Our 31 days of Halloween content has had us busy watching horror movies all month. Who am I kidding, I love horror movies. I watch them year round. Halloween season just gives me an excuse to watch more of them and to discuss them with others that are finally catching up on their horror viewing. The one thing that bugs me, and many others, about horror films is a cliche death. There are a lot of cliches used in movies, but in horror we have some serious faux pas that always lead to death. We put our heads together and came up with our top 10 Horror Movie Cliches of Dumb Ways to Die.
Looking behind you while running away.
Holy mother of …. there is a chainsaw/ax/machete wielding murderer chasing me across uneven ground strewn with dead branches and rocks. I MUST continually look back while running to see where he is at. Oh man, I just tripped over one of the hazards on the ground.. and death. In real life, if there is someone chasing me, I am not going to be looking behind me. I will be working on navigating my path, looking for help, and secretly cursing myself for not keeping up with my cardio. You will have a much better chance of survival if you are paying attention to where you are going.
Investigating strange sounds.
I am really scared and fairly certain something strange is going on, wait…what’s that? I hear an odd sound. It is really dark outside and/or the noise is coming from the dark, creepy basement. I better go check it out. To do so, I must make one or both of the following stupid decisions: split up from the rest of the group or take a flashlight with dying batteries. Guys, if you hear a strange sound, call the police. Stay put. I don’t know what is out there, and I don’t want to find out. When I was a kid, my theory was to just pretend I was asleep and then the bad guys won’t think they need to kill me for being nosy.
Splitting up is just over all, a bad idea. Strength is in numbers, not in splitting up and getting picked off one by one. Stick together! Unless someone in the group is really loud, then just throw them out to lure away whatever is out there. You don’t need some noisy person giving you away. It is always not only one of the most common horror movie cliches, but also one of the most anticipated. Stuff is going down when everyone starts splitting up!
Using a flashlight with weak batteries is so 1985, using a candle or a torch is even worse. There are so many light options now, we don’t need to be stuck with the dim flashlight that has dying batteries. Stock up on batteries and a nice L.E.D. flashlight. Fun fact, there is an entire four part thread spanning 11 years that only discusses flashlight usage in cinema… In case you need that information.
Turning your back on the “dead” villain.
Unless their head is clearly detached from their body, do NOT turn your back on the villain. They could be playing opossum and either waiting to get away or waiting for you to let your guard down, so that they can kill you. Don’t let them have this advantage! Don’t take your eyes off of them. When their head is several feet from their body, and zombies are not a thing, it is okay to look away.
Knocking the villain out but not actually delivering the killing blow. This allows for at least one more chase scene. You will not find me checking the pulse of the villain. I don’t want to take my eyes off of them, so I will go ahead and deliver the killing blow. This guarantees the peace of mind that the villain is really and truly dead.
Odd advice from strangers
Disregarding warnings or free advice from odd strangers. Now, I don’t just strike up conversations with strangers. In fact, I avoid conversations in public like everyone has the plague. If in some twist, a stranger is saying to me, “Amber, don’t go there.. it is dangerous and there is a strong possibility you will die.” Oh, well in that case, I will be at home. I am NOT going to continue on the trek to death. In San Diego this summer, I witnessed a guy having a full two sided conversation with himself, so I can see how an odd stranger may not be the most reliable source. This does not mean that I will just decide that someone is crazy, and just blatantly disregard their warnings. That seems unwise.
Holding a grudge
Deciding not to leave the danger zone because you have a personal vendetta against the killer. Thinking, “I have the opportunity to leave, possibly with all of my limbs and maybe a few friends, but that killer really made me angry.” Now, you are not going to call it a win and leave, instead, you are going to try to kill the person/thing that tried to kill you. Because.. Revenge. Having lost more friends and probably a couple chunks of flesh, you may need to rethink your decision. Maybe it would have been best to leave while you were ahead and alert the proper authority.
Childproof your house!
Hanging sharp objects from the walls and ceilings. Haunted house movies basically screaming “Please look at my chandelier! It is made from titanium razor wire and Global butcher knives mounted on an 18th century anvil, it is very avante garde.” Another movie had scissors the size of pruning sheers hanging on the wall above their dinner table. This is just asking for trouble. Just take a cursory glance around your house, and maybe remove the dangerous objects hanging all over the place. You could live longer.
Death from being rude? Yes. The disheveled looking hillbilly working at the gas station or fleabag motel has feelings too. He may also have lunatic friends that will hunt you down and turn you into dinner. Certainly never ask for directions from these people, especially if you brought your asshat friend with you on the road trip.
Horror Movie Cliches Final Thoughts
What cliche deaths bug you the most? Is there a movie that has particular problem with people who lack common sense? There are so many horror movie cliches that I could even make a regular series out of this. New horror films come out, but no one gets any smarter. I suppose this is also part of their charm. We can do better than these poor souls and be better equipped to stay alive, so we probably think. Let me know in the comments your thoughts of any horror movie cliches or any other dumb ways to die we left out.