How To Survive a Horror Movie

Suggested Audio Candies ūüć¨

 

[1] Paul McCartney & Wings “Live And Let Die”

[2] David Bowie¬†“Friday On My Mind”

[3] Black Sabbath¬†“Snowblind”

[4] Pat Benatar¬†“Love Is A Battlefield”

[5] Kim Wilde¬†“Never Trust A Stranger”

[6] Rihanna¬†“Shut Up And Drive”

[7] Bruce Hornsby and The Range¬†“The Way It Is”

[8] Fleetwood Mac¬†“Don’t Stop”

[9] Katherine E¬†“I’m Alright”

 

Hindsight is a marvellous thing but not so crash hot when you’re bleeding out on a meat hook while your boyfriend is being gutted like a swine. If I found myself trapped inside a horror movie, then I’d do my level best to make sure things never reached that point. It’s no easy feat when you think about it as films run for an average of ninety minutes and that’s not a great deal of time to save yourself from a fate best known as death. But it’s still time that could be better spent than making poor decision after poor decision and playing straight into the Grim Reaper’s bony hands.

I’d approximate the number of horror movies I’ve watched over the years to be somewhere deep in the thousands and, over that time, have witnessed more bloody murder than I could ever hope to tally. However, not everyone comes to a sticky end and, should you play the game by the rules, then there’s still an outside chance that you’ll live to see sunrise. That isn’t to suggest it will be easy and, even if luck is on your side this night, you may well receive a call back for the sequel. One person who suffered this particular indignity is Friday the 13th final girl Alice Hardy and all that hard work at Camp Crystal Lake turned out to be for squat.

So here’s my plan and it’s just crazy enough that it might just work. I plan to take an affectionate glance back over just a few horror movies from the past half a century and provide a little advance heads up to some of those who’ve perished along the way. While I can’t guarantee their safekeeping, I can hopefully increase their odds of overcoming the odds courtesy of a little friendly advice. Using any knowledge gleaned from a lifetime of note-taking, I shall offer each of these victims a potential way out of their quandary. Whether they heed my words or disregard them entirely is up to them and I accept no responsibility for making their ordeal worse. But considering they’re doomed anyway, my guess is that they’ll have precious little to lose by lending me their ear.

Considering I’ve already mentioned Alice Hardy, I guess it makes sense to start with her as she gave such a creditable account of herself against embittered mother Pamela Voorhees, that she had every right to feel a tad hard done by once the inevitable sequel came about and she was snuffed out unceremoniously before the credits even rolled. While Alice fought tooth and nail to avoid the same grisly fate as her fellow counsellors and came away victorious from her brief skirmish with mommie dearest, pushing that canoe out into the swim and caressing the water almost romantically was a definite no-no in my book. It could also be mistaken for disrespectful behavior when you think about it.

Poor Jason had just been forced to watch on helplessly while his beloved mother had her head lopped off with a rusty machete and now he has to deal with this thoughtless girl rubbing that shit in his face in the precise spot where he perished over twenty years ago. Let’s forget the fact that he hadn’t aged whatsoever during the interim yet, by the next time his path crossed with Alice, puberty had come and passed and focus on the cold hard facts. You acted like a cunt Alice, deprived a young boy who’d already suffered enough of his one true role model, and never once considered how this would make him feel. Granted, your actions were endorsed by survival instinct as opposed to malice, but I propose it was your lack of sensitivity that led to your bloody demise.

My advice to you would therefore be this sweet Alice. First things first, do you recall the game of strip Monopoly you played with Bill and Brenda? Way too PG-13 for my liking. Had things continued to escalate, then a m√©nage √† trois may well have been on the cards and perhaps all three of you would have made it through the night unscathed. It’s a well documented fact that engaging in sexual activity is simply asking for a thorough ventilating but not if you stick around for post-coital snuggles afterwards. Pamela may be rather tasty with an axe, hunting knife, and quiver of arrows, but she’s also likely midway through menopause and I struggle to envisage her slaughtering three teens at once without suffering a hot flush at the very least. There’s much to be said for safety in numbers, and besides, I had my heart set on seeing your breasts. Fucking cock tease.

Next up is the Overlook Hotel’s head chef, Dick Hallorann from The Shining and you may remember things didn’t end at all well for poor Dick after answering a telepathic distress call from his prot√©g√© Danny and undertaking a Mecca-style pilgrimage to come to the young boy’s aid. If I were you Dick, I’d stick to watching porn in your motel room and take full advantage of the excellent central heating facilities on offer. Don’t try and tell me you’re not considering knocking one out as it’s written all over your face and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. The Overlook Hotel is no longer your concern as Jack Torrence knew the risks when accepting the winter caretaker role and, whatever family business is going down there, is his problem at least until the Spring.

No offence but you met his wife Wendy right? Did that not provide a red flag that it was all going to end in redrum? I’d struggle to make it through a solitary night without desiring to drive a woodsman’s axe into her skull and it must have occurred to you that Jack would eventually tire of her incessant whining. But no, you just had to test out your snow plough didn’t you? The fierce blizzard couldn’t deter you from playing do-gooder when these matters should never have concerned you. Credit where it’s due, you braved some fairy heinous conditions and showed a tremendous amount of resolve to make it to the Overlook Hotel in one piece. But you barely got chance to remove your sheepskin mittens before having your welcome mat harshly tugged out from under you.

Had you stuck around to catch the Pam Grier marathon that evening instead of taking part in a wild goose chase in sub-zero conditions, then not only would you still be alive, but perhaps Wendy would have been firewood by now and Jack wouldn’t have frozen to death in that hedge maze. I’d have happily taken that as a trade-off as seldom have I felt such utter contempt for a person as I do her and hold you fully accountable for ensuring she made it. Thus my retrospective advice would be this – tell Danny to fuck off telepathically (or ffokcuf for additional irony points) and hit the bong instead.

Next up is Private Vasquez from Aliens and it pains me to call this testosterone-fulled battle cat out as she showed so much resilience with her back against the wall. Indeed, she barely put a foot wrong until the xenomorphs’ final ambush and came agonizingly close to reaching the dropship, only to be callously thwarted at the very last. Even when she assumed crouched position and shuffled into the air vent with only her trusty firearm as protection, her head didn’t drop and she single-handedly bought Ripley, Hicks and Newt the time to get their wriggle on and escape certain death. Granted, she did suffer a spot of burn damage after taking a load of highly astringent alien jizz to the combat pants, but a tough cookie like Vasquez should be more than adept at fighting through the pain. Instead, sentimentality got the better of her at the crucial moment, and she fell for Gorman’s snivelling.

Let’s study the facts shall we? Lieutenant Gorman had already proved himself ineffective as a commanding officer and his inability to make decisions under duress indirectly led to the untimely demise of almost half your team buddies. Spineless minnows like Gorman have no place whatsoever on the battlefield, particularly when your beloved Drake perished so tantalizingly close to evac as a result of his stammering leadership skills. Besides, the rules clearly state that any survivor dressed in head bandages already has one foot in the body bag and should therefore be disregarded as fodder. To be fair, he did come good in the eleventh hour by coming to your aid after hearing your manly grunt of last stand defiance. But I can’t shake the nagging feeling that it should have been him, not you, and certainly not both of you.

My orders to you Vasquez actually wouldn’t deviate a great deal and would still entail pulling the pin on your frag and huddling together with Gorman for the inevitable big bang. However, just after delivering the line “you always were an asshole Gorman”, I say pistol whip that sorry fuck to the region of his bandaged head bleeding most profusely and vacate the blast radius on your one good leg. If you’re going to call him an asshole (and let’s face it, he had that one coming), then at least treat him like one and let the aliens punch his face through before the thing detonates.

It just feels so unnecessary and, while I applaud such a lion-hearted display of uncommon valor, I hate that the last smell in your nostrils before you accepted your fate was his involuntary flatulence. That said, you would have only wound up drowning in your hypersleep chamber on the journey home like Hicks and Newt, so perhaps you really did dodge a bullet after all.

One person you could argue kind of had it coming is Marion Crane from Psycho. After embezzling $40k in cash from the real estate firm she worked for, Ms. Crane skipped town and embarked on a nerve-shredding road trip to California, where she planned to meet up with her boyfriend Sam and split the money. To give Marion her dues, she did stop off at a dealership and trade in her old rust bucket for a brand new rust bucket, complete with authentic Cali license plates, albeit not entirely inconspicuously.

But the hard work was all but done by the time the rain clouds rolled in overhead. Should she have ignored the storm and carried on, then she would have made it to her location by the following morning. Instead, she pulled into the ominous looking Bates Motel and booked herself a room for the night. You could argue she was just being conscientious but I’d scoff at that suggestion.

You see, it wouldn’t take a degree in criminal psychology to realize that proprietor Norman Bates was a few sandwiches short of a picnic. For starters, he was far too twitchy not to be a closet psychopath, and beneath that thin veil of kindness evidently lurked a monster. Secondly, while awfully congenial of Norman to invite you for a candlelit dinner on arrival, his mother wasn’t sold on the idea and made it clear in no uncertain terms that she didn’t approve of the company her son was keeping. And finally, while Norman gave you his word that she was “as harmless as one of those stuffed birds”, any single man with a penchant for taxidermy evidently has far too much time on his hands and a fair few screws loose to boot.

Okay, so here’s what I would have done, had I been in your heels Marion. At the end of your meal, just as you were preparing to make your polite excuses and retire to your room, I’d have offered Norman a foot job beneath the table, thus ridding him of any pent-up sperm likely to influence his next move. Then, once the final drop of man fat had been prised out, I’d have returned to my chalet and had a flannel wash, as opposed to taking that long, steamy naked shower.

I’m not sure which of Norman’s highly suspicious actions would lead you to believe that he wasn’t capable of drilling a hole in the bathroom wall and eyeballing beautiful young women as they wash away all that daily grime. But you have to admit, you pretty much begged him to murder you in cold blood and could only have asked for it more if you’d covered yourself from head to toe in tar and feathers.

Speaking of dick moves, wheelchair-bound twentysomething Franklin Hardesty from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre could have written a book on the subject. It was awfully decent of his long-suffering sister Sally to invite him along on a cross-country road trip with her good friends and Franklin repaid this act of kindness by spending the entire journey bitching and griping like a spoiled brat. To be fair, it wasn’t him who pulled the camper van over to admit entry to a shady looking hitchhiker.

But it was Franklin who dimwittedly lent this sinister straggler his pocket knife and Franklin wailing like an infant when their new travel companion ran a straight razor down his arm as a way of showing his immense gratitude. Further crisis was then averted as the heinous hitcher was forcibly ejected from the vehicle but do you think he would let it go? No, he was still bellyaching when they arrived at their off-the-beaten-track destination.

First Kirk, then Pam, and finally Jerry failed to return after investigating the nearby house in search of gas and poor Sally was the one left behind to listen to Franklin’s hard luck stories and empty his colostomy bag. By the time Leatherface showed up on the scene wielding his oversized chainsaw with intent to fashion himself a mixed grill, Sally was all out of sisterly love and simply let him get on with it. Had Franklin not have proved such a burden until that point, then perhaps she would have released his brakes and donated a gentle push out of the firing line. Instead, she practically hung a sign around her brother’s neck saying “meals on wheels” and fled off into the undergrowth, leaving Franklin to pick up the bill. And do you know what? I’d have done precisely the same.

Should you be reading this now Franklin, then here are a few tips for you old pal, compliments of the house. While I appreciate that physical disability can be a highly frustrating affair, that doesn’t excuse you acting like a bag of blunt tools and killing everyone else’s buzz. Once the others up and leave (likely just to get away from you), may I suggest offering your sister a much-deserved shoulder rub and some words of encouragement, as opposed to driving the poor girl gaga. As for the whole piss satchel emptying deal, well you’re only dead from the waist down fella, so that’s one headache you could alleviate all by yourself.

Then, as that hulking juggernaut bursts onto the scene with 1000 metal teeth gnashing, I’d advise against waiting for your reluctant chauffeur to turn your chariot around and wheel you off to safety. Have you ever heard of reverse gear Franklin? When you think about it logically, you actually hold the mobile advantage here. So grow a pair and use it, or else I’ll set grandpa on your “woe is me” ass.

A smidgen harsh? Perhaps but, in the world of horror, there is no such thing as sympathy points. Be you pre-teen, geriatric, devout Catholic, pacifist, amnesiac, paraplegic, haemophiliac, or possess chubby ankles – your safe passage is no more secured and quite rightly so. What’s good for the goose should also gratify the gander don’t cha think? After all, the late Wes Craven went to extraordinary lengths to reassure audiences that “it’s only a movie!” and no pre-teens, geriatrics, devout Catholics, pacifists, amnesiacs, paraplegics, haemophiliacs, or those in possession of chubby ankles are actually harmed in the making of said movies.

My father spent the last twenty-five years of his life confined to a wheelchair but did that stop me snorting like a pig in a blanket when Mark took a rusty blade to the noggin in Friday the 13th Part 2 before engaging the downhill nitrous? Of course it didn’t and do you know what else? Pops was right alongside me the whole time, howling like Lassie from Porky’s. I’ve read the horror terms and conditions right down to the small print and nowhere does it state anything whatsoever about free passes.

While we’re on those all important do’s and don’ts, I object to the passage in my slasher handbook that declares all sex, booze, and drugs to be highly immoral and engagement in any of the three be punishable by death most ghastly. I thought we were all here to have fun. Subtract unprotected sex, a skinful of liquor and a few harmless tokes on a doob from the equation and what are you left with? Bible camp and the last thing I want while our masked madman prepares to slice and dice disposable teens is to be thumbing frantically through a hymn book for Morning Has Broken.

Besides, Carrie White never got her cherry popped and it didn’t stop her soaking up a pale of pig cruor did it? Rules are there to be broken right? I say keep doing what you’re doing sluts and studs – guzzle down those cold ones, get high on whatever supply is closest, and fuck like eighties bush is going out of fashion. I’ll even toss in a pretty please.

If you want my two-cents worth (and I’m quite aware you never asked for it), then I’d recommend those in large groups to make sure you get a few good lines in early on, and no, I’m not speaking of getting coked up out of your trees. Horror budgets don’t stretch that far you know. I’m referring to speaking up as nobody wants to be the sorry douche who enters the second act without a solitary line of dialogue to their name. Muscle your way into frame at every available opportunity, talk over your associates whenever they have something meaningful to impart, and generally put yourself around some. Follow these basic guidelines and, providing you’re not the designated token black guy, you may just scrape through to dawn’s early light in tact.

Definite no-no’s include proclamation that you’ll “be right back” as we learned way back in Scream 101 and that one actually holds rather a lot of weight unless you’re a cyborg sent back from the future to decimate the past. Neither would I encourage bravery in any way, shape or form. Should you hear a faint rustle in the foliage, then let some other dozy sap check it out as horror is a breeding ground for the gormless and you’ll never be short of lemmings to send marching to their certain death.

And whatever you do, never EVER start a game of strip Monopoly that you don’t intend to see through to its conclusion as that’s just mean-spirited. I can’t offer any cast-iron guarantees that you won’t still die screaming by adhering to the above stipulations but I will applaud your industrious efforts to remain one step ahead of the hatchet.

In exchange for all this free information, I do have one teensy weensy little request. Should your very best efforts prove in vain and bloody murder appear unavoidable, then I’d very much appreciate if you don’t wander off-screen at the critical moment that blitzkrieg ensues. There’s nothing more disheartening than scooping a fresh handful of salted popcorn, only for the camera to go all shy just as the pay off arrives.

Don’t go thinking that shadow puppets are sufficient either. I believe I speak for the entire population of horror when expressing our desire to observe every last nut getting cracked and failure to provide us a doozy will result in us busting out our most fury-fuelled frowns. That’s not to mention how pissed off your antagonist will be when taken to task on their kill tally by their fellow fiends and not being able to provide any bona fide evidence.

Before I pack you off to summer camp with all this newfound knowledge, let’s take a fleeting look at a few of horror’s great survivors and see how they applied themselves shall we? Lt. Ellen Ripley had the right idea as she managed to thoroughly outwit her main rival once in the airlock, then again, in the queen’s lair.

Granted, she was impregnated while in a state of deep and peaceful hypersleep, but I’d rather endure a little morning sickness and some fairly hefty stretch marks than wind up with death most gargling like her hapless bunk mates. She even shaved her head just to appear more aerodynamic and that was just what Alien¬≥ needed – another anonymous baldy. But at least she never rested on her laurels.

It’s one thing making it through a nightmare unscathed, but quite another when the sequels come bowling in like bums at a bar mitzvah and demand rematch after frigging rematch. What I’m suggesting is to move with the times as the past has a canny knack of catching up with you once you take your eye off the ball and grow complacent. All that hard work can be undone in an instant and it just so happens I have one such fall from grace in my front-most thoughts as we speak. Set your coordinates for Haddonfield, Illinois and we should arrive some time around the 31st of October which, as luck would have it, is the night he came home. Miss Laurie Strode – how do you fancy making yourself a quick twenty bucks?

Let’s not puncture the pumpkin here, Laurie damn well rode her luck at times and can count herself fortunate not to have been punished more severely for underestimating her adversary’s regenerative powers, discarding her only instrument of defense, and vacating the danger zone at a pace that can only be described as slothful. But the one thing she had plenty of in reserves was good old-fashioned American pluck and, by the time Halloween H20: 20 Years Later came about, it appeared she had finally put all past trauma behind her. After faking her death to throw her brother off the scent and changing her name to Keri Tate, she was now headmistress at a highly decorated academy, and a role model for all final girls to aspire to.

However, this is where things started to turn awry for Laurie. You see, during the interim between her 20-year family reunion and Halloween: Resurrection, she managed to land herself in the local sanitarium and Michael wasted little time in tracking her down. Needless to say, he had murder on his mind and this time his hard target was too weary to fight him off any longer. The Laurie Strode of Halloweens past would have plunged a knitting needle into his eye or shot both out of their sockets using her mad marksman skills but, now a shadow of her former self, she did this shit instead.

Okay so perhaps the above snapshot isn’t 100% factually accurate as I’m reasonably assured there wasn’t any tongue action going on. But still, really Laurie? Their final embrace was wrong on numerous levels, none more so than the fact that brothers and sisters aren’t supposed to cop off with one another unless they herald from Malm√∂. Worse still for Ms. Strode, it turns out that she’s either something of a shit kisser or has the breath of a camel as her darling brother sent her plummeting to her death seconds afterwards and one of the most enduring family feuds in modern horror was snuffed out in the time it took Mikey to squirt a little pre-ejaculate in his man-diaper. Oh, how the mighty fall.

Surviving a horror movie is tough enough, but making it through an entire franchise without being lanced like an angry boil requires constant evolution and refusal to surrender when your opposite number puckers up for a smooch. Even then, you need to bank on a fairly hefty wedge of good fortune and pray that your rival is having an off-day. I trust I have been of some assistance here and wish you well in all your future endeavors. As for yours truly, well I’ve always been good at doling out sound advice but not so hot on taking my own medicine.

Thus I’m off to get categorically sozzled on cheap industrial strength lager, smoke a big-boned blunt to the nub, engage in a little moonlit skinny dipping, and shag the hemorrhoids off the most promiscuous bottle blonde I can lay my greasy paws on. That said, thanks to lessons in love from horror’s very own golden girl Laurie Strode, I will now think twice about keeping it in the family. Just one thing before I investigate the strange rustling sound coming from yonder bushes – foot jobs don’t count right? I always have been a sucker for painted toenails, although perhaps not this particular punnet of pole-axed piglets.

Click here to read How to Make an Eighties Slasher

 

 

 

GREY KEEPER FRAME

1 Comment

If you like what you've seen & read please feel free to share your thoughts with us!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.