‘Cabin in the Woods’: The True Story of the Buckner Zombie Redneck Torture Family

Of all of the marvelous monsters owned by The Organization in Cabin in the Woods, only one can be chosen to make the ritual sacrifice to appease the Ancient Ones. In the ritual we see in , it’s the Buckners who are chosen — or Zombie Redneck Torture Family as they’re — when Dana reads the words from Patience Buckner’s Diary.

So far, so scary, but did you know that the Buckner Family are based on a real life Redneck Torture Family? Check out everything you need to know about the pain-obsessed Buckners…

The Bloody Benders

Artist's impression of the Benders. Image: Murder by Gaslight

Artist’s impression of the Benders. Image: Murder by Gaslight

The Bender family ran an inn in Labette County, Kansas who killed 11 known victims between 1871 and 1873. The family consisted of old John Bender, whose voice was so croaky nobody could understand him, mother Elvira Bender, whose neighbors called her ‘She-Devil’, half-wit John Jr and charming daughter Kate Bender, who gave seances to locals and was rumored to be in an incestuous relationship with her brother.

The family of serial killers would work together to kill their victims, with Kate providing a distraction to allow John or John Jr to cave their skulls in with a hammer. Elvira or Kate would then swoop in to slash their throats, ensuring death was certain. The Benders stripped the bodies of worldly goods and stored them in the cellar before burying them on the family land.

Artist's impression of the Bender house. Image: Murder by Gaslight

Artist’s impression of the Bender house. Image: Murder by Gaslight

Chillingly, when the Benders’ crimes were finally discovered, police found that many of their victims had little worth stealing, proving that they killed for the thrill of it more than the worldly gains. I’m not sure the Bloody Benders went as far as returning as zombies, but the similarity to the Buckners is striking.

Movie Inspiration

Tobe Hooper's Sawyer Family and Wes Craven's Pluto. Image: Bryanston / Vanguard
Tobe Hooper’s Sawyer Family and Wes Craven’s Pluto. Image: Bryanston / Vanguard

There are many recognizable facets of the Buckner Family that have roots in . The idea of a backwoods family with their own bizarre beliefs and customs is a common one, and the worship of or obsession with pain is likewise notable.

  • Leatherface and the Sawyer Family, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  • Jupiter, Pluto & The Hill People, The Hills Have Eyes
  • Pain-worshipping Cenobites, Hellraiser Franchise
  • Zombies with weapons and worship, Siren games

The Buckner Family: Behind the Makeup

Patience Buckner

Image: Lionsgate / IMDb
Image: Lionsgate / IMDb
  • Actor: Jodelle Ferland
  • Weapon of Choice: Hatchet
  • Kills: The Director

Father Buckner

Image: Lionsgate / IMDb
Image: Lionsgate / IMDb
  • Actor: Dan Shea
  • Kills: Holden McRae (The Scholar)
  • Weapon of Choice: Scythe.

Mother Buckner

Image: Lionsgate / IMDb
Image: Lionsgate / IMDb
  • Actor: Maya Massar
  • Weapon of Choice: broken saw

Judah Buckner

Image: Lionsgate / IMDb
Image: Lionsgate / IMDb
  • Actor: Matt Drake
  • Weapon of Choice: Half a pair of broken shears

Matthew Buckner

Image: Lionsgate / IMDb
Image: Lionsgate / IMDb
  • Actor: Dan Payne
  • Weapon of Choice: A flail made from a busted bear trap on a chain
  • Kills: Jules Louden (‘The Whore’)

”I want to understand the glory of the pain like Matthew, but cutting the flesh makes him have a husband’s bulge and I do not get like that.” – Patience Buckner’s diary

If you wanna have a go at summoning the Zombie Redneck Torture Family yourself…

Dolor supervivo caro.

Dolor sublimis caro.

Dolor igneo animus.

(Pain outlives the flesh, Pain transforms the flesh,Pain ignites the spirit)

Is Cabin in the Woods one of the ?

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