Survival Of The Fittest
Halloween is approaching and the natural thing to do in the Baker home is to overdose on any and every horror film imaginable. Not one horror flick goes watched without me saying or thinking “WHY did they do that??” at least once. I get that not every character can be a genius, otherwise the movie would be pretty boring, but at times even the main character who is set to survive will ignore all common sense and do something so moronic that it puts them on the brink of death. Jamie Kennedy’s character in Scream summed up the basic rules pretty well:
“There are certain rules that one must abide by in order to successfully survive a horror movie! For instance, Number One: You can never have sex. Sex equals death, OK? Number Two: You can never drink or do drugs. No, it’s the sin factor, it’s a sin, it’s an extension of Number One! And Number Three: Never, ever, ever, under any circumstances, say ‘I’ll be right back’, ’cause you won’t be back.” He also points out in Scream 2 that you should “never, ever, under any circumstances assume the killer is dead.”
Not having sex and never saying that you’ll be right back are good tips if you’re actually living out the plot of a scary movie, but it doesn’t help too much in the real world. Not drinking or doing drugs is a good tip since it obviously impairs your judgment and coordination. Never assuming the killer is dead is also a helpful tip; it seems like common sense but it also seems easy for a person to be so eager to escape or so caught up in victory that they forget a simple knock on the head didn’t necessarily take the killer out. To go along with Randy’s words of advise, I have some of my own to ensure survival in a horror OR an action movie:
1. BEWARE OF MAJOR CITIES. Ever notice how aliens love to destroy New York City, terrorists hate Los Angeles, the Decepticons had a grudge against Chicago, and Washington D.C. has an abundance of buildings that are fun to blow up? If you live in a major and easily recognizable city, chances are good that you’ll face some sort of unspeakable monster or catastrophe. Live somewhere low-key instead. The most I have to worry about are aliens drawing pictures in the corn field near my home, and if they’re anything like the ones in Signs, all I have to do is swing away…
2. DRESS FOR SUCCESS! No one survives a zombie attack wearing 5″ stiletto heels and a miniskirt. Some clothing just isn’t designed for comfort and fast movement. Choose practicality over style when the situation gets gritty. If you hear a strange noise, don’t exit the bathroom in just a towel, throw some clothes and shoes on. The MINUTE you sense danger, get some shoes on; watching Liv Tyler’s character in the Strangers scamper around barefoot drove me batty. If Skynet becomes self-aware right in the middle of a dinner party, raid your friend’s closet or break into a department store to get better suited clothing.
3. FOLLOW THE ANIMALS. Animals have a 6th sense that we either lack or choose to ignore. Ever notice how a dog will sense a thunderstorm before the weatherman? In Cloverfield, the kids are fleeing down the subway tunnel when suddenly a swarm of rats runs past them. Rather than run like all hell broke loose, they chose to wait and wonder why they were running (mini death machine aliens were chasing them of course) which caused one of their group to die after receiving a bite from said death alien. Normally, we’re smarter than the rat. You shouldn’t follow a random rat around in circles as it searches for crumbs. You should definitely run like your life depends on it if every rat in the area is running in one direction. Stop and think about what you could be running from later on when you’re safe.
4. TRUST NO ONE. My husband and I watched Seventh Moon last night, starring Amy Smart. The first mistake her character and husband made was trusting their cab driver; he left them to die at the hands of demons. The second mistake was trusting a wounded man and giving him a ride in their car; he also tried to hand them over to the demons. You can’t trust people in a crisis situation; always assume they are looking out for themselves and consider you disposable. Look at everyone as though you are Jack Bauer and everyone but Chloe is probably going to betray you at any given moment.
5. IGNORE THE KIDS. In Legion, lives are risked to protect a little boy who turns out to be possessed and nearly fillets a pregnant woman with a butcher knife. Demons in Supernatural (yeah, it’s TV, but it works) have used the bodies of children on multiple occasions because the average person doesn’t see a little kid and think “Hmm.. I think they will probably try and rip my heart from my chest with their tiny hands, I should move along.” The first instinct is to help, and if you’re dealing with an entity not of this world that possesses even some insight on our culture, they are bound to use kids against us to lure us into a trap. Damn kids.
6. MAKE NO EXCEPTIONS! Everyone knows that if you’re bitten by a zombie, you’re infected and will eventually turn. As seen in every zombie movie ever, a poor soul will be bitten and will have help concealing the bite from the others, knowing that if they find out, they will deliver a head shot to the infected. Don’t let your feelings get in the way! If a loved one is showing signs of turning to the dark side, take the necessary actions and take them out. My husband would not hesitate taking my head off if I received a zombie bite. That’s love, people.
7. BICYCLE ANYONE? Everyone always acts like there are two forms of transportation during a crisis; motor vehicle and your two legs. Sadly, walking is slow and gas isn’t a never-ending resource when the world is in shambles. Why not pick up a bike? Honestly, I’d be the most happy with a tank that can fly and float and has endless ammo, but the reality is at the most, I’d have a car that would eventually have a dry gas tank. Faced with walking or “borrowing” a bicycle, I’d think I’d rather pedal for my life than run for it. Plus if you’re tethered with a non-zombie child, it’s easier to sit them on the handlebars and pedal away than it is to carry them and run.
8. DON’T MAKE YOURSELF KNOWN. Don’t yell “hello?” to a dark room. Don’t pop out of your hiding place the minute you think danger has passed. Learn to whisper or don’t speak at all. If you’re traveling with a baby or with my dog, you’re probably screwed. Please don’t scream like little girls at every dead body you come across. Watch your step. And if you’re like me, rob a pharmacy and stock up on Claritin so your sneezing doesn’t equal your death sentence.
9. THERE IS NO TIME FOR PITY PARTIES. It’s only natural to want to cry when an alien ship zaps your home into oblivion, taking the family pet and your spouse with it. But crying on what used to be your front step isn’t going to help you survive. Save your tears for the safe house and keep your focus on getting yourself and your remaining loved ones to a non-exploding location. The other option is to turn your cry-fest into an all out rage-a-thon and murdering every bad guy in sight. Either way.
10. BE SMART! Use the big sexy organ between your ears to its fullest extent. Allow it to plan ahead and grab a backpack to stock with supplies you’ll need to survive and can barter with. Let it decide that a gun is a great weapon, but you need a backup when you run out of bullets. Listen to it when it tells you to choose path A over path B, regardless of what Random Guy In Army T-Shirt thinks is right. Don’t eat the red berries. Never allow yourself to get lulled into a false sense of security and forget that you’re in the middle of a dire situation. You don’t need to have the brain power of House, MD combined with the survival skills of Les Stroud, but you need to keep your mind sharp and alert if you plan on making it to the sequel as anything more than a flashback.