Thanks to movies like Scream and Cabin in the Woods, the tropes of horror movie morons have been well documented, but with IFC’s April Fool’s Day horror movie marathon upon us, we thought it was our responsibility to remind you of a few key things these idiots do over and over again. That way, you’ll know why you hate them, and feel a lot more comfortable rooting for them to die. Here are just a handful of the dumb things people in horror movies do that always get them killed. Feel free to try them out the next time you’re running away from a crazed killer in a Shatner mask.
10. Investigate weird sounds.
Hey, maybe take the Gates of Hell being ripped open as an excuse not to go check out that strange sound outside the creepy cabin you’re staying in. If Cheryl, from The Evil Dead, had followed that bit of advice, she might have avoided the worst first date with a tree since Saruman took one for the team in The Lord of the Rings. Time and again, these fools take any excuse to leave the safety of their homes, and go investigate the inky blackness on the other side of their locked door. I don’t know about you, but I could hear a marching band coming down the street at three in the morning, and I’m just locking my door and grabbing my gun. Then again, I hate marching bands.
9. Decide to give that freaky haunted house one more shot.
Sure, it’s built on an Indian burial ground, and demons have kidnapped one of your children and taken her to The Nethersphere, but have you seen the finished basement in this house? You don’t just walk away from something like that. Haunted house movies would be awfully short if folks did what any sane person would do, and hightailed it out of there the first time the wallpaper started bleeding. Instead, these white-bread suburbanites seem to always find some excuse to put off the big move until something really awful happens. I mean, maybe just let the poltergeist keep the kid, right? They could turn her room into a home gym!
8. Fail to check the backseat.
How hard is it to take a peek in the backseat before you start up the car on a spooky night? Just a quick glance to confirm there aren’t any killers or old Starbucks cups taking up too much room back there. If there was a serial killer loose in my neighborhood, I’d be checking my backpack for him before putting it on. Instead, in everything from Urban Legend to Let Me In, pretty young people find themselves on the business end of something pointy because they didn’t just check to see if a maniac in a mask was crouched down in the back seat, uncomfortably waiting for his chance to strike.
7. Split up.
If there’s a monster hunting you and picking off your crew one by one, maybe stick together. You’ve got a better chance of fighting it off, or at least shoving the guy you like the least into its mouth and making a run for it. And yet, time after time, the best plan anyone in horror movies can come up with is to split up, snoop around in the dark by themselves, and report back after they die. It’s insanity, especially in The Thing, which has a monster that can transform to look like anyone. Hmmm, maybe if you stuck together you wouldn’t need to spend the rest of your time alive guessing who’s your annoying coworker and who’s an alien with a taste for bearded men.
6. Take off way too much clothing after getting hurt.
Okay ladies, just because you got a scratch doesn’t mean you need to strip down to your undergarments. I know, you don’t want to bleed all over your good pair of jeans, but maybe consider the fact that you’re going to be running away from this killer or alien or desert slug for a good bit still, and you don’t want to have to do that in the near buff. Especially when your male friends are all suspiciously fully clothed.
5. Go into dark, scary basements.
Look, unless your basement has a foosball table and some sort of neon signage, I’m not going down there. Dark, dank basements are for storing Christmas decorations and getting murdered. And yet, time and again, from The Evil Dead to The Blair Witch Project, people decide that heading down the stairs instead of out the door is their best bet. Worst case, there’s a demon down there. Best case, you get thrown in a pit and asked to put some “lotion in a basket.” Probably better to just stay on the first floor, where no one ever dies.
4. Have sex in weird places.
We all like to mix things up. Skip the bed, and head all the way to the living room couch to get our freak on. But when you’re friends are being picked off one by one by a resurrected reject in a hockey mask, maybe it isn’t time to do the nasty in the abandoned mental hospital on the edge of town. Of course, when you get this many nubile young airheads together, they’re going to get a little frisky, but can’t they do it in a well-lit room with locks on the door? Safe sex doesn’t just apply to condoms, people.
3. Hide in the most obvious spots.
We get it. You’re scared. There’s a creep with a knife hot on your tail. You just want to curl up in a ball and die. Well, not die, but hide. Then you see a closet, or a bed, and figure, he’ll never look in there. He’ll just march through the room, back out again, and be on his merry way. But that never happens. Michael Meyers always checks closets. Kidnappers always “taken” you if you hide under the bed. These are obvious places for anyone who isn’t a moron. And your whimpering and choked back tears aren’t exactly helping matters. Get out of there, for the love of God. Instead, you’re basically hiding behind a potted plant.
2. Trip over everything imaginable while running away.
Why is it that the end of every horror movie has more pratfalls than a Three Stooges short? For some reason, a damsel in distress can’t run three feet without tripping over ever twig and crack she comes across. It doesn’t matter how much you yell “GET UP!” at the screen, they always end up on their knees. Look, just because you’re scared doesn’t mean you have to lose all equilibrium. Have some self respect. Stay on two feet. Most of these killers and monsters can’t lurch more than two miles an hour. A healthy jog is going to get the job done. Just keep it together, and remind me not to run a 5K behind you.
1. Say “I’ll be right back” like Scream never happened.
Scream blew this one out of the water, but not without cause. There are countless examples in the Friday the 13th and Halloween movies where someone says, “I’ll be right back,” only to never be seen again. And yet, somehow, movies like Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones still have folks using the phrase unironically. You know what, if those characters haven’t seen Scream, they deserve to die.
Check out some rules for horror movie “fools.”