- IMDB / Paramount Pictures
- Horror movies often follow familiar patterns.
- Those characters who were lucky enough to survive films like “Friday the 13th” and “Scream” can tell you there are certain things you should never do in a horror disaster.
- Here’s exactly what you need to do to survive if you ever find yourself in these characters’ shoes.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The more horror movies you watch, the more you pick up on certain themes.
That’s true of any genre, of course – but most characters don’t run the risk of sudden, violent death in romantic comedies.
If you ever have the bad fortune to find yourself inside a horror movie, there are a few ground rules you need to follow if you want to survive – stay out of the basement, for one, and under no circumstances should you ever split up from your group.
Unfortunately, some people just can’t help themselves, and it usually doesn’t turn out well for them.
But if you’re looking to survive in a horror movie, follow these 10 pieces of advice.
Move away from haunted houses — or better yet, don’t live there in the first place.
Anyone who’s seen “The Haunting of Hill House” knows what a bad idea living in a perpetually haunted house can be – but this is a list about movies, not TV shows.
Still, that Netflix series just reinforces what horror films have been driving home since at least “The Amityville Horror,” according to Atlas Obscura. That principle also goes for houses built on top of gravesites. What’s that you say? Your house is built over a desecrated Native American burial ground? Apart from the fact that the house shouldn’t exist, and those remains never should have been disturbed – you also shouldn’t live there. So, don’t.
Always check the inside of your car — including the backseat and trunk or hatch — before you get into it.
That’s not a bad idea for living your life, let alone surviving in a horror movie – if you read, watch, or listen to enough pieces in the true crime genre, you’ll hear plenty of real life stories where something bad has happened like this.
Anyway, ’80s slashers like “Ghoulies” and the original “Child’s Play” demonstrate very clearly why you should always check your backseat before you get in the car. Of course, if your villain is as tiny as Chucky, it might be easy to miss him with a quick, terrified glance over your shoulder – but trying can’t hurt.
Trunks and hatches are good to check too, because in some cars, they connect to the passenger cabin. A villain hiding back there could kick through to the main passenger area and cause you harm.
Don’t split up — even to go check something suspicious out.
- IMDB / Paramount Pictures
If you’re in a situation with one or more people, don’t split up – for any reason. Slacktory posted a great supercut of several horror movie scenes from the 1970s through the 2000s that illustrates exactly why splitting up is very likely to get you killed.
You might want to send someone to do some recon before your whole group exits the house for the car, or some other very practical scenario. Possibly, you heard a weird noise and want to make sure everything is OK.
Caution is important since, as mentioned elsewhere on this list, a killer could be hiding in your backseat. Still, your party should all go check it out together, instead of sending one or two of your group off to die what will surely be a terrible death.
If you find an ominous book written in a language you can sort of sound out (but don’t really understand), don’t read it out loud.
- Sean S. Cunningham Films
The “Evil Dead” franchise showed you why this is a terrible idea pretty clearly when hero Ash (played by Bruce Campbell) read aloud from the Necronomicon and – surprise! – demons came a-runnin’.
Would this have happened if he’d just read it quietly, while drinking a beer by the fire? It’s unlikely – and of course, would have made a boring movie if he hadn’t made such a bad decision. Still, if this is real life and we’ve learned anything from watching movies like these, this is a rule we should definitely follow.
If you suspect something or someone is haunted or possessed, don’t stick around trying to make contact with otherworldly spirits.
- SLM Production Group
I know, you’re just curious, and thinking maybe they don’t want to kill you or control you to help bring them and their demon buddies into your house, howling as they go. Maybe you want to learn from them. Totally understandable.
Still, if “Poltergeist” didn’t teach us not to mess with malevolent otherworldly spirits, probably nothing will.
Don’t ever go into the basement or attic alone.
- Warner Bros. Pictures
It’s such a classic horror movie trope that terrible things are happening in basements and attics everywhere. I mean, it makes perfect sense – what other rooms naturally have few or no windows, and are therefore pretty good places to hide dark deeds?
It’s so classic that there was an entire horror film released in 2018 starring Mischa Barton that was simply called “The Basement.”
Go all the way back to Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” from 1960 and where was Norman Bates (played by Anthony Perkins) hiding his dearly departed mother’s corpse? The basement, of course. Where did Lila (played by Vera Miles) very nearly die as a result of making this horrifying discovery? Same.
Never, ever say ‘I’ll be right back’ — or any variation on that phrase.
- Dimension Films,
The 1996 horror classic “Scream” made this point pretty clear in a scene where Randy (played by Jamie Kennedy) spelled out a few basic horror movie rules that everyone needs to follow if they want to survive.
Saying that phrase or a reasonable facsimile thereof is like you’re tempting fate – or whatever horror movie monster is after you, at any rate. Don’t do it.
Stay out of the forest.
- Renaissance Pictures
Unless you’re a magical elf who can blend seamlessly into the trees and sneak up on whatever’s stalking you, getting lost and bumbling your way through the forest is probably going to result in your death.
OK, you might think. Am I not safe staying in a nice woodsy cabin, taking a digital detox and getting in touch with nature? Cabin-in-the-woods horror movies became such a trope that they were the inspiration for the parody-homage movie called “The Cabin In The Woods” in 2012.
The film was directed by Drew Goddard (who you might also know from Marvel’s “Daredevil” series on Netflix), and neatly illustrates exactly why you should stay out of the woods at all costs.
If you’re a woman and you notice that everyone else seems to be dropping like flies around you — congratulations, you’re a Final Girl, and you’ll probably survive!
- Blumhouse Tilt
This is an extremely well known trope that is mostly associated with films in the slasher subgenre of horror – but it’s a trope for a reason. Basically, if you’re a smart and resourceful woman, and you keep your head and don’t start randomly tripping over everything in existence trying to run away, you might just make it through this thing alive.
Don’t think it’s ever over.
In one of the most famous twist endings in the entire horror genre, “Friday the 13th” scares the pants off first-time viewers even now with this ending (spoiler warning).
Just because you think everything has safely returned to normal, doesn’t mean that it actually has. After all, there could be a sequel – or an entire franchise! Just ask Jamie Lee Curtis.