We’ve all heard the jokes about who is going to die in a horror movie. It might be a token character that isn’t too bright, the people drinking and doing drugs, the virgin always lives (as referenced in my latest review). And there have been rules stated in movies. The most famous of which, I think, would be in Scream.
In the movie Scream, Randy (a complete horror film addict) points out that there are, in fact, three rules to surviving a horror flick.
But, there are actually more rules than those. All those times that you are warning the person on screen NOT to do something…yeah, they are breaking rules.
For instance, coinciding with #3 above, is a very common-sensical but, all too often ignored rule…Don’t go investigate. This includes all noises, basements, cabins in the woods, creepy houses on the block, abandoned buildings, cars, campsites, trailers, power outages when there is no obvious cause (storm, down line, etc.), these kinds of things. These people in movies, and often in real life, hear something outside or in the house and they immediately grab a weapon and go searching for the noise like they are the S.W.A.T. member on point about to lead a raid on a known drug house holding kidnapped children to be sold. Why on earth are you investigating??? Are you that anxious to confront a madman??? Stay put and wait for the perpetrator to come to you…and then kill him. Duh.
Furthermore, if you do have a weapon…Don’t tell them! How often do they holler out “I have a gun!”? Go ahead, give the intruder time to prepare themselves for whatever you have in store for them. Very smart move. Like these killers have ANY concern over whether or not you are armed and if so, with what. As if the warning of the use of a firearm is going to deter Michael…or Jason…or Freddy…or Ghost Face from Scream...or even someone like Ed Gein or Leatherface. It’s just not logical. Any point where you can have the element of full surprise, take advantage man…take advantage.
Also, don’t ask “Who’s there?” IF someone is breaking in to kill you, I highly doubt they are going to announce it. Do these fools really think that Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees is going to holler back “Hey, don’t worry! It’s just me. I’ll be up to stab you in a minute! Just sit tight!” Right. Even in real life, the chances of an intruder announcing his presence and intentions are wickedly slim. The closest we come to an intruder/bad guy announcing their presence would be things like Freddy’s taunts or Jack Torrance warning his wife he’s going to bash her brains in. But still, even at THAT point, the threat has already presented itself and it’s just informing the victim of the method of their demise.
Next, if you are getting creepy phone calls telling you to check on the kids in the house or someone telling you that you are going to die, when you hang up on them (and you will), DO NOT answer when they call back! Don’t answer the phone the twentieth time they call and yell at them or ask them why they are doing this to do or what they want. They are doing what they want. Hello???? Your best bet is to avoid continuing conversation with the person (or thing) that wants to kill you. It’s not like you guys are going to be exchanging Christmas gifts at next year’s Secret Santa gift exchange.
Now, when you are being chased, and you will be because it happens it pretty much every horror movie, there are a few major things to know. First, don’t look back. This will only slow you down and make you lose focus, inevitably causing you to trip and fall (or run into a tree or something), making you easier prey. Second, when running for your life, NEVER go UP. This means UPstairs, UP on a roof, UP in an attic, anything above the main floor where you enter. If you go up and your killer is chasing you then you reduce your options to just two. The first being to jump from a now higher height than where you started from OR going back the way you came and having to confront the killer you are running from. Next, if you are with other people and you are ALL running for your lives, one of them is going to fall. It can’t be helped. There’s one in every group. Leave them behind. DO NOT let your emotions in such a stressful and dangerous situation override your logic and survival instinct. It won’t mean that you don’t care about them. You can send help once you get away. If you go back for them, you’ll both die. And finally, don’t scream and cry out while running away. This gives the killer a perfect idea of where you are. You might as well just yell out “Here I am! Come kill me!” I would think that “silence is golden” in a time like this.
On the flip side of that is never go downstairs as in to the basement or cellar, boiler room, dungeon, makeshift laboratory, etc. You face almost the same problem, just from a hole in the ground where no one can hear you scream. However, if there is a door to the outside from this DOWN destination, then it is okay to go this way. For example, this rule doesn’t apply when you are on, say, the third floor of your house and you are running to the first floor where the front door is. Obviously, that is okay. Which leads me to my next point…
Where do you go? OUT! Leave. If the killer is in your home, stalking you through the house, then leave the privacy (and perceived safety) of your home and get out into the public. Just running around the house from one room to another hiding in closets and under beds isn’t going to do you much good for very long if this killer is determined to get you...and if they broke in to kill you, they are probably pretty mission oriented. Besides, what in your body would possess you to stick around and wait to die? But, don’t go running into the woods or anything like that if you can at all avoid it, okay?
The classic hiding places in movies are also a bad idea. Closets, non-operational vehicles, abandoned businesses and buildings, barns, cellars, attics, bathrooms, under beds, etc. These are all less than brainiac ideas. Places like closets and such especially. It’s almost coffin-like. Plus, once again, it limits your options.
Now, knowing all of this STILL may not ensure your survival BUT, it will definitely give you the upper hand and probably leave you as one of the last few standing. The only sure way to completely avoid death in a horror movie (other than not being in one) is…wait for it…
READ THE SCRIPT!!!!
My Dad used to always joke and say, “Now, if they had just read the script they would have known that was coming.” Other than that, I suggest following the rules we have discussed here. If you decide to wing it…I wish you the best of luck. You probably won’t make it through the first reel but hey, someone has to be the first to die, right? So, on behalf of everyone that is your horror film, we would all like to say, “Thank you” for taking one for the team and being the first to die. We will remember you fondly…safely…and alive…and from afar.
The Countess of the Crypt