- [on why "The Thing" is his favorite horror film] "The Thing" is my favorite horror movie of all time. So much of the DNA is in the DNA of "Cabin" ["The Cabin in the Woods"] in terms of not just the elegance and the elegance of shooting and the elegance of storytelling that Carpenter showed but also just the way he took a very high concept and made it socially relevant, which he always does, and which all great horror films do. But it's very apparent from the beginning of "The Thing" that this is about who we are as people, not just telling a good horror movie. So it was the single most important influence on this movie.
- [on what his favorite horror film is] There's so many, but if I had to pick one I'd probably go with "The Thing."
- [on the difference between writing for TV versus writing for film] - I was very lucky that the two guys I got to work for, Joss Whedon and J.J. Abrams, never treated television like traditional television. They approached it like we were making a feature every week, and that was always the sort of feel to these things. So, I never felt that difference and the thing that's great about television is there is an immediacy; we were writing stuff on "Buffy" that we were shooting the next day and people were looking at us just to know what sets to build. It gets you back into sort of art for art's sake; let's get a barn and put on a show.
- [on what his earliest memory is of watching a horror film] - I watched -- I shouldn't have -- I think around age 7, a babysitter showed us "Sleepaway Camp." ... It traumatized me so badly; if I remember correctly, the beginning of "Sleepaway Camp" is two kids on a boat with their father and the father dies. There's not a paranormal reason for it, it's just an accident and it's terrifying. As a child, I remember being horrified by that because it was the first time I realized that my dad could die, and I was terrified for years.
I remember I had just gone away to summer camp, and I came back, but I had seen this movie that was so terrifying for me. So, I kept dragging my sleeping bag out and sleeping in my parents' hallway and I was embarrassed that it was because I had watched a scary movie. I didn't want to tell them that, but they thought that I had been molested at summer camp. So I actually had to go on a walk with my dad, and he's like, 'Did something horrible happen to you at summer camp? Because you are acting weird,' and I remember because I was so young I didn't know really what that meant, but I did know I was embarrassed that I was so scared so there was definitely a moment where I was like, 'Maybe I should just say yes and then I don't have to admit that it's because this movie terrified me so much. But, luckily, I chose to admit it.
- The horror genre gets you in touch with our primal instincts as a people more than any other genre I can think of. It gives you this chance to sort of reflect on who we are and look at the sort of uglier side that we don't always look at, and have fun with that very thing.
... It lends itself well to sort of freedom.
- [on directing] As far as directing goes, boy I loved the work more than I realized! Filmmaking is incredible; it forces you to examine yourself. Being a writer you sit in a room all by yourself all day and all night sometimes. I loved the aspect of working with 300 people with the creative control, in charge of everything, capturing the images to present the essence and the heart of the story.
- [on "The Cabin in the Woods"] We [Joss Whedon] love horror movies and we set out with the ultimate horror movie in mind, like a love letter to the genre. I love going to horror movies, especially when the genre includes laughing as much as screaming, that's what we set out for with this movie.
- [on "The Cabin in the Woods"] So much of this movie ends up being about mythology in general, and our pagan nature... When you're dealing with archetypes you're dealing with things that have been around forever, and that is very much at the heart of "Cabin in the Woods," that this isn't just about horror movies, this is about mythology, and who we are as a people, and what we keep doing to youth, and how that we have this need, as people, to idealize youth, and then marginalize youth, and then destroy youth. That is a pattern our society falls into, and has fallen into, since we first came out of the caves. I wanted to feel sort of the vibrancy of youth... It was very important that we felt like, you know, these kids feel alive. And the woods and their clothing is colorful. Whereas [with the adults] it's much more 'This is what happens as you get older - life gets more drab, you know, you become... you start to look like everyone else.' The diversity goes down, they're all sort of wearing the same thing. And so I really wanted to feel the difference between adulthood and youth, and that sort of motivated every decision we made, on the production design and costume design.
- [on whether or not "The Cabin in the Woods" is an "end-all-be-all essay" on the horror genre] - I certainly hope and I do not believe the genre will ever die. That was not our intent. It was more of celebrating the genre and why we need it. It was never 'let's make fun of the genre.' It was more interesting to comment on why we create these mythologies - not just in horror - and stories. Why do we need to feel the need to scare ourselves? It seems counterintuitive. That's what got at the soul of this movie and we never wanted to say something definitive.