Published on October 29th, 2012 | by Brent Sumner0
Scary Lessons Learned: 4 Unusual Tips Taught By Horror Movies
Brent Sumner, Assistant Tempo Editor
Photo courtesy of sxc.hu.
Horror movies have always been the underdogs in the film industry. They receive bad reviews, have some choppy acting and sometimes contain horrible storylines. If audiences look past the minor flaws of horror movies (or can find one that’s actually decent), they may realize that horror movies are full of information.
“Even though horror films don’t scare me, they snap me out of complacency — they create a rent in the thin scrim that falls over me each day from a routinized lifestyle,” said Dr. Simone Muench, associate professor at Lewis University who teaches film courses.
Some of the best lessons we learn from horror movies are skills to survive. However, these movies also teach us some unusual lessons, including the following:
1) Everything is out to kill you.
Whether it’s the obvious weapon or innocent kitchen appliance, in the realm of horror movies, anything can be a potential threat. When the baby sitter in “Halloween” puts a knitting needle in the neck of Michael Myers, the audience did not see the object as a weapon at first. Until the needle caused damage, the audience wondered if the baby sitter was going to start knitting a sweater. Weapons are an obvious way of receiving injuries; however, this rule also includes rooms along with furniture.
“Don’t just stay away from closets, basements and attics; keep clear of kitchen disposals, mirrors, bathtubs, barns, hot tubs, dollhouses and wells,” Muench said.
In the movie “Psycho,” Janet Leigh’s character was simply minding her own business taking a shower when suddenly, she is on the receiving end of a big, shiny knife. Basically, in horror movies there is always an unexpected danger, and you must be aware of it.
2) Do not try the phone. It never works.
Communication in horror movies is always faulty. Phones and the Internet are always down. If a character finds a pen to write a letter, it would be their luck to find it out of ink.
If information got out that a monster was wrecking havoc on a town, there simply would not be a movie, or everything would end with the monster being arrested.
In horror films, there must be a climactic battle between the hero and the villain. The conflict between the main character and the killer builds up the intensity, and audiences do not want to see the main character flee while some random person takes care of their problem. No communication adds to the suspense. In today’s world, people are constantly having conversations, and when that is all taken away, it creates a horror movie in itself.
3) Do not take off your undergarments.
This may seem like a weird rule, but in countless horror movies, innocent bystanders are killed while having intimate moments with their better halves. The “Halloween” movies constantly have teens engaging in physical promiscuity before they are inconveniently interrupted by Mike Myers (not the “Austin Powers” one, either).
Throughout the sequels, teens continue to have the same bad luck. Even though “Halloween” doesn’t necessarily show the sexual scenes, it is easily implied with the teens walking around half dressed.
The consistency doesn’t end with the Michael Myers-franchise, either. Many other horror movies, such as “Evil Dead,” “Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Scream,” depict underdressed women meeting their nude and untimely demise. Their “immoral” behaviors always lead to punishment from the evildoer.
4) Put faith in the double tap.
Granted, this rule is well-known from the hit zombie flick, “Zombieland.” However, Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) was right on track with this nifty idea.
In “Zombieland,” the best way to make sure the zombie wasn’t going to get back up was to shoot it again, hence “the double tap.” This rule can also be applied to other horror movies.
“Halloween” can be referred to again in this case. With eight “Halloween” movies being made, not including the remakes by heavy metal superstar Rob Zombie, it is pretty obvious that Mike Myers does not die easily. If people would have taken the time to make sure he was not coming back from his “death,” there would not have been seven more movies made, and there sure would have been fewer victims.
The same goes for the movie “Chucky.” After being burnt to a crisp, the characters think their job with him is done. But, after going for a first aid kit, Andy finds that Chucky isn’t anywhere to be found. The murderous doll then chases the survivors again for a final standoff, where he is finally shot and killed.
“If you are fortunate enough to defeat the villain, don’t just kill, overkill. Cut off his head and his hands to make sure he can’t come after you a second time,” Muench said.
Horror movies have always been around to instill fear and images of bloody murders into audiences. However, with these tips provided through horror films, audiences can also learn great things from them.