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Published:October 30th, 2007 15:08 EST
A Survival Guide To Horror Movies

A Survival Guide To Horror Movies

By Maria Grella

Important Tips On How To Make It Out Alive

We sit, in the safety of a darkened theatre or at home, snuggled up in our favorite spot, and watch the story of the horror movie before us. We try to guess what`s going to happen, bracing ourselves for the next scene, where yet another victim suffers at the hands of the killer/animal/paranormal being, and we shudder "hopefully over the scare factor, but more probably due to the stupidity of the actor or actress. Who goes UP the stairs for safety? Why explore the creepy basement without a flashlight AND a weapon? Quit falling down and run, fool! No wonder that character is toast!

Though horror movies have been around for many years now, the formula still remains the same. It`s usually a psycho lunatic, or a crazed monster, or maybe an evil spirit, who seeks revenge, or has a thirst for blood, or is possessed with the need to kill, and goes after a group of young people, murdering most of them in the most ridiculous manner, and predictably, some silly woman gets her exaggerated death scene where she almost makes it out alive, or does "until the unavoidable sequel. The Scream " trilogy explored this taboo subject, making fun of horror films within a horror film. Circulating the net is a list of rules on how to survive a scary movie. Since the witching hour is upon us, here are a few of the guidelines once more. (Note:  these tips are purely for entertainment purposes only. While most suggestions may be applied to real life, the rules are drastically different in the horror genre.)

Never read a book of spells, dark magic or demon summoning aloud, even as a joke. Also, it`s probably not a good idea to solve puzzles that open portals to the other world or to Hell. While literacy helps empower you by becoming well-informed and puzzles are a great way to exercise the brain, it`s advisable to stay away from spell books and magical puzzles that may be "oh, what`s the word?...evil. You would think this is all common sense, but as shown through experience in horror movies, and life in general, common sense is NOT all that common. 

Say you`re minding your own business when all of a sudden you hear a screech, a boom, a crash, and you have the bright idea of looking for the source of the terrifying noise. If you can`t locate the origin, or have come to the only "logical` conclusion that it must have been the cat/dog/squirrel, then run. FAST.

Do not go searching a house, especially the basement, if the power has just gone out. Another no-brainer. Think to yourself, why has the electricity left you in complete darkness? Is there a thunderstorm going on outside? Was someone using the hairdryer and a fuse blew out? Possibly, but not likely. If you`re in a horror movie, you better believe some serious crap is about to go down. Good advice:  get a flashlight, a weapon, a phone AND a crew to go with you downstairs. Best advice:  get out "while you still can. 

Which reminds me, when you have the benefit of numbers, never, EVER pair off or go alone. The saying "safety in numbers` is not just a precautionary old wives` tale. It`s true. Stay together. As a matter of fact, if anyone in your group even suggests that you split up, get rid of them. That little instigator will get himself, you and others killed, or is hoping to capture you for torture later on. Cut your losses, and cut them loose. The same holds true if your buddy suddenly becomes fascinated with blood, develops glowing eyes, hisses, is foaming at the mouth or has a five o`clock shadow "all the time.

Children are so precious. They have that cherubic look and innocent demeanor that make everyone enchanted by them. However, if you seem to notice that they can communicate with the other world, have the ability to control things through telekinesis, or perhaps they manage to sneak up on you without a sound "steer clear of them. Give them up for adoption, leave them in a grocery store, or move to a community that doesn`t allow anyone under the age of 13. And, if the barber mentions to you the odd birth marks on your child`s neck in the shape of "666,` abandon them at the shop and hope Angelina Jolie comes by to adopt him.

Furthermore, if your kids begin speaking to you in Latin or any other language that they shouldn`t know, forget the specialists and shoot them in the head. The same goes for vocal tricks. If out of the blue little Susie, who normally sounds like a chipmunk, speaks in a deep, troubling baritone, spewing religious rhetoric and you haven`t been to a church or temple in a long while, sacrifice them. You can always procreate another child, but not if you`re dead. Warning:  this may be difficult, as children are cute and will probably turn on the extra charm as you`re about to end their life. It`s a last minute resort to let your guard down before the tables get turned. Brush it off and do it anyway. 
Clowns are bad news. Their purpose is not to give you a Happy Meal, twist balloons into animal shapes or even teach you how to crunk. In a horror film, they have razor sharp teeth and ill-will against any and every one who comes across their path. Keep away or the joke will be on you.

Most times in a scary movie, you are given sage warnings from people who may seem one step away from the insane asylum. You might think they`re crazy and if you do, you`ll be kicking yourself later. If the locals say the woods are haunted, a neighbor tells you not to fall asleep, or a trusted friend warns to not watch a videocassette that causes you die seven days later, take heed and listen to them!

Do not under any circumstances hike in spooky woods supposedly haunted by a witch, even if you think you`re prepared. You may have a tent, food, water, boots, a compass, a cell phone, a back-up cell phone, Onstar, a detailed, glow in the dark laminated map, an attack dog, and a large group of wilderness experts with you, but rest assured, you STILL won`t be ready to take on whatever conditions lie in wait.
Should you be traveling and stumble upon a quaint little town that looks deserted or abandoned, it`s probably for a reason. This rustic village is a death trap waiting to happen. Slam on the gas, and keep on going. If you have to use the bathroom, need to grab something to eat, or just want to explore the desolate town, you deserve what you get. Think Sammy Hagar, and repeat, "I can`t drive 55,` as you speed away to a major populated area. 

Side note:  Beware of local law enforcement. While everyone should respect authority, if you get pulled over by a toothless, creepy, mountain of a sheriff who asks you to step out of your vehicle, that`s about the time you might want to take your chances and play fugitive. 

Always keep a spare tank of gas with you. If this is not possible, make sure the tank is full before your road trip. If your car runs out of fuel or breaks down late at night, don`t go to the nearby deserted looking house or the fabulous old mansion/castle on the hill. You`re probably a sitting duck staying in the car until daylight, but your goose is definitely cooked if you go inside.

Any real estate agent will tell you that it`s all about location, location, location. So, it`s best to stay away from certain geographical areas, such as Amityville, Elm Street, Transylvania, Nilbog, or any small town in Maine. Additionally, if you`re buying or renting a house that is built on, next door to, or within walking distance to sacred soil, whether it be a cemetery or an Indian burial ground, get out. And if you think a priest`s blessing will protect you, think again. The holy father is often no match for the evil spirit(s) in horror movies. There`s a strong chance Satan`s offspring or the devil himself will find a way in; he always does, no matter what security system you have in place. The same holds true should your appliances take it upon themselves to operate without human assistance, electricity or battery power. Don`t bother packing a bag; just get thee to the nearest hotel.

Speaking of accommodations, you`re going to need to steer clear of the Bates Motel or the glorious Overlook Hotel. Though the rates or the view may be unbeatable, so will your fate. Take Bing Crosby`s advice, and "go to the Holiday Inn.`

Saying any variation of I`ll be right back, " whether in a joking manner or in a serious conversation, is signing away your life. The advice is the same for asking Who`s there? " It doesn`t matter who it is; you don`t want to know.

Don`t fool around with recombinant DNA technology unless you`re sure you know what you are doing. Rashes and acne breakouts will be the least of your concerns.

The dumb, funny and attractive people never survive. Don`t get too attached. It`s for the best.

Avoid that pale sexy charmer with unusually long incisors and no mirror reflection, as well as the hairy guy with wolfish tendencies. One bite and you`re done for. Others to avoid are the little man with the shamrock hat, the deformed large guy with the chainsaw fetish, and the extremely cultured psychiatrist with a penchant for raw food. 
Sex = Death. Unfortunate, but true.

Always be nice to the shy, quiet, unpopular girl in school. When she mysteriously wins prom queen and falls victim to a vicious joke of, say, pig`s blood being dumped on her custom-made pink couture gown, she`s gonna go berserk. Maybe you`ll be shown mercy if you play nice. 
NEVER EVER spy on the neighbors and get into their twisted world. Keep your nose out of other people`s lives! You`ll be sucked in, there`ll be a misunderstanding, and just like that you`re in peril. Mind your bees-wax.

If your husband abruptly makes friends with the cute elderly couple next door, call a divorce attorney, stat! The pair of old fragile folks are in all probability freaky Satan worshippers who will grant you and your husband great success, providing that you deliver the Devil`s spawn from your loins. That should be a deal breaker for any marriage.

If you groggily awaken to find your leg chained to a wall in what looks like an abandoned warehouse, bathroom or underground prison, and you can`t quite remember how you got there, or why there`s a tape recorder or video marked "play me` "put on your thinking cap and try not to panic. The tape is going to give you riddles to figure out that have very easy answers to ensure the safety of you or your loved ones. Don`t complicate matters; the questions or tasks you need to solve are not the theory of relativity. Practice the K.I.S.S. method, (keep it simple stupid) and there`ll be a higher possibility of escaping. 

Séances, Ouija boards and talking dolls are a major no-no. Whether you believe or not, the paranormal have a way of presenting themselves at the least opportune time, wreaking havoc on the mortal world. Why trap a soul here on Earth if it can be avoided? As for the Disney tale of Toy Story, " where toys come to life and are funny, cute and super awesome "forget about it. If a doll comes to life in a scary movie, it ain`t to play with you. Removing the batteries won`t help, because chances are, it isn`t running on battery power. It`s possessed and dangerous "and after you.

Career opportunities to pass up include babysitting, phone hotline centers, lifeguard and camp counselor. This should go without saying, but NEVER babysit on Halloween. I know life is expensive and it may be easy money, but there`s always a killer waiting to get you while you`re preoccupied with caring for the little tykes. And while it may be rewarding to help others, the hotlines in a scary movie are just another source of harassment for a crazed stalker. If sun and fun is what you care about, exclude lifeguarding on Amity Island. No Baywatch babe would be caught dead in shark infested waters. Finally, a peaceful lakeside setting might be great if you`re the outdoorsy type, but any job offers you receive to mentor youth at Camp Crystal Lake should be shunned. You`ll never get to spend what you earn, seeing as you`ll be mutilated beyond belief by the end of summer.

Never watch a horror movie while you`re in a horror movie. Ever heard of irony?

If you`re chillin` and everything seems too perfect, then listen closely to your surroundings. If you all of a sudden hear a threatening piano melody, pristine bells, a hollow hard-hitting beat with heavy percussion, or anything that sounds like a chasing tune, RUN! Scary music is a dead give away to drastic situations.

If you sense someone or something is behind you, don`t bother turning around to check. It`s always behind you, a-waiting the perfect moment. Swing the mirrored medicine cabinet closed if you don`t believe me, or go ahead and back out of a room and into another without looking. This is not a time to be curious or to choose between flight or fight; go with your instincts and run.

Ok, say the killer is standing three feet in front of you, and he`s coming at ya full force. Don`t just stand there and scream while he comes running towards you. This may come as a shock, but he DOES in fact intend to kill you. What are you waiting for? Run!

If you`re running away from the monster/killer, expect to trip, slip and/or fall down at least twice, more if you`re female. You could be an Olympic gold medalist in real life, but in the movies, you`re a lumbering oaf who can barely put one foot in front of another. Also note, in spite of the fact that you are running and the monster is merely blundering their way along, it`s still moving fast enough to catch up with you. Call it movie magic, but one minute you`re way ahead, the next you`re face to face. Step lightly, move quickly, and get up pronto!

When you find yourself being chased, and you WILL find yourself in this predicament, don`t stop to lean against the wall or window thinking that you lost him. He/She/They/It will just pop up/burst through/jump over/appear out of nowhere and kill you. 

If you can`t outrun the killer, and chances are slim that you would be able to anyway, find a GOOD hiding place. A closet is not an ideal spot to take cover, and neither is a meat factory nor the hull of a ship out to sea. Concealing yourself in an enclosed area with only one way in and out is just as good as standing still and waiting for the monster to take you down. And as you are trying to hide from the monster, do NOT make a sound. What`s the point of hiding if you`re going to give away your location by panting, screaming and crying? One more tip, going UPSTAIRS is not suggested. What exactly is your exit strategy here? Unless you`re Bill Gates, Donald Trump or Oprah Winfrey and happen to have a helicopter at your beck and call on the roof, stay on the damn first floor.

NEVER get into a car without checking the backseat first. Good rule for real life, too.

Say you make it outside and are miles ahead of the maniac. Don`t bother jumping into the nearest vehicle for an easy escape. You should know better by now. Even if the car is brand spanking new, it won`t start. Yelling at it and turning the key frantically in the ignition isn`t gonna help either. Though there may be a slim chance it could start at the last possible second, do you really want to wait around to see those odds through?

Never go back for any reason. Misplace your wallet or car keys? Has your boyfriend conspicuously gone missing? Did little Toto off and run away? Who knows and who cares! Consider them gone for good. As the saying goes, "finders keepers,` and you don`t want to find who`s keeping your missing items.

When you do give in to the obvious and realize you`re mere moments away from death, but stubbornness takes over, giving you the irrational idea that you could kick some ass "please choose your weapon wisely. A butter knife won`t cut it, a chair is unwise, and throwing anything at the phenomenon is worthless if you miss. Get it right the first time because you might not get a second go "round.

Never wait until you NEED the gun to check if it`s loaded. Like the getaway car, it just won`t work.

When it appears that you have killed the monster, murderer, psycho or animal, never, EVER check to see if it`s really dead. Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Dracula, and any zombie ever, always manage to lull the less informed into a false sense of security. Use your head, for goodness` sakes! Aim for the brain, or run like hell.
NEVER EVER try to unmask the killer, even if you`ve sure he`s dead. If you manage to see who it is behind the hysteria, his face will be the last you see.

If the names John Carpenter, Wes Craven or Stephen King appear in the credits of your movie, you`re screwed.

When the inevitable happens, and let`s face it, if you`re in a horror movie, the inevitable WILL happen, it`s helpful to have a few tips at hand to help you along the two hour massacre that`s before you. Yet disasters will always occur. Despite these golden guidelines, if you do manage to be stabbed, chopped up, carved beyond recognition, shot, blasted into another dimension, possessed by evil and thrown out of a window, hit by a car, suffocated, choked, drowned, burned alive "basically dead as a door nail, try to do so in a low-budget gore-fest with a plot so full of holes it looks like Swiss cheese. That way, you can come back in the sequel, no questions asked! Happy Halloween!


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