Attack of the clichés: How to survive in a horror film

There are some things guaranteed to get you killed. It happens the same way, almost every time. So here’s a list of things to avoid, should you find yourself in a cabin by the lake, on a Friday the 13th.
It never ends well for token minorities and sex symbols in Hollywood horror. (Scream) PREMIUM
It never ends well for token minorities and sex symbols in Hollywood horror. (Scream)
Updated on Oct 30, 2021 07:22 PM IST
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Don’t be too black, too Asian or too blonde. It’s always these guys who go first. It never ends well for token minorities and sex symbols in Hollywood horror flicks. Also, don’t go up, or down. Avoid all stairs. The attic must be completely off limits. Never mind who’s up there or how much you love them. It’s each man and woman for themselves now.

Don’t investigate a strange sound: I mean, this shouldn’t have to be said. Perhaps in a romcom, you could venture out at a strange noise, and the worst that would happen is you’d find a bunch of flowers on your doorstep, from that guy you’re friends with but not really sure you like. But on a dark night, in cabin by the lake, in a town just bursting with urban legends, do not, as soon as a wolf howls, a cat screeches or the barn door creaks, join your host of young friends who feel they must investigate.

Try not to move with your troubled family into a rambling home that’s been empty for decades. (The Conjuring)
Try not to move with your troubled family into a rambling home that’s been empty for decades. (The Conjuring)

Be more selective when house-hunting. Try not to move with your troubled family into a rambling home that’s been empty for decades, especially if there’s only a dirt road leading to it; no traffic for miles; a dim light on the horizon for neighbours; and acres of forest just behind you.

As soon as the kids start to act spooky, leave. Are your children talking in unison, to new friends only they can see? Don’t stop to wonder why. Load up the car, young parents, and get back to the city. If their pupils are already turning red, it’s too late. You might as well just trudge down to the basement or out into the woods. It’s where you’ll end up anyway.

Assume that any toy you buy could come to life, so put down the glowering doll with opposable thumbs and pick a Glo Friend or a Barbie. (Annabelle)
Assume that any toy you buy could come to life, so put down the glowering doll with opposable thumbs and pick a Glo Friend or a Barbie. (Annabelle)

At the toy store, stick to unicorns and tiny ponies. Assume that any toy you buy could come to life, so put down the glowering doll with opposable thumbs and pick a Glo Friend or a Barbie. You know she’s not built to do much anyway. Between her heels, top-heavy form and tiny heat-free kitchen appliances, the most she can do is disappoint.

Don’t hit the killer once and assume your job is done. Have at it. Get your friends; let them take a stab at him too. Why are people always throwing a rake at a blood-spilling slasher and then collapsing onto the grass to catch their breath?

Dress like it’s the dead of winter. It’s always the scantily clad women who get chased down. Put on some sweaters, ditch the heels for boots, earmuffs could help. And do not, under any circumstances, have sex in a horror movie. It never ends well.

Now that you have your ground rules, you can relax, but not too much. Stay away from the alcohol, the lake, the music and the group of dancing teens. Sit in your winter wear, in the living room, ideally reading a really dull book that only you like. No one will bother you now. In fact, you might find yourself in the pre-makeover beginning of a romcom. And what you need to watch out for there? Well that’s a story for another day.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Madhusree is a feature writer who loves Kolkata, is learning to love Mumbai. She loves to travel, write and bake

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Tuesday, May 17, 2022