Mistakes Make You Human. Horror Movie Mistakes Make You Dead.
Years ago I got into a conversation about how stupidity is the cornerstone of horror movies. Most situations people find themselves are a result of modern day Darwinism. Indeed most scary movies live by the motto “the stupid shall inherit the earth.” While I have a soft spot for bad horror flicks, that doesn’t mean it’s any less infuriating when characters continue to make stupid movie mistakes. Running upstairs to escape a killer, investigating weird noises in the basement, thinking that escaping into the woods is a good idea, all cliches that I see constantly. Which got me thinking about the dumbest things I always see in scary movies. So, here’s my rant on the lack of common sense that propels the horror genre forwards and somehow manages to keep us coming back.
Messing Around with Ancient or Supernatural Artifacts
Ouija boards, creepy dolls, anything that just screams “nope” at you. Why do people always think it’s a good idea to take home old and supernatural stuff? A friend of mine used to tell me that it’s just something that white people do, and I’m starting to believe her. Who wants an ancient camera found in some old boxes in the attic, when you have a brand new digital one that takes way better pics? Because it’s vintage? There’s an app for that. Not only that, but people in horror movies seem to take it as a challenge to survive what no one else could. They never trust their gut instincts when it comes to creepy old stuff, and it’s one of the cardinal horror movie mistakes that boggles my mind every time.
Ignoring Weird Stuff
What is with horror movies trying their best to ignore all the warning signs around them. Stuff moves in their house and they shrug it off. Animals start behaving oddly and it’s no big deal. That guy at the gas station mentions that “their skin looks pretty enough to wear” and it’s just the way people talk out here in the middle of nowhere. These are all things that hopefully a normal person would take as very clear signs to ‘nope’ right on out of there. Yet, these morons just keep on trucking along like they haven’t just been given a divine sign saying “abandon hope all ye who enter here.” It’s just one more of the many infuriating movie mistakes people make because it’s their chance to avoid everything that’s about to happen. Hey, maybe I’m just the paranoid type, but when creepy twins stand in hallways staring at me, I back away slowly and leave
Trusting the Dark
I feel like I need to say up front that people sitting alone in the dark is pretty creepy. However, it seems to be a common theme when it comes to horror movies. Sure, we’re all trying to be green, but when you’re alone in your office late at night, why is every other light off? More importantly, why do people seem to think that investigating creepy stuff in the dark is a good idea? We all know what curiosity did to the cat, and for the most part, the saying goes double for characters in horror movies. I can understand that they might be curious about the mysterious whispering they hear from their basement, but when the light does turn on and their flashlight goes dead, they should consider avoiding one of the more obvious movie mistakes and investigate the source under better conditions.
Splitting Up from the Group
Now we’re getting to the point in horror movies where the characters know that something terrifying is happening. The fortunate few find themselves with others facing whatever terror is after them. At this point, many of us would assume that there is safety in numbers, that a masked killer surely wouldn’t risk attack 6 people at once. That makes a lot of sense. Sense though is in short supply in horror movies and no matter how often it’s said that you should never split up, these people throw that sage wisdom right out the window. It starts off innocently enough, someone needs to go to the bathroom. Some people just have a nervous bladder, but the buddy system works for a reason. They don’t need to hold someone’s hand while taking a piss, but having one or two people right outside the door would be the smart move.
Pushing Their Luck
This is probably the one of the most annoying of all the horror movie mistakes. The characters know that their house is haunted or that there is a demonic presence and rather than flee in terror, they decide to poke the hornet’s nest. They want to experiment and capture evidence on tape or try to make contact with the malevolent spirit that’s already tormenting them.It’s the equivalent of trying to put a grease fire out with gasoline. Yet it happens every single time. I’m sure it’s got to be exciting that you’ve found proof that there is life after death, but at that point, it might be wise to scoot on out of there before you really piss it off. Because, let’s face it, movie characters always manage to piss it off.
Keeping Dangerous Secrets
This is another one I can’t stand. Whether it’s hiding a zombie bite during the apocalypse or moving into a house where murders happened 10 years ago to the day, people in movies always keep stupid and dangerous secrets. At some point someone is going to say, I didn’t think it was true or I should have told you sooner. Anyways you slice it, people keeping secrets or simply dismissing information they don’t think is important is probably the biggest movie mistake characters can possibly make. They’re basically single-handedly leading those around them to their doom. In this way, many characters are ultimately responsible for the messes they end up in.
Never Fighting Back
This one might just be a personal problem I have with a lot of horror movies. Of course, most people have heard of fight or flight, and in most cases, movie characters choose flight when it comes to people chasing after them. But why is it that so few choose fight? If a masked killer is breaking into your house to terrorize you before killing you, the last thing he’s going to want is someone waiting for him with a baseball bat in hand. The biggest movie mistakes people make when they do fight back in movies is getting cocky when they get the upper hand instead of just rushing the guy and finishing it quickly by hitting him in the head with something heavy and blunt. I mean, if there’s a killer that’s managed to take out most of your friends, what do you really have to lose at that point?
These are just a few of the more irritating horror movie mistakes that seem to constantly pop up. There are a lot more where those came from though and I’m sure it would be pretty easy to put together an even longer list. Just thinking about these few examples though has put me in a position where I need to go off and find my happy place.
What about you though? You think movie and tv characters just keep doing dumb stuff constantly? What’s the cliche that bothers you the most?