Honestly…if you somehow found yourself in a real-life horror movie situation, couldn’t you make a better showing for yourself than the standard characters? I’d like to think most of us could. With that in mind, here are my Top 10 Survival Tips for Horror Movie Scenarios:
1. Vampires, ghouls, werewolves, witches, demented serial killers, most zombies–and even creepy aliens and Killer Klowns–tend to work a night shift from 5:00 p.m. – 5:00 a.m. If you can’t complete your investigation and subsequent disposal (vampire-staking, incendiary device detonation, etc.) by 5:00 p.m., give it up until the following day. In a horror move, overtime = certain death.
2. Keep your clothes on! Changing into filmy nightgowns or pajamas or stripping down to lingerie generally = death. Think about it: if you have a job to do–like counteracting a mummy’s curse or outrunning a chainsaw killer–you’ll be better equipped to perform your duties if you’re wearing jeans, sweatshirt, and running shoes rather than trying to bring your A-game in nothing but panties, your (doomed) boyfriend’s flannel shirt, and bare feet.
3. Stick together. The killer can’t arrange a grisly decapitation of the entire group at the same time–he’d be lucky to merely scalp somebody and odds are in your favor that it won’t be you. The Buddy System doesn’t work if you don’t watch out for your buddy!
4. If the house/cave/carnival looks deserted and scary, don’t go in. There’s nothing in there that can’t wait until daylight (see Survival Tip #1), and you’re trespassing, so stay out. If your semi-naked girlfriend/boyfriend went in to look around, they’re already doomed, so let it go. Somebody else will undoubtedly ignore Survival Tip #2 and take their clothes off before long, so you won’t miss much.
5. As soon as the first member of your party ignores Survival Tip #4 (and you know they will), get a flashlight and a cell phone before you follow them. Why not be prepared to see where you’re going, see the masked madman before he swings the axe at you, and be able to call for help? It makes your odds of survival so much higher!
6. When you first notice something weird in the new old house you and your family just moved into, don’t pretend you didn’t see it–turn the lights on and investigate that boarded-up well in the basement. Did the sellers or the realtor disclose the possibility of demonic possession? Did they leave the name and number of a local exorcist on the refrigerator? Take your family to a hotel and call the Better Busines Bureau in the morning–you may be able to get your money back as well as surviving the night!
7. Zombies have gotten completely out of hand–but they’re still pretty slow. If you encounter a traditional voodoo zombie, salt is your weapon of choice. For the new flesh-eating-goo-oozing type zombies that seem to result from meteors passing close to the earth or outbreaks of a mysterious zombie-virus, your best bet is to run for it, preferably having not neglected Survival Tip #2.
8. When attacked by mutant spiders or an atomic nutria, try to stay calm and keep moving. You can mow down a lot of wildlife with a good-sized SUV–provided, of course, that you’re a responsible vehicle owner who keeps enough air in your tires and gas in your tank to outrun a devil dog or giant alligator. Once again, planning is key: don’t defer vehicle maintenance, just in case you have to take Mothra right in the windshield!
9. Pale, ghostly hitchhiker by the side of the road? Pass them by–they’re nothing but trouble. They’ll either sink their fangs in your neck from the backseat and make you drive off the road into a swamp (and the suggested vehicle readiness in Survival Tip #8 won’t help), or they’ll make you drive them to a creepy old house, then vanish, making you very vulnerable to ignoring Survival Tip #4 and #5. Just say NO to hitchhikers!
10. Last–but certainly not least–exercise a little bit of common sense in each situation. Think about your options–nobody is going to care if you skip the funhouse or the fortune-teller; go ride the Tilt-A-Whirl instead. Stay where the lights and the people are, even if your uber-hot date is urging you to fling off your clothes and follow him or her into the mist. Remember: if they really loved you, they wouldn’t want you to have your heart ripped out of your chest and offered as an initiation sacrifice.
Good luck out there, and stay safe…if you dare!