Last week we discussed the first five horror movies that you would totally survive in a list linked here, because, let’s face it, most of us would not be one of the few characters left alive at then end our favorite horror films. This week we take a look at the second set of five horror films which, thanks to your savvy horror movie knowledge, and common sense, you would probably get through to see an happy ending, or at least an ending where you are not horribly mauled, eaten, or stabbed.
Be warned: some light spoilers to follow:
The Ring (2002):
This one is pretty straightforward:
Friend: You need to see this crazy video!
You: Alright cool, send me the link.
Friend: No, it is this freaky, unmarked VHS tap-
You: (Bursting out laughing) VHS tape? Sorry Balki Bartokomous, I don’t have a VCR. I can’t believe you still have a tape player…a tape player that works!
You: You’re such a hipster. Oh hey, you should come over when you’re done work, I just got my new surround sound hooked into my HDTV and PS4. Don’t worry though, we’ll watch something from the 1980s on Netflix so you feel at home.
Sure, your friend is dead in under a week from being terrified by the embodiment of loneliness, rage and smallpox (read the books folks), but you will survive, because you are like most of the rest of the western world and only have disc players and video streaming services. I suppose if you do still have the old VCR, it is for those classic horrors you love which are not on DVD/Blu-ray yet. Like The Carpenter…(you know, because he builds terror).
This is definitely a horror film that most would survive. Out of the three main characters, two of them make it out of the movie alive, so we are looking, at worst, at a two to one shot of getting through The Shining traumatized, but relatively unharmed. However, there are a few things that would definitely improve your odds in case you are the one the Overlook Hotel tries to drive crazy:
First, if you are a recovering alcoholic with a struggling marriage and a young son who is seeing a psychiatrist because he probably has ESP, six months of isolation is probably not the best idea for you. You want to write a novel over winter? OK, have you thought about setting up a writing room at home, or taking a job that allows you to write that does not require you to be isolated? For example, night watchman at a shoe factory; there are very few people out there who are going to break in to steal shoes in winter: the steps into the factory are metal and they do not have shoes.
Well, let’s say that you are going to take the job (again, hopefully with a rock solid relationship), bring some things with you to keep cabin fever at bay. If we ignore everything that would help keep us sane today, like video games, laptops, cell phones, iPods, e-readers etc. and work off of what was available at the time, those endowed with common sense would think ahead and bring some crossword puzzle books, jigsaw puzzles, hobbies, crafts, and board games. The Shining would have been a completely different movie if the family had played Dungeons and Dragons twice a week to reconnect:
“Tony says he casts fireball at the were-owl”
“It hits for 18 damage, well done Tony”
“Thanks Mr. Torrance”.
Do not like board games? Watch the TV in your residences’ living room and bring a VCR with a box of tapes for when there is nothing on. Knit. Do a 3000 piece jigsaw puzzle of the Universal Movie Monsters. Hell, take up cross-country skiing; trust me, you spend a morning cross-country skiing, no matter what Lloyd says, you will be too tired to kill your family.
Barring all of that, let us say you are still getting pressured by ghosts to do evil things to your family. Before you grab the axe, just work to avoid Room 237 and the other ghosts who are pressuring you (remember what mom said: “If they’re pressuring you to do something you don’t want to do, they are not your friends”) and have a conversation with the people you brought with you. This is when that good relationship really pays off as you can calm down and ground yourself back in reality by taking the time to talk to them about random stuff, like how they should join you cross-country skiing, or how badly you want an all blood-red and white bathroom at home.
This common sense “surviving the horror movie” idea applies to essentially every “found-footage” horror film out there:
Put. The camera. Down.
You immediately become useful, and 95% more likely to survive whatever situation you have found yourself in, rather than an irritant to those who are actually trying to deal with the situation. Sure, it might not help you survive as much as not owning a VCR, or learning to whittle,as from here on out the Blair Witch situation would require you to have common sense and some skill in walking in a straight line, but at a certain point it is time to put the camera away and focus on getting out of the woods.
Or, say you are making a zombie film and suddenly a real zombie outbreak starts (again, as I said in Part One, most of us are dead in a zombie outbreak, but stick with me on this): put the camera down and focus on helping your friends stay alive. Help arm the group by crafting weapons, hit some zombies in the head, or think up some post ‘zombie kill’ puns. Literally anything is better than standing 10 feet away from everyone saying: “wow” and “what is happening?” You know how you might find out what is happening camera guy? By doing things. At the very, very least contribute your expertise of pointing at stuff and point out the approaching zombies to your actually useful friends, who will deal with them for you. Then all of you have a better chance of getting out of there alive than you even will if you keep filming things and yelling obvious statements.
At the end of the day, for most of us “going on a witch hunt” or “investigating witches in the woods” is now code for a bush party. Perhaps those students just got lost and mad at each other because they missed a rager, and they keep getting freaked out by the drunken kids who found out about these ‘film makers’ missing the party and chose to terrorize them on a dare the revelers, in a drunken haze, do not remember anymore. That makes as much sense as anything else in The Blair Witch Project.
The Exorcist (1974):
You would totally survive one of the best (if not the best) horror movie ever made in this way:
Do not get possessed by Pasuzu.
Think about it, despite the fact that this is still the best exorcism film, bar none, and one of the scariest films ever made, there are only two people who are possessed. Only one of them dies, and the other one who dies, is the old priest who tries to exorcise the demon, which in any case, you are probably not going to be doing.
For the sake of argument then, let’s say that two people are killed because of the possession in The Exorcist. The population of the world was roughly 4 billion in 1974, which means that you have a 0.0000005% chance of dying.
Statistically, you have a better chance (0.000024%) of being eaten by ravenous, satanic hamsters.
Pet Semetary (1989):
OK, you move into a nice, small town with your family to get away from the big city and you befriend a wordy, but kind old man who lives in town and warns you that there may be something supernatural about the cemetery (you know, with the quaint misspelling that makes it seem folksy) plotted in a Native American burial ground. Sure, maybe you do not believe him at first, and then you meet your dead, now zombie student who warns you of the same thing.
Man/Woman of science are ye? Alright, you do not believe all this supernatural “mumbo-jumbo”. Then let’s say your daughter’s cat gets hit by a car and you think: “well, clearly this Micmac burial ground is the place to bury it: look at all the other things buried here! And, if it (scoff) comes back to life (snort), then I don’t have to buy a new cat and pretend it’s Church (that’s the cat name in Pet Semetary) ”.
Well good, the cat came back, and is only evil most of the time, so that isn’t too bad…and now I have this dead son…
Do you see where this is going? At a certain point, maybe it is time to stop burying things in that cemetery just so you can see what happens. What’s that? Nothing happens when you stop burying things where all the evil comes from? Oh perfect, guess you can just go back to work.
Eventually, I would like to think a savvy person like you would either accept the fact that everyone is telling you not to do the same thing that already went horribly wrong for everyone else (learning from history, so you are not doomed to repeat it) and grieve for your tragedy, and/or move. Do you know how many small, quaint towns there are? Find another one when you are ready to try and start afresh. Picking a town where you will not be tempted to play God and try and resurrect your dead son and/or wife is always a good idea.
If you cannot pass up the opportunity; your grief is too strong, or you have gone a little crazy with hope and sadness to be deterred by that cat keeps which keeps attacking people and your plan is to keep burying dead relatives there until one of them comes back nice, fine. At least buy a shotgun:
You: You evil and crazy?
Undead relative: No
You: Then what is the knife for?
Undead relative: I…made brownies…for you…
You: And where are they?
Undead Relative: Uhhhh…
Then you can bury them again and see what comes back this time; fingers crossed!
That is all 10 folks! Let me know what you think about having a bright red bathroom, a VCR (and what you are still watching on it), or if there are any horror movies out there that you think you would totally survive in the comments below.