With Halloween just a week away, I figured now would be an excellent time to do my first proper post in about a month or so. To read last year’s Halloween post, The Creepypasta Baftas, click here.
So, you’ve discovered that you’re in a horror movie. You’re hiding in the dark with your conventionally attractive group of friends, quivering in fear as a vampire, ghost, werewolf, reanimated serial killer, sentient cloud, hell demon or other cinematic beastie lurks outside accompanied by ominous music. You fear for your life, and wonder what on earth you could ever do to preserve it from the whims of the Evil Celestial Writer Gods.
Well, help is at hand, my fictional friend. What follows is a list of things to avoid if you want to survive during your existence as a horror movie character.
Don’t be clumsy. There is a special section in Movie Character Heaven for people who got killed because they tripped over stuff while running. It’s a very large section.
Don’t be overly intelligent or nerdy. The Big Bad will decide that you know too much and kill you off before you can provide much in the way of help and common sense. Also as a nerdy character you’re more likely to be introspective and split off from the group, making you a sitting duck.
Don’t be religious. The only biblical creatures that exist in the horror movie world are the hellish ones, so unless you want to be proved horribly, horribly right about the stuff you read in revelations, become an atheist on the spot.
Don’t be a bully. Mocking the situation at hand or making things difficult for the other characters is as good as signing your own death warrant, particularly if the characters you pick on are exceptionally vulnerable and/or likeable.
Don’t be a cynic. You will be proved wrong, most likely in a gruesome and painful fashion. This goes double for authority figures such as police, camp counsellors, park rangers and parents.
Don’t be black. It’s an incredibly unfortunate truth that black characters are 150% more likely to die in horror movies and I have no explanation for this besides “the Evil Celestial Writer Gods, along with the rest of the film industry, are pretty damn racist”.
Don’t be too old. As far as The Evil Celestial Writer Gods are concerned, you’ve had your time and are therefore legitimate guilt-free beastie fodder.
Don’t be too young. If you’re a child, then you’re incredibly likely to be possessed or killed off by the Evil Celestial Writer Gods in order to cause the main character further anguish. Also, you have shorter legs than the rest of the cast which isn’t really conducive to running for your life – the best you can do is hope for a bad-ass protective parental character a la Liam Neeson from Taken.
Don’t be blonde. Clearly blondes do have brains, because among other things they get eaten by zombies an awful lot.
Don’t be in a couple. Especially not an attractive one. Couples are often killed within minutes of each other, often while trying to protect their significant other. Which leads me on to my next point…
DON’T HAVE SEX. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON’T HAVE SEX. If the Big Bad happens to catch you with your trousers down, it’s not a particularly dignified way to go.
Don’t assume the killer is dead. In the words of Jesse Eisenberg from the film Zombieland: “always double tap”. Then run them over with your car, then chop them into little pieces and bury each little piece in a different field. That said, the killer is still pretty likely to come back multiple times, especially if the Evil Celestial Writer Gods already have a franchise in mind.
Don’t try to reason with the killer. Horror movie villains are generally engineered to defy all logic and reason, so there’s no point trying to reach their heart—just make a run for it so they don’t try to rip out yours.
Don’t go back for your dog/cat/friend/wife/girlfriend/children. They’re already done for, trust me.
DON’T RUN UPSTAIRS. Unless you have a helicopter ready to swoop in or a trampoline waiting beneath the attic window, you’re really backing yourself into a corner with this one. I would have thought this one was basic common sense, but it’s not just characters in the horror genre who get it wrong – it’s a widespread rookie error.
Don’t stay in the haunted house. If appliances start to move of their own volition, your children begin acting unnaturally and/or you find that your residence is situated over an ancient burial ground, GET OUT.
Stay away from remote areas – forests, fields, small towns, etc. Deserted areas are deserted for a reason. If possible stay in the heart of civilisation where there is plenty of room to hide, plenty of other potential victims to get in the way, and plenty more resources such as food and weapons.
Don’t bother trying to talk to any authority figure about the scary situation cast on you by the Evil Celestial Writer Gods. The chances of them believing you are slim – worse, they may assume you’ve lost your marbles and get some men in white coats to come and poke at you, leaving ample time for the Big Bad of your movie to get on with the disembowelling/zombifying/taking over the city.
Do not search the creepy basement, even if you hear weird noises coming from in there. Especially if you hear weird noises coming from jn there. Or at least, if you’re going to INSIST on checking it out, don’t go in there without a torch. Or, y’know, three. A sufficient light source, at any rate.
DO NOT SPLIT UP. EVER. SAFETY IN NUMBERS, PEOPLE. Do not make the “Scooby Doo mistake”. Seriously, 44 years of cartoons and four terrible movies and they never figured that one out?
Don’t go out unarmed. Going anywhere without something you can use as a weapon is practically inviting the Evil Celestial Writer Gods to give you a grisly death. Furthermore, the viewers will mock your stupidity.
Do not, if possible, use anything that involves a key. Keys in horror movies inexplicably stop working during all high-pressure moments, particularly front door keys and ignition keys.
NEVER read a dodgy looking spell-book out loud, even as a joke. Especially if it’s in Latin. Latin is, for some reason, the go-to evil language in the film industry. God only knows how the Pope manages not to summon a hell-demon every other Tuesday with the amount of Latin he speaks.
Don’t touch the mystical object, no matter how shiny. If you see a weird box / necklace / book / doll / other creepy or mystical-looking object, LEAVE IT ALONE. DO NOT BORROW OR FIDDLE WITH IT. This goes double if you find it in or near a grave – odds are, being dead won’t stop the original owner from trying to take it back again.
Speaking of which…
Never stand in, on, above, below, beside, or anywhere near a grave, tomb, crypt or any other receptacle for dead bodies. No further comment, your honour.
For the love of god, don’t be in a sequel. Not least because sequels are almost always terrible, or at least worse than the original, but also because there has to be a higher death toll in order for the Evil Celestial Writer Gods to feel they’ve one-upped the previous film. If you’re a returning character, then—my condolences. Your chances of dying this time round just increased tenfold. If you are a new character, being introduced in the sequel, then… please reconsider your career choices. Seriously.
And so ends the list! Just make sure to do every one of these things and you should be fine.