Horror Film Wisdom : (Or how to avoid getting killed in a Horror flick)
When it seems that you've killed the monster, never check to see if it's really dead.
If you find that your house is built upon or near a cemetery, was once a church used for black masses, had previous inhabitants who went mad or committed suicide or died in some horrible fashion or who performed necrophilia or satanic practices, move away immediately. Never read a book of demon summoning aloud, even as a joke. Do not search the basement, especially when the power has just gone out. If your children speak to you in Latin or any other language which they do not know, or if they speak using a voice other than their own, shoot them at once. It will save you a lot of grief in the long run. Note: it's unlikely they'll die easy, so be prepared. When you have the benefit of numbers, never pair off or go it alone. If the gang plans a fun midnight party in the town's old abandoned mansion, don't tag along. Especially don't tag along if everyone's going as couples, except you're the odd guy/gal out. And if you're the gang's jokester, you may as well write up your last will and testament while you're driving with them to the place. As a general rule, don't solve puzzles that open portals to Hell. Never stand in, on, above, below, beside, or anywhere near a grave, tomb, crypt, mausoleum, or other domicile of the dead. If you're searching for something which caused a noise and find out that it's just the cat, leave the room immediately if you value your life. If appliances start operating by themselves, move out. Do not take (or borrow) anything from the dead. Don't fool with recombinant DNA technology unless you're sure you know what you are doing. If you're running from the monster, expect to trip or fall down at least twice, more if you are female. Also note that, although you are running and the monster is merely shambling along, it's still moving fast enough to catch up with you. If your companions suddenly begin to exhibit uncharacteristic behaviour such as hissing, fascination for blood, glowing eyes, increasing hairiness, and so on, get away from them as fast as possible. Stay away from certain geographical locations, some of which are listed here: Amityville, Elm Street, Transylvania, Nilbog (God help you if you recognize this one), the Bermuda Triangle, or any small town in Maine or Massachusetts. If your car runs out of gas at night, do not go to the nearby deserted-looking house to phone for help. Beware of strangers bearing tools such as chain saws, staple guns, hedge trimmers, electric carving knives, combines, lawnmowers, butane torches, soldering irons, band saws, weed-whackers or any device made from deceased companions. Listen closely to the soundtrack; and pay attention to the audience, since they are usually far more intelligent than you could ever hope to be. Never, never, NEVER try to communicate with something icky because "there's so much we can learn from them". Don't make fun of or play with dead things. If you find a town which looks deserted, it's probably for a reason. Take the hint and stay away. If a meteor strikes nearby, move out of town. When something bad is chasing you, bear in mind that when you try to start your car, no matter how reliable the vehicle is normally, you'll have to crank the engine over many times before it will fire up. If you walk into the local abandoned-looking church to seek help or shelter, and you notice that the crucifix is mounted upside down, turn around and go back outside as quietly as possible. When you happen to be one of the fortunate ones and actually make it through the film alive, never, NEVER sign on to do a sequel. If you do, expect to depart this world in the first five minutes. Never have sex in the bunk beds of recently renovated summer camps. Strange lights are seldom harbingers of joy. People arriving to rescue you generally get ambushed by the monster, so don't rely on them as your only means of escape. In fact, expect to be surprised and delayed by encountering their flayed corpse at some point. On no account do ANYTHING because someone dares you to. If a small band of children appear to be smarter then the adults that are around them, be cautious. If they stay together in a small, secretive group, and display nothing but hostility towards their elders, authority, and the church, leave town at once. If you wish to stay, be as kind to the children as possible, but expect to die anyway because you are inferior to them. If you assist the villain of the film, do not expect gratitude in exchange for your services. In fact, do not expect anything other then death, which will come in the final minutes of the film and usually over the girl you have become attracted to, but the villain wants as their own. If any animals, such as Birds, Piranha, Spiders, etc. begin to exhibit behaviour that seems a bit more hostile towards mankind than normal, immediately call in the authorities, get out of that town, and do not try to talk to any scientist who specializes in that animal (ornithologists and the like for they will not believe you. Whatever you do, DO NOT keep pets such as cats, dogs, hamsters, or anything cuddly. If you must, do not let them out of your sight for so much as a second. When you land on a distant planet and find some objects that look like eggs, leave them alone. When one of your spaceship's crew finds a hideous parasite attached to his body (as a result of disobeying the previous rule), don't let him back on the ship. The guy's dog meat anyway. When a hideous alien menace is hunting you (as a result of disobeying the previous two rules never wander off alone to hunt for the ship's cat. Never, EVER go in/out there (There being the attic, closet, barn, basement, dark alley, dark anywhere else, the all-concealing shadows, the woods or the lake). If someone who seems important tells you to do or NOT do something (like DON'T fall asleep, DON'T leave me, DON'T look for the homicidal-chainsaw-wielding-psychopath by yourself by all means, listen to them, unless doing so would break another of the guidelines. If you manage to lose a few body parts along the way, don't despair. Take this opportunity to replace them with weapons, such as chain saws, harpoons, etc. If you are using a gun to combat the all-consuming evil, it is a good idea to quickly find a new means of defence, because no matter how much ammo you have, you'll run out just before you kill the monster (unless your name is Ash, in which case, you'll never have to reload) If you are wounded by flesh-eating zombies, abandon all hope, because sooner or later, no matter how many anti-biotics you take, yer gonna become one of 'em. If you're the the last main character left, and a bunch of people are hunting the monster/monsters DON'T stand out in the open, because you will immediately be mistaken for a/the monster. Don't open the closed door, especially if you hear scratching, heavy breathing, or any other strange noises from the other side. DO NOT go into the dark room. If you're a male, get out of there as fast as possible! The only one who ever survives is a female. While in a horror film, never bathe, especially when in the house alone. In terms of weaponry and general equipment for fighting the monster, never rely on any tool more complicated than a pointed stick. Generators will inexplicably run out of power, just as the nasty space-vegetable climbs onto your jury rigged electrical grid. Just when you've got the ghoul lined up in your sights, your gun will invariably jam. If you are a female, never show your breasts, easy women are expendable. Never camp or build homes on Indian burial grounds. Ask why the estate is being sold so cheap. If the phone lines are dead, and you hear footsteps upstairs, when you're supposed to be alone, don't follow the noises to see who your "guest" is. LEAVE IMMEDIATELY. Unless you want to die!! Never pick up the phone and call for help, chances are your phone will be dead and the next thing you'll see is the monster swinging some sort of sharp object. If you have defeated the monster, pay close attention to the camera, if it pans away for no apparent reason at all, get the heck out of there. If the Master does not approve, neither do you. Never handle the rat-monkey cage. Your dog can take care of itself... So can your spouse... And your kids. Self-sacrifice is a bad idea, as the person you saved will usually die anyway. Sceptics are always proved wrong in some horrible, nasty, painful way. Be a believer. If you're not a main character, suicide is a quicker and easier way out. Your plan takes into account all possible situations ... except for the one that actually occurs. Don't be a smart-ass. It'll only get you killed. When you have actually gotten a monster down on the ground with your gun, immediately empty all your shots in the monsters' head. Never be present immediately before, during, or anytime after a successful demon/devil/monster summoning. People driven by vengeance always die. Mentioning any goals in life, anything to look forward to, or any loved ones will get you killed. Never, under any circumstances, go to summer camp. Puzzle boxes are hard to solve for a reason. Feel no guilt. If you throw away some possession of yours (antique dolls and ventriloquist's dummies in particular), and you find it again in your house/car/pockets/etc. move to another country IMMEDIATELY! Of course, it WILL be waiting for you in the car as you go to leave. If you try to run away, always take the bus. If you take a car the monster will be in it. Cabbies are always demonically possessed. Monsters will destroy any plane/boat you try to take. And you have to go through dark, underground stations to get on a subway. If you are a child, don't panic! Monsters only attack overly horny teenagers. Children can NOT be killed in a movie, only possessed or absorbed. So cheer up! If you see a loved one you know to be dead, RUN AWAY! Many people will ignore this bit of common sense, but remember: you can always buy a new pet, always have more kids, and always get a new spouse/S.O. If you're being chased by a monster and you think it's behind you, chances are it will appear in front of you (and if you're a girl, this will happen right after you trip and fall, and then stand up and look behind you). If you've beaten the monster into a bloody pulp and you're sure he must be dead, take the opportunity to dismember, burn, eat, blow up or otherwise destroy him. If you're being chased by a monster and you find one of your friends and they ask "what's wrong?", don't stop and try to explain. Just tell them to run as you go by. If they're really your friend they'll follow. If not -that's their tough luck. If you should easily enter a home that you've either heard a scream from or there is no sign of life when there should be, do not be surprised to find that all means of escape (i.e. doors, windows, etc.) will be locked, effectively allowing the monster to come within a gnat's hair to you. If you should run across one of the escape routes from the previous rule that is made of glass, DO NOT waste time pounding on it. Breaking it would prove to be a better course of action. (Remember, a cut-up hand is better than a chest wound.) If you are a good dog you have a 50-50 chance of survival. Good dogs will only die if they stand up to the monster in defence of their master. Bite the hand that feeds you and run away! If you are a bad dog (bad dog!), you WILL be dead by the movie's end. Therefore, kill all people you encounter, except for your ex-master, whom you feel strangely compelled to avoid. If you're a cat, just hide your head and pray that the monsters won't eat you, the Catholic Inquisitors won't burn you as a witch's familiar, and/or the horny teen-age guys don't throw you over the edge of a cliff to see if you land on your feet. If you're a bird, CONGRATULATIONS! Your people will triumph and rule all in the end (or you might at least escape your $%^& cage!). If you are even somewhat religious, BECOME AN ATHEIST IMMEDIATELY! Monsters will invariably seek you out, gloating in defiance of "your weak faith," and say mean things about your deity. Whenever a strange weapon is presented (e.g. a harpoon gun, flare gun, can opener, etc. TAKE IT! If you don't, the monster will, and sooner or later the weapon WILL BE USED! Better you use it then the monster. If you find a lot of dead people running around making zombies out of the living, kill yourself IMMEDIATELY! There is no happiness to be found when you're being eaten alive. A single monster can never be killed. Multiple monsters can never be driven to extinction. Therefore, try to get one kind to go after the other. When you fight a monster use fire, electricity or acid whenever possible. Preferably use all of the above. And an atom bomb. ALL atomic weapons cause normal creatures to grow huge and carnivorous. As do all chemical and germ weapons. ALL genetic experiments will create humanoid mutants (whether or not human/primate DNA is used with BIG teeth and claws, and a tough hide impervious to bullets. NEVER play god and try your hand at gene-splicing! Always make eye shots whenever possible as all monsters ignore chest/limb attacks. If you hit the eye the monster will be blinded for a while (maybe ... and if you're reaaalll lucky... and if the creature even has any eyes to shoot in the first place).
10-21-03, 11:08 AM
Some great ones mentioned! The Birds, The Omen, Rear Window, Dawn of the Dead, The Shining, etc.
I'd add The Evil Dead (blew the shining out of the box office in the UK the weekend they both opened), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (first version), Psyco, and Night of the Living Dead.
William Castle's old B&W classic, Straight Jacket was easily the scariest experience of my life though. I made the classic kid mistake of watching it alone, in the dark in my grandmothers creepy old house. After watching an axe wielding woman storm out of closets, I freaked out and ran into the bathroom, slamming the door behind me, my grandmas nightgown that was hanging on the door flew up and wrapped around me. I swear I saw my short life flash before my eyes. Still creeps me out thinking about it.