Written by Lizzie Duncan
Well, it took me a while, but I finally got myself a copy of Scream 4 on DVD, and I thought in celebration I would extend Wes Craven’s list and create my own set of rules to be used as a survival guide for horror movies (should you find youself in one). As the horror genre is the most cliched and stereotyped genre around, this was a pretty straightforward task!
So, here are my rules for surviving a horror movie:
•You can never have sex – I have not seen a single exception to this rule. Not one! If you have sex, you will die. The only question is whether it’ll be during or after. You need to have you’re wits about you at all times if you’re in a horror movie, there’s no time for even a quick lapse in concentration. Control your urges!
•Don’t be blonde – The dumb blonde always bites the dust. Usually first or early on, although you might prefer to get it out the way because there;s usually less suffering involved. You can’t be slutty or flirty. Homicidal maniacs dislike these kinds of people. Be nice, friendly but not sexual at all if you can help it.
•Don’t be funny – The funny guy normally gets killed about halfway through, maybe nearer the end of the film. It’s a shame, as they bring light-heartedness to the whole situation, but directors need to show that they mean business. This is serious stuff, so the funny one has to go.
•Don’t be a racial minority – I’m afraid this stereotype is alive and well. The black person, the Hispanic, the Asian always gets killed. You can’t be different from the crowd. If you stand out, then you are a target and you will die.
•Don’t be a stoner – These dopey, slow, yet amusing characters never last too long. People who are completely clear-headed have a hard time staying alive, so a goofy, dawdling stoner really stands no chance. They are just there to be more fodder for the killer, but I guess at least they have a laugh whilst being so.
•Don’t be a goth – The gothic chick usually gets it too. I think it’s supposed to be seen as ironic.
•Don’t be an overally aggressive male – Now, these macho guys normally last a fair while as they are tough and know how to fight. But they will get killed eventually, and it will be brutal. They get too big for their boots and underestimate the psychopath. Never underestimate a psychopath, it’ll be the last thing you ever do.
•The killer is never dead – Just because you’ve shot the killer six times, doesn’t mean he’s dead. You’ve just made him more pissed off, so be vigilant. Don’t walk away and think it’s all over. It’s not over, there’s always a sequel! Always! Don’t leave your or his weapon in his seemingly dead hands, it’s a rookie mistake.
•If nobody answers, don’t go in – When you knock on a stranger’s door and there is no sign of life, this is generally a sign that you should not enter. There are a number of reasons against it, first of them being that it is impolite! The door having been left unlocked/ajar is an ominous omen in itself and you would definitely do best to leave well alone.
•Listen to children and apparent ‘crazy’ people – They’re the ones that really know what is going on. The crazy people are usually the ones who have experienced these same events already. It is what you will become by the end of this film, let’s face it.
•Trust animals, too – They seem to have a sixth sense about danger ahead. If your dog barks at ‘nothing’ or suddenly runs off into the night, take this as a hint that something unpleasant is looming. Take the hint quickly or perish.
•Mobile phones and cares are fickle creations – It doesn’t matter if your car was in perfect working order before these ghastly events started taking place, don’t rely on it in times of crisis! And phones will suddenly stop working before you get a chance to call for help. You must learn that whenever you’re being stalked by a bloodthirsty murderer, you are never in an area that has signal, I mean, what kinda movie would that be?
•Don’t rely on the police either – They don’t turn up on time, or adequately prepared for the danger you’ve encountered. Or worse, if your story sounds absurd then no one is going to believe you and you’ll end up in a mental institution, helpless. It’s a scary thought, but you are going to have to tackle this yourself so get those brain cells working.
•Don’t split up – The amount of times a situation could have been controlled if there was just a united front is shocking. Unity is the key! Live together, die alone. When people start going off on their own, everything quickly starts deteriorating at an incredible rate.
•Don’t say ‘who’s there?’ towards a strange sound – It’s not going to be your boyfriend or friends. You are the next target by this point so you need to exit the location sharpish. It’ll always be too dark to see and if you’re in a house, the power won’t work, so I’d take this as a definite red warning light.
•Don’t say ‘I’ll be right back’ – Never say this. If you say this, you won’t be back. It’s almost a death wish. Never really say anything optimistic about the future, such as engagement or retirement, because horror directors seem to like destroying people’s dreams. It tugs at the heartstrings.
•Don’t leave your window open, ever – If you come home to find your window is open, the killer is in your house, so closing it is a pointless task. Grab the nearest weapon and brace yourself for immediate chaos to ensue.
•Don’t crawl when being chased – It is pretty much inevitable that you will fall over whilst being chased, especially if you are female. When this happens, get to your feet again promptly and continue running. Why scrabble around on the floor like a toddler? Why do that? I understand that the terror is intense, but use your fight or flight instincts and take an action. Any action is better than writhing on the ground at a snail’s pace.
•It helps if you have a slightly unfinished back-story – If this is the case, then you won’t die until this is resolved. This buys you some time. The survivor of these grisly horror films usually starts off as a bit of a jerk, or has a character flaw of some kind, allowing for an arc of improvement which carries them through the course of the film.
I hope this will be of some help to you. Be safe out there!