Here’s one twist you might not have seen coming in 2012’s extremely creative and wickedly clever The Cabin In The Woods: It might not have actually been as creative and clever as this very sentence has just proclaimed it to be. A California author has now hit director and co-writer Drew Goddard, co-writer Joss Whedon, Lionsgate Entertainment, and Lionsgate Films with a $10 million copywright-infrigement lawsuit that claims the film’s story—one steeped in twists, turns, and self-referential gags—was lifted from a novel he published in 2006.
The Wrap reports that Peter Gallagher (no, no, not that Peter Gallagher, though that would certainly make for an eyebrow-raising addition to this story) has filed a lawsuit in U.S. district court that claims that Goddard and Whedon’s feature film and his novel The Little White Trip: A Night In The Pines are “virtually identical.”
Gallagher’s suit hinges on a number of similarities, including:
1. “Like the book, Cabin In The Woods tells the story of five friends (three guys and two girls) between the ages of 17 and 22 who take a trip to a remote cabin in the woods. The cabin’s previous inhabitants were murdered by the father of the family, who returns to terrorize the group of friends.”
2. Additionally, “in the end, it is revealed that the friends are being filmed and manipulated by persons behind the scenes, thus becoming inadvertent characters in a real-life horror show for the enjoyment of others.”
3. “Gallagher even says that the two main female characters in his book are named Julie and Dura, whereas in the film they’re named Jules and Dana.”
4. The Hollywood Reporter adds that both works feature “handsome and scatterbrained men.” (But, like, horror films, amirite?)
5. THR also notes that both the novel and the film feature “certain scenes involving the characters finding strange items in their respective cabins and discovering hidden cameras.”
The Little White Trip was first published in 2006, and Gallagher later registered the book with the Writers Guild of America in 2007. Moreover, the novelist reportedly sold his books around Santa Monica, the Venice Beach boardwalk, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and THR reports that the lawsuit specifically notes “the defendants currently reside and operate out of Santa Monica, California, a short distance from where the Book was sold.”
Gallagher also claims that numerous film producers had expressed interest in his book, but he does not specifically claim that said producers included anyone from Lionsgate or Whedon’s Mutant Enemy production company, which is also named in the suit.
If you’ve got some time on your hands and/or like getting your thrills and chills from reading legal paperwork, you can check out the entire complaint right here. You can also read the first few pages of Gallagher’s book over at Amazon.