The career draws easy comparisons with The cabin in the woodsdirector Drew Goddard’s 2012 playful meta horror film.
Mashable’s Jess Joho made the comparison herself in our review, noting that the game has “only slightly fewer meta layers than [the movie’s] an assortment of teen horror movie tropes.” That’s a pointed observation considering the different ways The career speaks the language of horror movies. But Cabin would not be the first point of comparison for Will Byles, who led the new version of Supermassive Games.
I spoke to Byles about The career shortly before its June 10 launch on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. We spent a lot of time talking about how the new game and its predecessors – Supermassive has a knack for effectively creating playable horror movies – engage and improve the language of the movie.
In the midst of it all, I asked Byles to tap into his intimate familiarity with the genre and play a little game. How would he schedule a hypothetical film festival tied to The career? Which films would he choose and why?
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Most of these people are convicted; these are the rules.
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“Absolutely Friday 13“, he said, almost immediately after I asked the question. Which makes sense.
For something else The career In fact, it builds its story around a group of camp counselors trying to survive their last night in the woods. It’s a nod to Jason’s first massacre in 1980, when the monster wearing a hockey mask terrorized Camp Crystal Lake.
Byles also used this example to tie both the movie and the new game to Until dawn, Supermassive’s excellent 2015 horror adventure that he also directed. Both games play with the kinds of adolescent archetypes and clichés that Friday 13 input directly.
“Obviously [with] The careerwe took things from the ‘cliché teenagers’ [from] Until dawn and went a little further. So we went straight to summer camp.”
An American werewolf in London
One of the most legendary werewolf transformations in Hollywood history.
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This 1981 horror-comedy written and directed by John Landis follows a pair of backpackers (David Naughton and Griffin Dunne) after their fateful encounter with the classic movie monster on a trip through England. It’s funny and scary in equal measure, and it’s all made even better by the superlative work of legendary effects and makeup wizard Rick Baker.
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“A bit of a spoiler [in that pick], but I think it was one of Landis’ best films. It was the first movie I’ve ever seen that was really shocking and scary [and it] has the best werewolf transformation scene,” Byles said.
“Werewolves are difficult animals to handle because you go from dog to wolf-man and there’s a whole range [of visuals] Between. Also, the music was fantastic. The juxtaposition of 50s and 60s rock with… an early 80s mentality. Humor. The zombie friend who comes back from worse to worse. It would definitely be in there.”
Evil Dead 2
Whatever they’re watching, you can bet it’s hilarious low-budget and intentionally ridiculous.
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Filmmaker Sam Raimi is getting a lot of attention lately for taking Marvel stories in a different direction with his work on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The horror sensibilities he brought to the MCU were honed by decades of experience, and if there’s a plan for his peculiar marriage of horror and comedy, 1987 Evil Dead 2 that’s where you’ll find it.
Byles sees Raimi’s story of Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) fending off demon attacks from a cabin in the woods as a sort of companion to the American Werewolf take. It’s also a horror-comedy, and the balance it strikes between gross scares and belly-shaking laughs is near perfect.
“It’s super scary but…there was enough humor to make up for it,” Byles said, specifically praising Raimi’s use of “cartoon violence” as one of the keys to striking balance. “It’s really violent, but… you know, [Ash] cuts his hand with a chainsaw. It’s ridiculous, but it’s great.”
You certainly don’t want to know where that blood comes from. (Yeah, that’s the whole shtick of those movies.)
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If you’ve never heard of Final destinationit’s worth taking the time whether or not you plan to play The career. The first movie in the series (and really every one that follows) makes the most of a simple concept: when a group of people escape certain death after Alex (Devon Sawa) has a premonition, it’s turns out to be a simple stay of execution. as a gruesome fate befalls them all, one at a time.
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“[It’s a] a really, really super simple premise and Great violent and gory, but slightly comedic because of the level of violence in there,” Byles said. It’s not just the gore that counts here, he added. Therefore the choice is Final destination rather than a film based on the so-called “torture porn” kind of horror.
“If you look [Final Destination] against something like Hotelthey probably have the same level of violence,” he continued. “Hotel is awful. But in Final destination, when something serious happens… the cinema will laugh. And that’s the right [response]. It’s like, ‘Oh my god, it’s then disgusting that it’s ridiculous.”
One of the greatest horror movie intro sequences of all time
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“I think we should Scream“, Byles said as he pondered his final choice. Wes Craven’s 1996 meta-horror is fundamentally a slasher film, but his active recognition of genre tropes at the time marked the beginning of what The career director described as “postmodern self-referential horror”.
He was particularly interested in the subversion of expectations at play in the film’s intro, which sees a character played by A-list star Drew Barrymore killed off almost immediately. It’s a trick in which Alfred Hitchcock played psychology with the untimely death of Janet Leigh’s character, but not one that Byles remembers seeing a lot since.
“It was so shocking at the time,” he said of the Hitchcock classic. “And Scream did the same.” The shocking permanence of a film’s apparent protagonist who was suddenly killed at the start had a direct impact not only on The careerbut on Until dawn thus, inasmuch as the branching storylines of both games leave all potential character deaths on the table.
“It was a super important thing,” he explained. “You have all these characters here [and] you should be able to keep them alive. But actually, when they die, they’re dead and you can’t go back and heal them again. History has to change.”