Halloween is quickly approaching. If you weren’t aware of that, then you obviously haven’t been inside a grocery store since the beginning of August when they all started stocking their Halloween candy.
Anyway, in recognition of this traditionally frightening time of the year, I thought I’d take a look at horror movies. Most films that fall into the horror genre can be counted on to deliver on certain tropes over and over again. Every now and then we’ll get a Hereditary or Midsommar that completely blows our collective minds with something unexpected or out of the ordinary.
For the record, I have yet to see Midsommar… I just assume it broke the horror rules based on what I heard about it and based on the fact that it’s the same director as Hereditary.
Back in the 90s, Wes Craven introduced us to the Scream franchise, which was a horror film that turned the microscope on itself. Each movie gave us a set of rules that need to be followed in order to successfully navigate a slasher movie. I only remember the rules from the first movie: you can’t have sex; you can’t drink or do drugs; you can never say, “I’ll be right back.” Later, we got rules for surviving a sequel and rules for surviving a trilogy, but I honestly can’t remember what those rules were.
I like horror movies. There’s just something inherently fun about being scared in a safe space. It’s the same reason we ride roller coasters or walk through haunted houses that the local police put together as a fundraiser around Halloween every year. Our fear gives us a rush of adrenaline that can’t be reproduced when you’re sitting at home watching YouTube videos about how to make slime. But it’s possible some of that feeling can be reproduced while watching a horror flick.
In all of those horror movies, there are certain takeaways that we should all be able to… take away.
- Any doll that is roughly the size of or larger than a Cabbage Patch Kid should be considered evil and, therefore, must be destroyed.
- Houses, no matter how large or mysterious, should never be explored.
- Splitting up is never a good idea.
- Mirrors should probably be avoided at all times. You never know what else is going to be looking back at you.
- If you’re being stalked by a masked killer and you aren’t sure where he is, there’s a really good chance he’s right behind you.
- If there has not been some kind of power outage, turn the light on whenever you enter a new room.
- Never run upstairs to a higher floor. There is not an exit up there! Amendment: unless you are starting out in the basement, in which case get up the stairs as soon as possible, rather than be trapped in an underground hole.
- If you lock yourself in a room, back away from the door. Standing with your back against the door will not make the door stronger and will likely result in you getting a knife, ax, etc. in the back.
- Do not leave your car unattended when filling up at that shady gas station on the way to your friend’s cabin in the woods. You never know who may be willing to mess with your vehicle in some way. Bonus: Always check your back seat if driving alone.
- Speaking of your friend’s cabin in the woods… Never stay in a cabin in the woods.
- If you come across a book written in a dead language, do not try to read it. If you are tempted to read it, read silently. Reading aloud will bring only disaster.
- When at a sleepover, if someone pulls out a Ouija board, grab it from their hands and throw it into the nearest open flame. If you do not have a nearby open flame, start one in the nearest safe location and then throw the board into the fire.
- Never trust anyone who is good looking enough to be a model. Especially if that person is someone you just met for the first time.
Got any rules you want to add to the list? Let me know in the comments!