A q+a with Fran Kranz, star of the new film The Cabin in the Woods

By Adam Lippe

Below is a q+a with actor Fran Kranz, who plays Marty, the resident stoner in the new meta-horror-comedy The Cabin in the Woods. It was recorded after a screening of the film on April 9th in Philadelphia. The Cabin in the Woods is the feature directing debut of Cloverfield writer Drew Goddard. It was produced under the aegis of Joss Whedon with whom Goddard also wrote a handful of episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel for.

Kranz is generally enthusiastic about the film, as he should be, and the interviewer (who I believe said that she was from Hitfix.com) leads Kranz into talking about the troubled distribution history of The Cabin in the Woods (it was shelved for three years during which time the studio that made it, MGM, went bankrupt), the anxiety over the threat of a post-3D conversion, and how the film has so many ideas that it would take a lot of explanation to spoil it.

Personally, I’m on board with most of what Fran has to stay, though he’s led a bit astray by the audience’s questions such as when he flounders while defending the deliberately generic nature of the title. But his most confused answer comes when he criticizes the Saw and Hostel franchises as mindless torture porn without anything to say. As a descriptor, torture porn is questionable reductive analysis, but in this case it’s also misguided because Hostel Part II, like The Cabin in the Woods, is an astute analysis of horror film stereotypes and a smart look behind the curtain of villainous motivations. Mr. Kranz also seems unaware that the studio that he praises for picking up The Cabin in the Woods for distribution, Lions Gate, who he claims “gets it,” is the very studio that was built on the backs of the Saw and Hostel franchises, even going 3D for the final Saw film last year.

Regardless of all of that, the q+a moves briskly, and goes in the occasional odd direction when Kranz throws some vitriol at Gus Van Sant and Michael Haneke for their recent remakes. And despite Fran’s insistence that The Cabin in the Woods is un-spoilable, the final question has Kranz revealing a few small secrets, but nothing overly detrimental. The sound quality of the recording, apart from some slight ambient noise and rustling in the first minute, is generally excellent.

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Whenever there’s a genre parody or ode to a specific era of films, such as Black Dynamite’s mocking of Blaxploitation films or Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, the second half of Grindhouse, the danger is that the film might fall into the trap of either being condescending without any particular insight, or so faithful that it becomes the very flawed thing it is emulating.

Black Dynamite has nothing new to say about Blaxploitation films, it just does a decent job of copying what an inept [...]


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Featured Quote (written by me)

On Cold Fish:

Though the 16 year old me described the 1994 weepie Angie, starring Geena Davis as a Brooklyn mother raising her new baby alone, as “maudlin and melodramatic,” Roger Ebert, during his TV review, referring to the multitude of soap-operaish problems piling up on the titular character, suggested that it was only in Hollywood where Angie would get a happy ending. “If they made this movie in France, Angie would have shot herself.”

Well Cold Fish was made in Japan, where Angie would have shot herself and that would have been the happy ending.