On the white board in the control room when the staff are taking bets on the victims potential killers, both "Deadites" as well as "Angry Molesting Tree" are listed. These are obvious references to the The Evil Dead (1981) films which also featured a cabin in the woods.
During the lake scene, the only student not to jump into the lake is Marty, who remains fully clothed on the dock. This was partially due to Fran Kranz noticeably being in as good if not better shape than the other male students. In the commentary for the film, the writers joke that he was "ripped like muscular Jesus" and assert that if Marty were shown being that fit it would ruin the character. This is partly also why Marty wears baggier clothes than the other students.
Much of Drew Goddard's inspiration for this movie came from his own upbringing in Los Alamos, New Mexico, a place filled with scientists and co-workers all going about their business and living seemingly routine and ordinary lives even though they were building nuclear weapons that could potentially destroy the entire world. He talks about this in DVD special features interviews and commentary.
Fran Kranz received extensive prop and behavior training in order to capture the stoner persona of Marty. He received a two-hour joint rolling session and a separate bong lighting session from expert consultants. In addition to the famous travel-mug bong, a number of more subtle marijuana paraphernalia appear in the film. These include Marty's stash, his secret stash, a smaller pipe, a 'tulip-joint', and a joint kept in the pocket of his pants. The prop crew even designed the film's own brand of rolling papers, 'Smiling Buddha' papers.
The film's release date was postponed because the studio wanted to convert it to 3D, despite objections from Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard. These plans were eventually scrapped, and the film was released only in 2D.
In the dialogue between Sitterson and Hadley about the Buckner family ("they are zombified backwoods idiots, but they are OUR zombified backwoods idiots") spoofs a famous quote from a 1948 Time Magazine article regarding Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza ("he might be a son of a bitch, but he is our son of a bitch").
Maya Massar claimed that it took 8 hours to apply her makeup for the character of Mother Buckner the first time. She noted that after the first application it still took between 4 and 6 hours to apply her makeup for each day of filming.
The film was originally scheduled for release in Australia on the 12th of July, 2012, but was pulled by its distributor, Roadshow Films, in late April. Already incensed by the delayed release, the news of canceling its cinema run altogether prompted backlash from fans who filled Roadshow's Twitter and Facebook feeds with angry hate mail calling for reconsideration.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Among the possible choices on the facility's betting board are the following: Werewolf, Alien Beast, Mutants, Wraiths, Zombies, Reptilius, Clowns, Witches, Sexy Witches, Demons, Hell Lord, Angry Molesting Tree, Giant Snake, Deadites, Mummy, The Bride, The Scarecrow Folk, Snowman, Dragonbat, Vampires, Dismemberment Gobllins, Sugarplum Fairy, Merman, The Reanimated, Unicorn, Huron, Sasquatch/Wendigo/Yeti, Dolls, Zombie Redneck Torture Family, The Doctors, Jack O' Lantern, Giant, Twins and Kevin.
Immediately after an early preview screening with fan Q&A, the first question Director Drew Goddard was asked was, "Will there be a sequel?" To which he responded, "Have you seen the ending to my movie?"
In the shot showing all the creatures in their elevator cells, you can briefly see a Tank, Witch, Boomer and a Hunter, four of the special infected from the Left 4 Dead (2008) game series. Their cameo was included to coincide with a planned tie-in expansion pack for the games where players would have to fight their way through the woods, cabin and facility from the movie. Unfortunately, the tie-in was canceled when MGM's financial problems hit.
During the elevator ride scene, when Dana realizes they have chosen their own creatures to hunt them, she is looking at what appears to be a Cenobite - a creature known from literary works and films by Clive Barker. The Cenobite wears a black latex-like outfit and has multiple saw blades inserted into its skull. It also holds what is known as "Lemarchand's box" in the form of a spherical puzzle - similar to the one Kurt was trying to solve in the basement. The most famous Lemarchand's box is the Lament Configuration, which appears in Clive Barker's Hellraiser (1987) film and its sequels. The Lament Configuration serves as a gateway that summons the Pinhead along with other Cenobites from hell, to punish those who solved the puzzle.
Among the various possible monsters on the control room white board, one of them is just listed as "Kevin." Although Kevin is never seen, in the tie-in book The Cabin in the Woods: The Official Visual Companion co-writer Drew Goddard said that Kevin was meant to be "a sweet-looking guy who seemed like he might work at Best Buy--until he dismembers people."