There are a lot of guides out there that tell you how to survive a horror movie--hell, the movie Scream even lists a few. But are you really going to trust a horror movie to tell you how to survive... itself? I don't think so. The truth is, none of these lists give you all the facts that you need; at best they give you a minimal amount of information to comfort you by telling you want you want to hear. Not me, though. I'm here to give you the real inside scoop. Supposing you find yourself in a horror movie someday (which is unlikely, unless you happen to be double-crossed in a deal with the Devil himself, or you're an extra, in which case you're screwed), this list will actually help you survive rather than provide you with a bunch of quippy sound bites you can dish out before you are stabbed to death.
So ignore all those other lists. They will not aid you. Here are the facts that will actually help you see the light of another day.
1. Never go off by yourself.
Unless you are going to the bathroom. And make sure that every trip to the bathroom involves a Number Two, or at least a very convincing series of farts if you can't muster up the real deal. The killer/monster/evil force will avoid killing you on the can, because it's just awkward and the camera really doesn't want to show you in the middle of smashing one out (Note: obviously if you are fighting toilet based monsters like Ghoulies, ignore this).
2. Don't be the only minority.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you are the only minority in your group of survivors, you'd damn best find another person who fits the bill (preferably someone who's even more of a minority than you) pretty fast. (Note: you are exempt from this rule if your name is Keith David).
3. Always make sure you are the second-best looking person (of your sex) there.
If you are the best-looking person there, you are dead meat, unless you give yourself some kind of horrific facial scar, in which case you may have a fighting chance if the scar makes you look "hard". If you're the ugliest person, there's really no hope for you unless you attract someone uglier to your survivor party. And if you're just average, you'd better arrange some kind of "accident" for those between you and numeral uno, or you're as good as cannon fodder.
4. Do not be the comic relief.
Unless of course you can create just the right balance between humorous and indestructible, like Ash from the Evil Dead films. Be aware that striking this balance however is almost impossible. If you don't have at least a size 9 chin (measured using the North American Chin Sizing Chart), do not even attempt this.
5. Never say "I'll be back".
Unless you say it like Arnold Schwarzenegger (and if you are Arnold Schwarzenegger).
6. Don't have sex.
Horror film research shows that if you have sex, you will be killed in the middle of the act. However, if you engage in the extremely kinky kind of sex that makes others uncomfortable (like that involving a blow torch, a stuffed chihuahua and a bucket of clams), you will probably be okay, because whatever is trying to kill you doesn't want to walk in on that shit either (Note: you must be able to keep this up for the duration of the movie).
7. Always run up the stairs.
Trapping yourself in a corner seems to run counter to logic, but more often than not it's the people who run for the door leading outside who end up suffering a grisly, horrible death, while the idiot who runs away from the obvious escape route manages to survive. This is because the movie has to maintain a certain amount of heightened tension--if you're too smart and escape too easily, the movie doesn't like that.
8. Be in the military.
In a horror movie, if you're in any branch of the military at all, whatever rank you happen to be, you will be equipped with a variety of survival skills--a "jack-of-all-trades", if you will. Chances are you'll possess knowledge of at least all of the following: first aid, piloting, bomb disarming, engineering, heavy vehicle operation, moving silently, trap setting, alien linguistics, and clever quips while operating a firearm.
9. Always listen to crazy bums.
If you run into a crazy bum prattling on drunkenly about the supposedly haunted house that you just moved into, or a wild-eyed street person grabs your arm and speaks prophetic words of doom through rotted, crooked teeth, every single thing that they say is true, and you would do well to heed their advice (Note: do not heed their advice if all they say is "yer gonna die!" or something like that).
10. Don't be an asshole.
You can get away with being a bit snarky, but if you're an outright asshole, your number is up (doubly so if your name is Chet). Especially avoid being cruel to women, children, or animals, because then the audience will really look forward to seeing you receive your comeuppance later.
11. Avoid mythical creatures.
If some creepy, short, ugly mythical creature wearing lots of prosthetics approaches and tries to speak with you, DO NOT engage it in conversation, and if speaking to it is unavoidable, never say anything that can be construed as a wish. The correct response when encountering such a creature is to kick or hit it in the head with a pipe and run away.
12. Never investigate a mysterious noise.
You're going to discover it was just the cat, but there's also a 50% chance you're going to die within two minutes of making that discovery.
13. Always be aware of your companions' behavior.
If your fellow survivor was just fighting zombies and they insist that "Noooooo, of course I wasn't bitten!" while glancing around all shifty-eyed and nervously biting their lip, don't be afraid to demand a strip search. Sure, you may feel awkward about it, but you'll feel even more awkward when they're gnawing into your shoulder.
14. Don't be a virgin.
If you are a virgin, you're screwed (and I don't mean in the "Yay, I'm not a virgin anymore!" sense). Don't even think for a minute that if you just don't tell anyone that you're a virgin you'll be okay. The monsters always know. Always. So if you're a virgin at the start of the movie, you'd best lose that virginity pretty damn fast (See also "6. Don't have sex").
15. Do not take a shower.
Seriously, just don't. If there's a shower curtain, there's absolutely no chance that you won't pull it back to reveal a crazed knife-wielding killer. In fact, it's best if you don't bathe at all for the entire course of the movie. The resulting stench will drive everything else away, and though it will allow monsters with superior olfactory senses to pinpoint your exact location with ease, it will also encourage them to avoid you that much more (Note: this tactic does not work against undead, or crazed street bums).
16. Don't be overly sentimental.
If you feel overwhelmingly compelled to recite poetry for your girlfriend telling her how beautiful she is or perform love songs on your guitar, you had damn best resist that urge for the course of the movie, or you will probably be the most tempting target of all. Seriously, killing your type of character is like black tar heroin to movie monsters.
17. Do not allow your band of survivors to split up.
If an argument about your present course ensues (and if you are in a zombie movie, this is inevitable), where one person disagrees with your survival plan and decides they are going to take whoever is willing and split off to do their own thing, you must kill that person immediately. You must brook no dissent, because as soon as that jackass opens that basement door to leave, your secured position is as good as gone and the horde will come rushing in.
18. Never check to see if something you just killed is really dead.
Trust me, it's a trick. Get an axe.
19. Never film things with a handheld movie camera.
You're only asking for a dramatic death scene where the camera falls to the ground and records only the grisly sounds of your terrible, terrible death before the face of your mauled, unblinking corpse falls directly into the frame.
20. Never go up to a strange house and ask to use the phone if your car breaks down.
If your car breaks down on a stormy night, never go up to that dark, creepy house on the corner illuminated by flashes of lightning and ask to use their phone. Seriously, we live in the age of cell phones now, so there's really no excuse for that. Just call AAA and wait in the car.
21. Don't watch any unlabelled video tapes.
If you're staying in a stranger's house and you find a mysterious unmarked tape in their movie collection, just leave it alone. Trust me, it's not a homemade porno, so don't bother. Come to think of it, even if it is a homemade porno, do you really want to watch that shit?
22. Avoid any creepy dolls or toys.
If your child just found a creepy-looking doll in the attic or basement of the house you just moved into, you need to get rid of it. But don't burn it! That will only make it angry. Give it to some other neighborhood child, and now it's their fucking problem.
23. Don't get drunk, high, or otherwise fucked-up.
This one's a no-brainer. You don't want to impair yourself if there's a crazed killer or evil monster running around. Even if you're in a bar and you are fooled by the illusion of safety in numbers, don't do it. That bar will only become a charnel house of death, and you won't be able to get away fast enough.
24. Don't live in, go to, or even talk about Maine.
Seriously. Every town, city, village and hamlet in that god-forsaken state has been in a Stephen King story by now.
25. Never take a shortcut.
Take it from me, that shortcut you plan on taking through that meat-packing plant or graveyard to evade the monster is not going to turn out well. Just run in as straight a line as possible.
Okay, obviously these aren't all the ways to survive a horror movie, but it's a good start, and it's not like I don't have other things to do. If you find yourself in a situation not on this list, well, you're on your own. But perhaps I'll do another list next year. In the meantime, just watch your back (oh, that's a good one! 26. Watch your back), because you never know where evil creatures that want to make you very dead just may be lurking.
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