Top Ten Horror Survival Tools


I realize I spend a lot of time talking about what movies you should see and which ones to avoid. My most recent editorial discusses how to get going with your scary film watching. I give a sampling of what I believe to be the flicks you should start with to get a decent grasp of the genre.

What could be a better companion piece than a list of the things you should keep handy to avoid the nasties that could be waiting for you around every corner? That is where the following comes into play. This is the official (because I said so) Horror Movie Survival Kit.

These are the weapons and other various items you should never leave home without. Some of them may seem a little unorthodox, but then so am I. Get ready to stock up your bug-out bags...unless you have a lot of pockets. Here are the:

Top Ten Tools of the Non-Victim

10. Cat – This may seem like an odd way to start this list. But think about it. What better early warning sign could you have? They always howl and run when something is amiss. If they take off, you do too. It's as simple as that. Plus, make sure to keep their claws long and sharp. If all else fails you could just toss them at your attacker and head for the hills.

9. Wooden Stake - One thing I love about many of these tools is their versatility. Most people hear stake and think vampires. Sure it's the first thing that comes to mind, but who says you can't thrust it right through the head of an attacking deadite or two? Step 1) aim pointy end toward foe 2) strike with force , retract, and repeat if necessary. You can even do it Buffy style and keep a slew of them at your side while carousing nightly. People may look at you funny, but at least you won't be some creature of the shadows' late night snack.

8. Silver Bullets – So you wanna fight some werewolves do ya? This is the best thing going for you. But what happens if the wolves aren't biting? That's no biggie. They may be silver but they are still bullets. One good plug will take out a zombie and throw that slasher to the ground at least long enough to get away one good time before he gets back up and charges again. If you never end up needing them, you can show them off to look badass at bars and parties. You might even consider nestling one on a chain betwixt those manly tufts of chest hair. It could be a useful lycanthrope repellent....even if it would repel most chicks as well.

7. Religious Paraphernalia (Holy Water / Cross / Crucifix) – True enough, these tools are less useful than some but they do have their places. You can never be too sure you won't be running into a vampire or even the Son of Satan. And hasn't that cousin of yours been rather puky and gnarly-voiced lately? You may want to pay her a visit with some of these items just to be sure she isn't harboring an evil soul. Don't believe in the religious stuff? Fine, Fancypants. Don't come crying to me when the spawns of Hell are rapping at your door and the best thing you have is a rolled-up Guidepost or Watchtower to shove in their faces. Besides, you just might get thirsty.

6. Rope – Now this one has endless uses: escape ladder, booby trap, tie up the monster, wicked noose, or tug-o-war when you have nothing better to do and the monsters are keeping more to themselves. If you have learned one thing from the Hobbits, you should know that you must always have a good sturdy bit of rope at hand. What if your car gets stuck in the mud or maybe you need to lasso something? Or maybe even some kinky...ahem. How about jumping it to stay in shape for your next foray into battle. I'm telling you it's a must have.

5. Matches / Lighter – Once again, versatility is key here. Think of all the uses you can have for this item. Resident Evil or Silent Hill anyone? Let's say you need to make some Molotov cocktails on the fly to rid yourself of that advancing zombie horde. Or how about a little fire, scarecrow? Not convinced? Maybe it's just freakin' dark or you want a smoke in the midst of the calamity to calm those jangled nerves. Last but not least, nothing gets rid of bothersome mummies faster than setting fire to their drawers. Those babies have been drying for thousands of years. They will go up faster than Michael Jackson in a Pepsi commercial. Too soon?

*Make that lighter a Zippo. The last thing you need is to be foiled by a poorly timed gust of wind.

4. Machete – As far as weapons go, you won't get more use out of anything else. Max Brooks recommends this for fighting zombies and he uses his noodle so I'd pay attention. It's silent, deadly, great for close combat, and it never requires reloading. Keep one of these babies sharp and handy and you'll be julienning the walking dead like Ron Popeil. Zombies aren't the only ones that can be decapitated either. Keep that in mind. Also remember that this is Jason's weapon of choice. He has tried just about everything over the years and always comes back to this. Two Hundred plus dead bodies can't be wrong.

3. Running Shoes – When the shit goes down and all else fails, run like a fool. This is a surefire to get away from those pesky slow zombies and most stalking slashers, but you have to employ the proper gear. We all know the chicks in heels do NOT make it. So even when you are out for a night on the town, keep some comfy tennies close at hand. You never know when you may need to break and fly.

2. Virginity – Everyone knows this is a guaranteed reprieve. The virgins never die. And though it may suck to be the last one standing because you've never been laid, you just might come to appreciate that when the time comes and Mr. Big-ol'-knife is standing over your head trying to decide if you look amorous. Some of us no longer have the ability to use this weapon...but those of you who do should be proud. It's like a Get Out of Jail Free card. At any rate, hang onto least until Prom Night. Once you're over that hurdle, it's most likely smooth sailing until keggers at college. Then you can implement Number One.

1. Slow Buddy – So maybe you lost your virginity a while back to some smooth talking Cajun guy after a crawfish boil....or whatever. Don't give up just yet. You still have an out. Just make sure you keep some friends around for bait. But don't be a dumbass and go hanging around the track team for pity's sake. Scan the gaming stores (Masquerade players would probably just dress goth and attempt to become one with the monster) and the mall food courts. Maybe you could pick up a pal or two at a bowling alley. Even couch potatoes / video gamers could give you a leg up because their's are too atrophied from sitting on their asses all day. The elderly could be useful to those who tend to be more selfishly inclined. The object here is that you want the ones who cannot outrun you. This is imperative. You don't have to be faster than the monster, just faster than your friend. A nice bonus would be if they were drunks or stoners...they'd be goners anyway. You know the rules. Work with them and they can save your life. Throw on the old Number Threes (see above) and haul ass.

Honorable Mention:

Common Sense – All the tricked out gear in the armory won't keep you safe if you insist on doing stupid things, so be warned. Always watch your back and NEVER help cast-armed men load furniture into the back of a van. Stay Aware and Stay Alive. That's the best I can do. It's up to you now.

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