What is it about horror movies that make them so much fun? I grew up in the 80s during the height of the slasher film craze when names like Jason, Michael and Freddy were just as ubiquitous as Cher or Madonna. I remember watching these cinematic masterpieces thinking of the soon-to-be victim, “I would never do something that stupid”. Fast-forward to now and they’re still making the same fatal mistakes. With Halloween right around the corner and the escalating climate of political chaos I’ve put together a short guide to help you survive should you ever find yourself in a horror movie.
Locate the Nearest Exit
One thing I’ve never understood, you’re being chased through the house by a maniac wearing a glove with knives for fingers and instead of running out the front door you head upstairs. Seriously? Let me guess, you were planning to hide in the bedroom closet, under the bed or behind the shower curtain? Unless there’s a well-stocked panic room or a helicopter waiting on the roof the front door is the safest bet.
The front door is slightly ajar, maybe the doorframe is splintered or a pane of glass is broken. There’s a strange noise, possibly an instruder downstairs. Why is the natural instinct in a horror film to take an unarmed look around rather than call 9-1-1? Safety 101 in real life, when the perp is just some petty burglar not a homicidal, recent psych ward escapee dictates that you call the police and wait until they give you the all clear.
Check the Back
You leave the office late at night, head into the parking garage, get in your car, adjust the rear view mirror and lock eyes with a stranger – in your backseat. I admit I don’t always check my backseat before getting into the car. But presumably an intruder would set off the car alarm and even though everyone else tunes them out nowadays when you unlock your car using the key fob it would give you an audible alert the alarm had recently gone off.
Don’t Give in to Peer Pressure
“Let’s all go skinny dipping in the lake even though it’s the middle of the night.”
“My parents are out of town let’s have a party at my house.”
“How about we all go down into this abandoned mine?”
“Later tonight do you want to drive to a secluded area in the forest and makeout?”
I’ll admit, when I was a teenager I did two of these things and miraculously I survived. But in a horror movie most of these suggestions are made with full knowledge of something recently bad that happened in each of these scenarios. Think to yourself, “Would I feel safe doing this by myself?” If the answer is no I suggest going to the mall, roller rink, miniature golf, arcade or some other safe haven from the 80’s.
Keep Your Eyes Forward
As you may already know hockey mask-wearing, machete-carrying psycho slashers prefer to pursue their victims at a leisurely pace. Zombies are even slower. You can easily outrun them but only if you look straight ahead. If you’re in this situation then you’ve obviously ignored my previous advice about avoiding the secluded forest. The terrain is dark, uneven, riddled with branches and debris. Even if you don’t have cell service your smartphone still has a flashlight to help guide your path. Keep your eyes forward, stay focused on where you’re going and you’ll make it.
Interestingly many of these safety suggestions are rooted in everyday common sense. It’s almost as if horror movies tacitly provide a blueprint for what not to do in a crisis? Of course, this list is by no means meant to be all-inclusive. Perhaps you’ve survived a weekend at Camp Crystal Lake or a party at a friend’s house on Elm St? We’d love for you to share your sage advice below. Happy Halloween!