One of the beautiful benefits of the horror genre is that it allows its audience to witness the worst-case scenario. There’s a lot we can learn from these dreadful situations, whether it’s how to survive should we find ourselves in danger, or just general life lessons.
Yes, that’s right, there are a ton of lessons about personal growth that we can learn from the Final Girls of horror.
Though the examples are a bit extreme, the lessons learned are absolutely applicable in our daily lives. If you’re experiencing trouble with work, relationships, addictions, ambitions, or even home management (burst pipes can happen!), there is wisdom in the morality tales of our favorite scream queens.
So, to celebrate Women in Horror Month, let’s see what we’ve learned.
Laurie Strode (Halloween): Be resourceful, be prepared
When Laurie first encounters Michael Myers, she’s certainly at a disadvantage. Protecting two children with no support, Laurie finds herself in a fight for her life using whatever she possibly can. She stabs Michael with a knitting needle, she crafts a makeshift weapon from a coat hanger, and she uses Michael’s own knife against him. Laurie is resourceful when it comes to weapons, and it ends up keeping her alive.
The lesson we can take away here is that if something unexpected comes up, use the resources available to you. Find a tool you can use for assistance, or reach out for support from a friend or professional (Dr. Loomis, perhaps). And if you have concerns that this hiccup may happen again, prepare whatever means you might need to cut its reign of terror short.
Ellen Ripley (Alien): Take no shit
Ellen Ripley is notoriously badass. She’s strong, she’s thorough, and she will absolutely call anyone out on their bullshit. When she recognizes a bad plan, Ripley will take charge, tell you that you’re wrong, and lay out all the logic and evidence to make sure you know why.
We could all learn something from Ripley, here. If you know something is wrong, or if you have suggestions to improve, speak up to state your case. It’s better to be heard than filled with regret (or dead, if there are aliens after you).
Ginny Field (Friday the 13th Part 2): Work smarter, not harder
When you’re going up against an obstacle as big as Jason Voorhees, you can’t just pound your way through it. Ginny knew that she was going to have to work smarter – not harder – if she wanted to survive. An aspiring child psychologist, she discovered the root of Jason’s problem and used it to her advantage.
If you have a particularly challenging task, step back and find the real source of the issue. You can save your energy by deconstructing the challenge, allowing you to approach it with a clear solution in mind. And let’s face it, you’ll need that extra energy for when your problem rears its ugly head once more.
Sidney Prescott (Scream): Make your own ending
When faced with a horrible end concocted by two movie-obsessed maniacs, Sidney said no. She refused to let someone else determine her life; she’s the director of her own movie, and no one can take that from her.
This is a good lesson to keep in mind. Stay true to your goals and don’t give up. If there is something you’re passionate about, don’t let it go. And if someone or something else is keeping you from that goal, kindly tell them to fuck off.
Nancy Thompson (A Nightmare on Elm Street): Be your own hero
When Nancy was in danger, she didn’t wait for someone to save her. She geared up, set an alarm, and went in to do the damn thing herself.
If you’re not where you want to be, you’ve gotta pull yourself out of that hole. Don’t wait for someone to come along and offer you the perfect opportunity; you have to put in the hard-as-hell work to make your own dreams come true.
Sally Hardesty (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre): Stay strong and know your exits
In the face of immeasurable terror, Sally stayed strong and found her way out. Again, and again, and again. She ran away, she jumped through windows (twice), and through the trauma, she never gave up.
This lesson really goes hand-in-hand with the last one. When you find yourself in times of trouble, mark the nearest exits so you can get the hell out of there. You may get dragged back, but stay strong. Eventually, that trouble will be far behind you.
What life lessons have you learned from horror films? Share in the comments!