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The Xenophile Historian

Horror Movie Survival Guide

Most forms of literature have their gimicks, clichés, etc. In westerns, the good guys wear white hats; in murder mysteries, it's likely that the butler did it; in science fiction or fantasy, the leading lady wears a brass bra (a gold bikini in Princess Leia's case); in James Bond movies, the villain lovingly tells 007 his/her plan in detail, before carrying it out; martial arts movies pit a single hero against many villains, and so on. In horror movies, somebody has to get killed to show how dangerous the monster / demon / psychopath / alien is. If you're unlucky enough to find yourself in a horror movie, here's how to make sure you don't become a warning to others:

  1. When it appears that you have killed the monster, DO NOT check to see if it's really dead.
  2. Along that line, always assume your attacker is still alive. One fatal blow or shot is never enough.
  3. If you find that your house is built upon or near a cemetery, was once a holy place for some evil religion, had previous inhabitants who went mad or committed suicide or died in some horrible fashion, or it had inhabitants who performed necrophilia or satanic practices, move away immediately.
  4. Never read a book of demon summoning aloud, even as a joke.
  5. The same goes for any ancient curse you may find. Did you hear about the 1,700-year-old curse tablet that was posted on the Internet? Don't even think of sharing them on Facebook, YouTube, etc.

    Here is an archaeologist who never seems to learn. It's a wonder he's still alive.

  6. If your children speak to you in Latin or any other language which they should not know, or if they speak to you using a voice which is other than their own, shoot them immediately (use silver bullets). It will save you a lot of grief in the long run. NOTE: It will probably take several rounds to kill them, so be prepared.
  7. Likewise, people are most likely to develop fearsome psychic powers at the onset of puberty. So you'd better buy your twelve-year-old daughter that pony.
  8. Avoid all high school events, especially proms. Large gatherings of teenagers are like catnip for those with evil intentions, and the pictures taken are always bad anyway.
  9. When you have the benefit of numbers, never separate and go alone. If you say "I'll be right back," you won't.
  10. As a general rule, don't solve puzzles that open portals to Hell.
  11. Never stand in, on, above, below, beside, or anywhere near a grave, tomb, crypt, mausoleum, or other house of the dead.
  12. If you're searching for something which caused a noise and find out that it's just the cat, get out immediately.
  13. If appliances start operating by themselves, do not try to find the cause. Just get out!
  14. Do not take anything from the dead.
  15. Don't fool with recombinant DNA technology unless you're sure you know what you are doing.

    The Men in Black.

    If the Men in Black pay you a visit, the story has just begun.

  16. If you're running from the monster, expect to trip or fall down at least twice, more if you are of the female persuasion. Also note that, despite the fact that you are running and the monster is shambling along like the fat kid in your third grade class, it's still fast enough to catch up with you.
  17. If the monster is a lunatic wearing a mask, he is also poor. Good-looking killers who can afford excellent lawyers don't need masks. That's not the case with Leatherface, Jason Voorhees, and Michael Myers; look at the dumps where they spent their free time. So if you are running from someone in a mask, you may be able to save your skin by bribing him.
  18. If your companions suddenly begin to exhibit uncharacteristic behavior such as hissing, fascination for blood, glowing eyes, increasing hairiness, and so on, get away from them as fast as possible. If you have silver bullets (see above), kill them immediately.
  19. If you find a town which looks deserted, it's probably for a reason. Take the hint and don't stay to find out why.

    Psychoville, population 9 and falling.

  20. Stay away from certain geographical locations, especially these: Amityville, Elm Street, Transylvania, Nilbog (that's Goblin spelled backwards, in case you didn't get it), places in Texas where chainsaws are sold, the Bermuda Triangle, Miskatonic University, or any small town in Maine.
  21. If you meet someone with an Edgar Allan Poe tattoo, they're probably dark and mysterious. If you meet someone with an H. P. Lovecraft tattoo, RUN!
  22. Never watch a horror movie when you're in one. If the slasher flick you're watching looks too familiar, turn off the DVD player, turn on the lights and make sure all the kitchen knives are accounted for. And it's a good idea to check in the closets and under the beds before you turn on the TV.
  23. Drive a vehicle of reasonable age (ten years old or less). Most horror movie cars were built around the same time as the Plymouth Belvedere.
  24. When driving, bring a GPS; a lot of trouble (and movie plots) will be avoided if you don't stop and ask for directions.
  25. Never, ever, ever turn off the paved road onto a gravel or dirt road.
  26. If you are driving early in the story and you hit a deer, dog, coyote, etc., it means the monster is about to strike for the first time. Be prepared; the poor animal took one for your team.
  27. Always make sure that your car has a fresh battery so it will start immediately in times of crisis. Bring an extra set of keys, because you're likely to lose one in the chase scene, and only visit the neighborhood mechanic at the beginning of the story, because he is probably an axe murderer.
  28. If your car runs out of gas at night, do not go to the nearby deserted-looking house to phone for help. If you think it's strange you ran out of gas because you thought you had a nearly full tank, shoot yourself. You're going to die anyway, and will probably get eaten. Drinking holy water before shooting yourself will at least poison whatever consumes you.
  29. Beware of strangers bearing tools such as chainsaws, staple guns, hedge trimmers, electric carving knives, combines, lawnmowers, butane torches, soldering irons, band saws, or any device made from deceased companions.
  30. When you're searching a house because you think there's something dangerous in there, for goodness sakes, turn the bloody lights on! And do not search the basement if the power has just gone out.
  31. Dress appropriately; make sure you have comfortable footwear, because you won't have time to change. Women should not wear a flimsy negligée while investigating a house, and they should carry a flashlight, not a candle.
  32. If you are trying to escape an evil thing and you don't see it, turn around. It's always behind you.
  33. If the monster hasn't been around for a while and you go in a bathroom to freshen up, you will see the monster when you take a second look in the mirror above the sink. Forewarned is forearmed.
  34. If anything other than water (blood, thick goo of any color) comes out of a faucet, do not call a plumber. Leave the house immediately.
  35. Never take a shower during a horror movie. If you're in the bathroom and suddenly notice everything has become black-and-white, GET OUT!

    The Aflac Monster!


  36. If, looking in a mirror, you see a figure behind you that you don't see upon turning around, you see a different room than the one you are in, you see a figure other than yourself looking back, or your reflection tells you to get out before it is too late, proceed to the nearest exit with all speed.
  37. If you open a door and the room you see is not the room that should be there, do not explore it. In fact, even if you close the door and see the correct room after re-opening it, vacate the tesseract / house.
  38. Monsters do a terrible job of hiding their weaknesses. If it isn't something everyone can see, like Smaug the Dragon's missing scale, they are likely to tell you what it is. Find out the monster's weakness, and exploit it.
  39. 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.
  40. And listen to the scientist in the story. People ignore him far too often.

    Ignored scientist sign.

  41. Do not mention the names of demons around open flames, as these can flare up suddenly. Be especially careful of fireplaces in this regard.
  42. Get a pet. Dogs work best. In a pinch, a cat will do. Even the nastiest monster will spare a dog or cat.
  43. And finally, never drink, do drugs, or have sex. Because only virgins survive in the end.

Epilogue: What horror movies don't show you is that the survivors usually go to jail or an insane asylum. After all, when somebody manages to escape the haunted house, spooky forest, cursed ancient tomb, or remote research base, sooner or later the authorities will investigate, and the survivor(s) will become the prime suspect for whatever killed all the victims. So if you make it through a whole horror movie, you probably shouldn't tell anyone about it.

Pleasant dreams.

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© Copyright 2021 Charles Kimball