Uncle Barnabus was kind enough to send along Charles McGrath’s witty New York Times article, If the Door Creaks, Don’t Go In through the post. Of course, being a netizen from way back when, I did not have the heart to tell him that he really did not need to clip out the actual article and mail it. Using sharp scissors can be very therapeutic, though. Nothing like a good sharp blade snipping, ripping, and tearing through something to get the blood going in the morning, I always say. A quick web search brought up the article so that we can all share in its life-saving tips garnered from the current spate of snuff horror diversions packing us all into the nearest megagoogaplex cinema.
Of course, these tips would seem to be mere common sense, but these days, you never can tell. The more paranoid you are, the safer you are: that is my motto. Anyone who takes a dirt road detour, leaving the safety of good solid pavement beneath their wheels, well, what more can be said? Especially when that person listens to a toothless, unwashed, gas station attendant hiding Gucci bags filled with swag and expensive electronics in his unkempt excuse for living quarters.
While Mr. McGrath uses these life-saving tips to start a riff on the extreme graphic violence prevalent in the most recent depictions of human depravity on screen, courtesy of Lionsgate Films, he does make other important observations which are not that important to discuss here. You will just have to read his article.
Instead, let’s look a little deeper into those life-saving tips, shall we? A quick search on the web brings up a plethora of helpful advice for the savvy individual that wants to keep his or her body parts. The Horror Movie Character Survival Tips covers most of the basics, including not looking under beds, no going into the basement when the power cuts out, and be very wary of transvestite doctors that sing and look like Tim Curry.
It is important to know the strengths and weaknesses of your potential killer, sadistic torturer, alien parasite, mutated freak and mobile flesh-eating dead, so perhaps a studious reading of The Horror Movie Survival Guide and A Field Guide to Monsters would help increase your odds of survival. A good psychology book would also be beneficial, since in most of today’s horror movies you are dealing with clever psychopaths and anti-social types.
“What are you doing?” interrupted Zombos.
“I am writing a blog on horror movie victim survival tips,” I said.
“Yes, I can see that. I meant, what are you doing writing about survival tips? If the addle-brained teenagers and loopy backpackers and clueless officials survive, where’s the horror? Horror films exist to make fun of the unfortunate and dull-witted. Ha ha, you’re dead, I’m not — that sort of thing. Some cattle needs to be slaughtered you know, so that we can eat. So…some people must always be tortured and put to death in gruesome and ever-increasingly sicko ways to make us feel better that we are not about to be pickled in a jar like them. Really, for a supposed horror fan, I don’t know where your head is at sometimes,” he said, walking off.
Zombos was right! What was I thinking? We need victims to look under beds in the dead of night, without flashlights, in haunted houses, and to read, out loud, spells from human skin-clad tomes that use flattened eyeballs for bookmarks, and to knock on the doors of dilapidated houses when the gas tank runs dry on desolate roads.
Instead of survival tips, I should be writing my list of non-survival tips. Let’s see, what are my top ten horror movie victim non-survival tips?
- Always take a stranger’s advice, especially where to sleep and which unpaved road to take while you are on vacation.
- After killing the monster/serial-killer/mutated freak, etc., make sure to walk up to the prostrate body within arm’s reach, and bend real close to its face to see if it’s still breathing. And make sure to expose your neck for that obligatory spray of blood when the knife, saw, razor, claw, etc. slices you like a melon from ear to ear. And after getting your neck ripped open, make sure to stand up, dance around, and spray blood all over your screaming friends before you die. (Addendum: also make sure to look over the window sill after pushing any hulking, eye-plucking, hook-carrying, psycho butcher over same instead of running like hell out of the hotel.)
- Never pass up a dare, especially when it involves creepy lakes, haunted houses, sleeping on freshly dug graves, and venturing into dark caves without your spelunking gear or adequate lighting.
- There is safety in numbers; but this is a horror movie so we can’t have that. Make sure to split up when danger is most at hand, and especially when searching for someone who is missing precisely because he or she decided to go it alone in the first place.
- Don’t carry/charge your cell phone, and don’t carry spare batteries. Even if the movie budget allows it.
- When a meteor lands nearby, make sure to find it, and poke any gooey glowing stuff really good with a short stick.
- When running away from danger, scream a lot and trip over your own feet often. Then get up when the creature, psycho, mutated-carrot thing, blob, or mobile flesh-eating dead person gets close enough to touch you. Better yet, just stand there screaming, especially when the thing out to get you is over ten feet away. It makes it more suspenseful for the audience.
- Learn Japanese.
- Leave the door unlocked while you take a bath/shower in totally unfamiliar surroundings, especially decrepit, deserted hotels with no clean towels. (Note: And go skinny dipping in creepy deserted lakes, too. Those are the money shots.)
- If the door creaks, don’t go in first. The first person to go in gets it fast. It’s always the next person that follows that suffers the longest. Also, that spray of blood and gore that splashes on the next person or persons is always a crowd pleaser.
There. That's better.