10 August 2006

How NOT to survive in a horror movie...

I'm so damn The current mood of augustdreams at www.imood.com

There's been a lot written about how to survive in a horror movie. But suppose you are a movie character who finds themselves not destined to be the lone survivor/hero/Final Girl? Suppose instead it is your lot in life to get messily cacked? How do you go about that? Here's a little advice. (If you're a main character, don't worry. I'll add in a few survival tips for you.)

How to Die in a Horror Movie

1. Be Curious!
We all know what curiosity killed. Be like the cat, man. Hear a strange noise in the basement? Go see what it is! Listen, just because you and your friends are in a Sanitarium where ten years ago that very night a couple dozen innocent people met a lengthy, gruesome demise at the hands of some mad doctor (who will no doubt manage to get off a good one-liner at some point before the credits roll) doesn't mean that noise has to be a bad thing. Maybe it's not the sound of angry wraiths hell-bent on your destruction. Maybe it's even Ed McMahon and you're already a winner! It's not very likely, but you never know. Head on down there and find out! Survived your trip to the basement? Well, no worries. There's still yet hope for you to meet your doom! See that book over there? The one with arcane symbols carved into it that has quite possibly been bound in human flesh and inked in blood? Read it. Better yet, read it aloud.

Survival tip: If you're the hero, you're going to want to curb that curiosity, pal. It won't get ya nothin' but killed. Evil knows you know this. Thus it will try to trick you. So here's a little tip. If you see something amazingly wonderful (millions of unmarked dollars in a suitcase, a naked, horny-for-you member of whichever sex appeals to you, a lost loved one, some Pez) in a place where it really, really shouldn't be (that haunted sanitarium, the bottom of a well, standing in your bathroom, etc.) do yourself a favor and leave it the hell alone. Evil does not take a day off once a year to play Santa Claus and give out wonderful trinkets; unless those trinkets come with a terrible cost.

2. Have sex!
Guess what? You've found the one clear advantage that you have over that obnoxious hero. You're in a horror movie. Chances are, somebody's getting some action. And since even the most blood-soaked and depraved horror film nine times out of ten still holds to strictly puritanical morals, chances are it won't be Harry Hero or Gertie Good Girl. It'll be you. So when you find a working shower in the abandoned site of a former summer camp where all the campers met a shocking and as-yet-unsolved demise, grab your Significant Other (or just love the one you're with...) and go to town! If you don't have access to any lusty friends or acquaintances, don't worry. Evil is usually more than happy to provide you a spirit, demon and/or monster with the ability to transform itself into an attractive and willing partner. At least until the shock scene when the audience sees you reflected in the mirror and your winsome partner is seen as a ghost/rotting corpse and/or Carrot Top.

Survival Tip: Keep your pants on. Don't inhale. And stay away from the monkey juice.

3. Avoid any kind of depth
No, I'm not talking about deep water. Although if you're in a JAWS rip-off diving into the deep blue can definitely help you to reach your goal of annihilation. I'm talking about characterization here. Let's face it, you're basically just a warm, blood-filled body who is here to get offed and later discovered by one of your friends, complete with a musical sting to announce the shock of your mutilated corpse. If the audience finds out you're saving up to help your significant other pay for school, had a beloved Beagle named Chester or have a loved one in mortal danger that you've promised to rescue, they're not going to want to see you buy the farm. So try not to have any more depth than absolutely necessary. If at all possible, don't even let anyone say your name. If you hear the audience referring to you as "that guy with the hair" or "you know, the blond girl" then you're golden.

Survival Tip: Talk about your childhood. Especially your hamster that died when you were 8, and how you buried Mr. Noopers in the backyard with a little Popsicle-stick tombstone. Audiences eat that shit up. If at all possible, make sure to show that you've not led an easy life. Nobody wants the rich guy who got a Porche as a high school graduation gift to survive. Instead, drive an AMC Gremlin held together with duct tape. Good luck!

4. Choose the worst possible time to run.
Running away can actually be a pretty smart decision. Sometimes, when the house tells you in a hoarse whisper to "Get... Out!" it's best to acquiesce. But when you're walking fodder, you want to avoid that sort of thing. What you want to do is wait until you're good and panicked. One of the best times for you to suddenly decide to get the hell out of Dodge is immediately after you've stumbled upon the freshly dead body of one of your fellow characters (Bonus points if, after a long, static shot of them their eyes suddenly pop open or they speak/twitch). Take the opportunity to freak the heck out and run, wailing like a banshee. That may be a good idea when you're running away from non-mobile danger (Such as a grave, a fire, the site of a haunting) but when you're fleeing from genetically altered mutant Bees, Jason or He Who Walks Behind The Rows, it's a very bad idea indeed. Running away will ensure that Evil makes you twice as dead, because now its pissed off, because you running full-tilt means that Evil has to sprint. And Evil is a lazy bastard.

Survival tip: The time to run away? Right after the marked-for-death character has:
a) Gone to investigate the strange noises coming from the basement
b) Gotten lucky
c) Ran away, screaming like a Banshee (make sure you run in the opposite direction)

5. Be a greedy bastard.
Once again, the 'ole horror-as-morality-play bit. Everybody likes money. Whether or not we value materialistic things in this life, we all need to eat, drink and pay the bills. Evil knows this, and will often use it to thin the herd. Most folks prefer to be alive, but there's always at least one poor fool who is willing to put themselves in harm's way just for the possibility of making an easy buck. Be that guy, man.

Have a great night and thanks for reading.

Ahhhhh! I must have this!

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