Ten Do’s and Dont’s of Surviving a Horror Movie


As a horror movie lover, it kills me just a little bit inside when characters in horror movies do stupid things. Of course, there are the basics: Don’t have sex, don’t get drunk or stoned, don’t say “I’ll be right back,” etc. But people seem to forget the importance of these ten tips the most in horror movies.

Ranging from preventing any danger in the first place—seriously, there are so many movies that could have been prevented by simple things!—to figuring out ways to defend yourself or get help if you’ve already gotten into a sticky situation, this list can be quite useful to you. So pay attention and take notes because you never know when you’re going to find yourself in a horror movie!

1. Do pick up the pace

Have you ever noticed in horror movies that even though the killer is just walking, they still manage to catch up to their victim who is running away? This either means that your villain has ridiculously long strides, or you’re running way slower than you think. There’s a reason why people use the phrase, “run for your life.” If you’re actually running for your life, you should be sprinting not jogging—this ain’t no walk in the park! And don’t stop just because you don’t hear them anymore. Just keep running.

Dawn of the Dead

2. Do keep an eye out for obstacles

In addition to literally running for your life, you really need to keep an eye out for anything that could stop you or slow you down. How many times have we seen someone get killed because they tripped over something? Sure, one can argue that being blinded by fear can affect your vision (see what I did there?) and motor skills, but a lot of the time, these obstacles can be avoided if you just open your eyes. And don’t look back. You’re just asking to trip over something if you’re not looking where you’re going.


3. Don’t try to make contact with a demon or spirit

Séances, Ouija boards, playing Bloody Mary or calling another paranormal entity through some ritual almost never ends well in movies. Isn’t it obvious that you shouldn’t be trying to summon a demon or ghost? Would you invite a convicted serial killer into your home? No, you wouldn’t, because it’s dangerous and just plain dumb. Sure, they might not kill you, but you’re gambling with your life and it’s really just not worth the risk.

#7) Insidious ($97million) Admittedly packed full of cliche scares James Wans supernatural thriller is an homage to classic ghost stories like Poltergeist

4. Don’t go exploring

If you hear a noise in your house that you shouldn’t, is it really a good idea to walk towards it? Of course not. Grab a weapon—sometimes you have to improvise with what you have—and book it. Get out of your house, run to the neighbor’s, to a 24-hour restaurant or gas station, basically anywhere else where you can be surrounded by other people. And don’t be one of those people that decide to call out to whatever is in their house.

Greeting them hello not only gives away your location but—and I hate to burst your bubble—he/she is not going to call out to you, “Oh hey, don’t mind me. Just came over to grab a cup of sugar.” This also applies to the woods, deserted asylums, prisons, or hospitals (or any other place where people have probably died,) and basically any building that’s reported haunted.

The Walking Dead Clear 1

5. Do stay together

This is probably one of the most obvious actions that should be taken seriously. You’re more likely to get out alive if you group up. Why? Five people probably have a better chance of taking out one serial killer. That’s just common sense. People usually split up in the first place to go exploring, but as we’ve discussed, that’s not a good idea.

The Walking Dead Judas 3

6. Do use your cellphone

Basically everyone from middle-school students to senior citizens have cellphones these days. And, in all honesty, who doesn’t have their phone attached to them 24/7? You need to take advantage of texting as well. If you’re hiding from a villain, it’s not worth risking giving away your location through a phone call. Turn your phone on silent and send a text; “SOS 1234 Elm Street.” It might sound silly, but in this generation, people are more likely going to respond to a text message than a voice message. Even if you’re over your limit, it’s worth the extra 10 cents.


7. Do trust your instincts

If your brain is telling you that something fishy is going on, then it’s highly possible that something is. Most sleep studies are conducted in a medical facility, not a creepy mansion. If you hear screaming, call the cops. If you notice that a car or person has been following you, go somewhere safe; don’t lead them to your empty house. Don’t pick up hitchhikers, especially in the middle of the night. Opt out of that camping trip in the middle of nowhere with your friends. Essentially, if anything seems off to you, assume that something is terribly wrong and run away from it.


8. Don’t forget, FIRE!

You want to get someone’s attention really quick? Yell fire. Seriously. Who knew that one syllable could be so effective? Or, if it’s really bad, starting a fire could be pretty useful as well. Trapped in a creepy house with a bunch of serial killers? Set the house on fire. It might seem a little dramatic, but a fire is quite the distraction, and will most likely trigger some sort of alarm that will alert others. Even if you’re out in the middle of nowhere, your attackers will be so focused on getting themselves out that you’ll be able to slip away. But you do need to be careful with this one, and use it only when needed. If you don’t use this one strategically, you could basically be digging your own grave.


9. Do always carry a weapon

By weapons, I mean little every day things that you can use to defend yourself. Lighters are good because, as we’ve discussed, fire is quite the diversion. Ball keys and quarters up in your fist and you’ll be able to throw a pretty impressive punch. Pens and pencils are useful for gouging out eyes or rupturing eardrums. If your parents believe in corporal punishment, you should know very well how painful being whipped by a belt is. Get creative; anything can turn into a weapon if you try hard enough.

06 gun in camera

10. Do kill if you have to

Your killer drops their gun? Don’t stare at it. Get it before they do and don’t hesitate to pull the trigger. Aiming is also important. Preferably, you should go for the headshot, but if you have shitty aim, you might as well go for the chest or the leg. It’ll at least slow them down for a bit, and that’ll make it easier for you to shoot them in the head. If you just blindly start shooting you’ll probably just waste bullets. Have a back up plan too.

Sometimes killers like to taunt their victims with fake guns. In this case, you’re going to have to find something really quick—again, almost anything can be used as a weapon—and go to town on them. Don’t assume they’re dead after one bullet wound, a stab in the chest, or blunt force trauma. Just because they fall on the floor it doesn’t mean they’re all the way gone yet.

You should literally bash their brains in, chop their head off, slit their throat, etc. It might seem rash now, but when push comes to shove, if you don’t kill them all the way the first time, they’re just gonna come back for you, and this time they’ll be pretty pissed off. If you’re gonna set a fire, don’t assume that just because you left them face down in a room they’re going to burn to death. Never turn your back on them until you are 100% sure that they are completely dead.

So Now I'm a Zombie

Well there we have it. Ten do’s and don’ts of surviving a horror movie. They might seem silly now, but they may just save your life one day. And a bonus tip, Don’t be the villain. Sure, they make it to the end, but they almost always end up dead.


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      1. Stacy March 16, 2013 at 5:57 pm

        This cracked me up. I would just like to add don’t run up the stairs, that never ends well. Once you’re upstairs there is nowhere to hid except under the bed and in the closet. All the monsters know those places the best. Also, if you accidentally run someone over and you feel inclined to dump them in the ocean or whatever make sure to run them over a bunch of times to make sure they are really dead. A pissed off person who you tried to kill is the most vengeful type of opponent. They always know what you did last summer!

      2. Mitch March 16, 2013 at 9:51 pm

        #11 . Don’t be Black (nothing personal, I didn’t make the rules) ) but they are always the first to go….

      3. Marc Whitfield March 17, 2013 at 1:42 am

        I like # 10, do kill if you have to. And yes why does someone always have to go exploring especially by themselves, dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb. Good job Tiff!

      4. Ki$$ me 28 April 1, 2013 at 2:06 am

        Also don’t Fart the killer might hear you.

      5. Becca May 17, 2016 at 9:53 pm

        I was intrigued by number 3, because I would be curious how many people on this site have actually done something like that. How many of your writers, readers, and commentators on this site have participated in a séance? Played with a Ouija board? Called out Bloody Mary’s name in a darkened bathroom? Etc. …

        I’ve done the Bloody Mary one.