The 10 Rules To Live By If You Want Any Hope Of Surviving A Scary Movie

Would You Make It Through?

By Dolores Quintana · @doloresquintana · June 7, 2023, 4:47 AM PDT
Scream (1996)

We all want to survive a horror movie, but not all of us can be a final girl. What can film of terror teach us about survival? As it happens, quite a lot.

Don't Sleep - Body Snatchers (1996)

Body Snatchers (1993)

Image Credit: IMDB

One of the best pieces of advice in a horror movie is to not go to sleep. In "A Nightmare On Elm Street," that is when Freddy Krueger can come to get you. In the many adaptations of "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers," like Abel Ferrara's "Body Snatchers," sleeping means you will no longer be human. Even in "Scream," Randy is in danger when he starts dozing off on the couch. Invest in a good coffee machine. That's my motto.

Run Fast - The Running Man (1987)

The Running Man (1987)

Image Credit: IMDB

This rule comes from "Zombieland," but it is excellent advice for many other kinds of terror films. Cardio. It's become increasingly apparent, especially with the arrival of the new faster zombies who love to run, that being able to sprint for long periods is very important to your personal survival. You need to run in "28 Days Later", "Train To Busan," and "The Sadness," and those zombies are really fast.

Just Say No - Nope (2022)

Nope (2022)

Image Credit: Universal Studios

Jordan Peele's excellent film "Nope" is chock full of great advice on staying alive during a horror film, particularly one with aliens in it. The title itself says it all. When confronted with terror skulking around Earth, say, "Nope." You can look away and run as quickly as possible. It goes with Sidney Prescott's famous criticism of female characters who run upstairs instead of out the front door. Sidney knows, and OJ and Emerald Heywood know. You don't need to be any part of that.

Don't Drive Behind Trucks - Final Destination 2 (2003)

Final Destination (2003)

Image Credit: IMDB

This rule is very applicable to everyday life. Most of us aren't going to be in the path of aliens, ghosts, or demons, but many of us drive on the freeway or highway. While this incredible set piece in Final Destination 2 happens because of Death stalking the characters, that doesn't mean that driving behind a truck with an unsecured load is a terrific idea because it's not. I had heard stories about people being hurt by things that flew off of trucks, but it wasn't until I saw this film in the Final Destination franchise that the lesson really took hold.

Have a Buddy - The Cabin In The Woods (2011)

The Cabin In The Woods

Image Credit: IMDB

There's safety in numbers, and that saying exists for a reason. It's always the one moment when someone wanders off away from the rest of the group when some beastie or monster jumps out and attacks. Just don't do it. As a minimum, go for the buddy system. Don't give evil a chance to sneak up on you alone. "The Cabin In The Woods" makes light of it because it's a horror film staple. Tatum doesn't make it into the sequel for "Scream" because she goes into the garage to get more beer by herself.

No Strangers - Speak No Evil (2022)

Speak No Evil (2022)

Image Credit: IMDB

Whatever you do, do not let people talk you into going away with them somewhere, especially not if you don't know them very well. In the incredibly disturbing film "Speak No Evil," the main characters expose themselves to danger by agreeing to visit a couple in their home when they meet them on vacation. Extremely bad idea. That's something that criminals do, it's called taking you to a secondary location, and the police say never let anyone do that. Usually, you don't come back.

Grab The Keys - Dawn Of The Dead (2004)

Dawn Of The Dead (2004)

Image Credit: Universal Studios

Be like Ana, played by Sarah Polley, in "Dawn Of The Dead." Ana survives the first time a zombie attacks her because she keeps a cool head and remembers to grab the keys before running to the bathroom despite the many appalling things she is subjected to. Because she has the keys, she can drive away from her neighborhood and her now-deceased husband. Later in the film, she remembers to grab the keys to the boat from zombie Steve. On either occasion, had she not done so, it would have been game over for everyone. Always remember the small things, and always grab the keys.

No Clowns - Killer Clowns From Outer Space

Killer Clowns From Outer Space (1988)

Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

I think it should be evident by now, but just in case, I'll say it. If you suspect, for any reason, that you are in a horror movie and you see a clown? Jump in the nearest car and burn rubber for the state line. Do not wait around or try to talk to any clowns. The evidence is there, especially after films like "Killer Clowns From Outer Space," and even more importantly, "Terrifier" and "Terrifier 2" Being around one of those clowns is extraordinarily dangerous to your health.

Don't Read It Aloud - Evil Dead Rise (2023)

Evil Dead Rise (2023)

Image Credit: IMDB

In the hall of terrible ideas, there has to be a shrine to the idea of reading aloud from a book with words you don't understand, listening to a recording of such words, or reciting things you don't understand. It's how so many people in the Evil Dead franchise have come to grief, but Shawn Ruddy in "Deadstream" made that mistake too. Say it with me: if you don't understand it, don't repeat it, read it aloud, or play a record of it.

Don't Trust Robots - M3GAN (2022)

M3GAN (2022)

Image Credit: IMDB

No matter how cute the AI is, like M3GAN, never forget that the AI is not human and does not have the emotions that keep us from doing evil things. It's a lesson that horror films have been trying to teach us for a long time. We didn't listen in "2001: A Space Odyssey" when HAL 9000 ended up singing "Daisy Bell" after killing nearly the entire crew of Discovery One. We didn't listen when Ash tried to kill Ripley on the Company's orders in "Alien." Never put your life in the hands of artificial intelligence, my friends.