. The Ancient Ones rise, depicted onscreen by a single, massive hand bursting out of the earth where the cabin was located, sending trees flying around it, before angrily coming down, sealing humanity's fate. In the process, "Cabin in the Woods" realizes its own destiny as one of the greatest horror films ever made, and cements it by killing off the entire planet. Now that's a crazy death.