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How to survive a zombie apocalypse (or pretty much anything)

People in horror movies do some pretty stupid things. I guess they have to…after all, if everyone acted intelligently, there wouldn’t be much suspense.

Still, I love movies where the would-be victims have half a brain and actively attempt to outwit zombies, deranged killers, or sparkling vampires.

One of the many things I loved about Joss Whedon’s brilliant The Cabin in the Woods was its unique explanation for why people in these movies are so moronic.

With the spooky season approaching, I thought it best to provide you with my top-ten survival tips learned from horror movies.

Top Ten Survival Tips From Horror Movies

1. If you hear a scary noise coming from the basement or attic, don’t investigate it. Call the police and get out of the house. Or, preferably, get out of the house and then call the police. Better to look foolish than dead.

2. For God’s sake, grab a weapon. Almost anything is better than nothing. Don’t be afraid to get creative.

sleepwalkers7

3. Once you have a weapon, don’t leave it somewhere stupid–like right beside the deranged killer’s dead hand. He might not be dead.

4. Don’t cheat on your significant other. It’s just asking to get murdered in some horrible way. And if you’re a teenager, abstinence is best. (Unless you have a thing for sparkling stalkers, and if that’s the case, can’t help you.)

Twilight

5. Never volunteer to check out the generator, the boiler, or anything else that separates you from the group. You’ve just become the sacrificial lamb. This goes double if you’re a minority.

6. If you move to a new home and your child suddenly strikes up a friendship with someone you can’t see, don’t assume it’s an imaginary friend.

danny's imaginary friend

7. Don’t adopt a child whose birth records are mysteriously missing. Especially if people are pressuring you to take the kid.

8. If an old man (or woman) tells you not to go to that cabin, house, town, cemetery, etc…believe them. Go somewhere else for your vacation. Buy another home. The regular ol’ pet cemetery is just fine for your needs. Avoid ancient Indian burial grounds at all cost.

pet semetary

9. Maybe don’t buy the cursed object from Ebay.

10. If worst comes to worst and you find yourself running from a deranged killer, don’t turn around mid-stride to see how far back they are. Just keep running.

escaping Jason

What survival tips have you learned from horror movies? What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever seen a character do in a scary movie?

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35 Comments

  1. I love this! Number 10 can also apply to football running backs or ball receivers. Just why are they looking back to see how close the opponent is on their heels? Just run like hell.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks Denise! Very true. Maybe it’s human nature, but it’s stupid as hell. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Reply
  2. Those are so true! And I can name many movies that feature those exact scenes.
    My tip – always double-tap.
    And Cabin in the Woods was a great movie.

    Reply
    • JH

      Yes, it wasn’t hard to find photos to illustrate them all. I had to look up your tip on Google, but it’s a good one. 🙂

      I loved Cabin in the Woods. I can watch that elevator scene a million times and never tire of it.

      Reply
  3. When you find the mutilated body of your friend, don’t stay where they died.

    If the police don’t believe your story about the crazed killer stalking you and your friends at the lake, end your vacation early. Do not set out to prove the cop wrong.

    Excellent list. I enjoy the stupidity of the characters in these movies because, as you said, without it there is no story but sometimes they do move beyond simply advancing the story to downright ridiculous.

    Reply
    • JH

      Good tips, Frank! “I can’t believe that cop won’t listen to us.”

      “Well, the next time it happens, he will. We’ll just stay here and get it on video.”

      It Follows pushed the envelope for me. How were there dozens of people lining up to sleep with the girl and get the mysterious creepy killing machine stalking them?

      Reply
  4. This is awesome! I’ve been saying this stuff for years!
    I love #6.
    Cabin in the Woods was a masterpiece as far as I’m concerned. 🙂

    **If you think you killed the killer…kill them again. Don’t be shy now! He/She/It wants to kill you so much, and they never die easy, its only fair you kill them some more!

    Heather

    Reply
    • JH

      Argh! That’s a good one, Heather. They never kill the killer enough. Cut off his damn head, I say!

      Reply
  5. I haven’t read one of your posts for awhile, it’s been a weird month but it’s good to be back. I find horror movies a very good workout. ha,ha. I roll my eyes all time, that’s got to burn some calories. Even though I know they are set up for suspense I take the characters stupidity personally. My husband and I had to stop watching them because he couldn’t stand my witty comebacks. Never knew I’d ever get to comment about it, I should have written them down…
    Lots of great points, J.H. Good work.
    Now that things have settled down I’m looking forward to reading your posts on a regular basis.
    Kellie from Princess and the Yard Ape

    Reply
    • JH

      Hey Kellie,

      Welcome back! I totally understand…I’ve been bad about following blogs and blogging in general since I got back from vacation. Just starting to get back into the swing of things now.

      I can’t believe your husband doesn’t appreciate your witty comments! You’re welcome to critique horror movies with me and The Boy any time.

      Reply
      • Hahaha! I too yell at the screen. My hubby won’t watch with me either, or if he does he asks me questions about what’s going to happen next(i’m a former investigator) I can always tell when my boys are watching a suspenseful movie because i can hear the “come on, move it, move it” or similar coming from the living room. Great list!

        Reply
  6. Fun post! I’m usually pretty good at letting go of the stupid stuff characters do and just enjoy the show/movie/book. However, you know it’s REALLY bad/stupid when I’m yelling at the screen/page. 🙂

    Reply
    • JH

      That’s when you know you care about the characters, Madeline. What movie had you screaming?

      I loved the movie “The Orphan,” but I was definitely frustrated by some of it.

      “I’m pretty sure this child is a psychotic killer, but I’ll leave her alone with my own children and several potential weapons anyways.”

      Reply
  7. I’m always so petrified in horror movies I spend half the time with my jacket over my head. I guess I haven’t picked up many survival tips, but I’ll make note of the ones you’ve listed.

    Reply
    • JH

      They’re good ones, Lee. I’ve now ensured your survival for everything from a zombie apocalypse to a trip to the grocery store.

      Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Anna. You know you’re going to think of another one in the middle of the night….

      Reply
    • JH

      I agree! That’s always when they trip or run into a tree.

      Reply
      • Also, people automatically slow down when looking over their shoulder. (At least, that’s what my athletics coach told me looooooong ago.)

        Reply
        • JH

          It’s true! And that’s even if you don’t run into a tree.

          Reply
  8. These are great tips! I would add -Don’t run in the middle of the road, screaming with high heels on.Please know that the killer seems to be walking very slowly or with a limp and you can usually out run him. If the walls drip blood, that is a sure sign to leave

    Reply
    • JH

      Ooh, good ones Birgit. The side of the road is just fine. (And safer.) Perhaps taking off the high heels when fleeing for your life is a good idea.

      I think a whispered “GET OUT” when no one is there is another good sign that perhaps you should move.

      Reply
  9. I’d say that the person who’s only trying to save themselves and then ends up dying horribly soon after is a good lesson in grab someone, preferably a kid but anyone not holding you back will do, and then make your getaway. That doesn’t mean you have to stick around and try to save everyone who’s moving too slow, but if you knock down an old person, kid, or mother, in order to save yourself, you’re going to die a horrible death and no one will feel bad about it.

    Reply
    • JH

      That’s a good point, Toi…the karma factor. If you end up dying because of the kid, at least people will say nice things over your corpse. 😉

      Reply
  10. LOL!!! Loved The Cabin in the Woods. I would add, never be a ditsy female who’s only in the group to spice things up, because you’re done for.

    Reply
    • JH

      Or the town bicycle. That chick is always doomed. 😉

      Reply
  11. High heels. Kick them off before you start running. Or don’t wear them in the first place.

    Reply
    • JH

      Welcome to the blog, Karen! Hope you’re going to SiWC this year.

      That’s a good suggestion. As soon as there’s a sign of trouble, kick those damn things to the curb!

      Reply
  12. HAHAHA! I loved this! I’ve never watched The Walking Dead but I’ve started watching Fear The Walking Dead and I have been taking mental notes on what to do and not to do. Those people can be stupid! Actually, a really smart movie is World War Z. Now I know that if a zombie apocalypse does happen to tape magazines to my arms and legs to stop zombies from sinking their teeth into my limbs.

    Reply
    • JH

      Ooh, I still have to read that book. That’s a good tip. I’ve never understood the great fear with zombies. Either they’ll freeze to death, since they have no blood circulating, or they’ll decay to the point they’re not a danger any more.

      When it comes to zombies, flies and other bugs are our friends. Bring on the vultures!

      Reply
  13. Ha! This is hilarious. I’ve wondered myself why these people in the movies are so intent on getting themselves killed, surely… surely…

    And why don’t any of them ever just turn around and walk away???

    Reply
    • JH

      Welcome to my blog, Shadow! Thanks for commenting. Hope to see you here again.

      I think horror movies are supposed to make us relieved that there’s someone out there stupider than we are. 😉

      Reply
  14. Another one is… Step to the side. How many times do we see someone run in a straight line within perfect sight line of the killer. Circle around behind to exit or at least serpentine.

    Reply
    • JH

      Good point! Best way to avoid getting shot in the back is to run in a zig-zag pattern.

      Reply

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