The To Watch Pile After Dark Episode 6 Transcript
Good evening, My black-hearted friends, to the latest episode of The To Watch Pile After Dark, my name is Justin McNamara and this is number 46 on the list of my top 50 favourite horror films.
In the early 2000s, a young man appeared in the horror landscape who was one of us, which of course means genre fans hated him… but not me. I immediately became a fan of Eli Roth the second I watched this film…
Cabin Fever was released in 2002 and tells the story of 5 friends, Paul (Rider Strong), Karen (Jordan Ladd), Marcy (Cerina Vincent), Jeff (Joey Kern) and Bert (James DeBello) who decide to have a week away before they go to college. They pick a remote cabin in the woods so they can have absolutely no disturbances. March and Joey intend on spending the week screwing, Paul intends on finally sealing the deal with Karen, which he has been trying for years, and Burt… well Burt just wants to get drunk and shoot animals with his rifle.
Unfortunately, those plans fall apart when the local hermit (Arie Verveen) turns up with what appears to be some kind of disease, and terrorises the friends, mainly due to the fact that Burt accidentally shot him earlier that day and didn’t tell the others.
In defending themselves they accidentally set him on fire and he dies, but not before infecting the water supply. Slowly but surely, one by one, the infection spreads, and panic sets in amongst the friends. The infection is horrific too, insomuch that it is a flesh eating virus that starts by melting your insides, resulting in a bloody cough, and ends in a full body meltdown.
Which of the friends will survive this horrific virus, especially in a town full of racism, mistrust and suspicion… will ANY of them survive.
I have to start by pointing out the real clever thing about this movie: even though the killer is a horrific, Necrotising Fasciitis, no one, and this is a massive spoiler so stop the podcast now I’d you haven’t seen it…no one actually DIES by the virus. Even one who carks it in this film, dies by the hand of someone who is panicking!
This film appeals to two of the film fans that live within me, just as it did the first time I saw it when I reviewed it for the now defunct Australian cult movie website Digital Retribution.
The first is the one that likes the facile teen comedies of the 80s and the other who digs the so-called ‘body horror’ films. The cast of this film actually fit the first fandom perfectly, as the cast are from such TV shows and films as Boy Meets World, Not Another Teen Movie, American Pie and Never Been Kissed, and the second love, well the special effects team took care of that love perfectly, probably due to the fact that Eli Roth’s script was based an experience he had where he apparently contracted a skin infection whilst working on a horse farm in Iceland from rotting hay.
There is also a legend that the sound mixer on the film John Neff was an actual victim of the real virus, and was hospitalised for 13 days with it, and he claimed the make up effects were quite accurate to what he had witnessed.
I first learnt about this film from an issue 33 of Rue Morgue magazine which interested me from the get-go. I was very excited when this film hit the Australian shores and I was a champion of both it, and of Eli Roth even though a large percentage of the genre populace weren’t fans, which I found preposterous as he seemingly was being accused of being a poseur when all I could see was a guy who, like me, loved horror, loved the 80s and wanted to make movies.
Unfortunately, to date I have only made one short film, and it was just for fun. If the opportunity arose again I’d probably jump right on it!
Roth very much wears his influences, both from a writing and a directorial aspect on his sleeve. His script emulates the 80s movies that he clearly loves, with not just horrorific elements, but also with a wry sense of humour and so many scenes are clearly riffing on scenes from Dawn of the Dead, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Night of the Living Dead and others, occasionally to somewhat comic effect. I’ve liked other films of Roth’s as well: Hostel amps up the teen comedy at the beginning and descends into a far more violent second and third act, and is the poster boy for the so-called ‘torture porn’, and Green Inferno, which is a far more complete film (even though it does have one ridiculous element that is out of place) which is a love-letter to the 7os and 80s cannibal flicks.
The funny thing I have found about doing this podcast is that it’s forcing me to rewatch films that I haven’t watched for a long time, and it’s probably been ten years since I saw this, so the revisit was one I completely enjoyed. I spend a lot of time on my website the To Watch Pile watching movies I’ve never seen before that occasionally I forget to rewatch epic stuff from the past.
I’d like to add a warning: I am talking only about the 2002 movie. There was a remake done in 2016, produced by Roth but directed by Travis Z aka Travis Zariwny with a script adapted from Roth’s by Rudy Pearlstein, and I can’t stress enough how much you must avoid that film. It is terrible.
Thanks you for listening to this episode of the To Watch Pile After Dark. Don’t forget you can see the transcript of this episode, and my movie reviews at my blog www.towatchpile.com. Also, listen to my other podcast, The Nerds of Oz, available wherever good podcasts can be heard. Please like and subscribe to the To Watch Pile After Dark, and throw me a review if you have the opportunity.
See you next time.