Would you make it to the end of the movie? Let’s find out together…
People who have a chance of making it to the end of the film
NB that only one adult can ever walk away from a horror film. This list is therefore in descending order of likelihood. If someone is with you who appears above you in the rankings, sorry, but you’re doomed and should prepare to die with dignity.
1. Accompanied children
If you’re a child and you’ve got an adult looking out for you, you’re home free. Easy money. Just try to avoid puberty during the course of the film, or you’re probably screwed.
Having offspring, either through your own efforts or by randomly acquiring a child from somewhere at a reasonably early point in the film, is pretty much a guarantee that you will make it (as long as you manage to avoid all Fatal Errors – see below). The wearing of awesome knee-length boots will also help.
3. Women with awesome clothes
Clothes which are awesome: demure twinsets with awesome boots; evening dresses with awesome boots; jeans and tightly-fitting t-shirts with awesome boots; leather coats with awesome boots; anything steampunk, as long as it includes awesome boots; well-fitting androgynous quasi-military fatigues (with awesome boots). Clothes which are not awesome: stiletto heels; fleeces; loosely-fitting t-shirts with a bit of embroidery around the neckline; your underwear. Sorry. I don’t make the rules. I merely observe them.
4. Average Joes with children
If you’re a skilled blue-collar worker, preferably with a few financial worries and a very uninteresting car, you’ve got a chance of making it. Possession or acquisition of parental responsibility will help. However, if there is a Mother in the film, you are outranked and will not survive.
5. Average Joes without children
Unfortunately for men, these are a dying breed of survivors. You had your time in the Sixties, boys. Now it’s time to move over, because the Awesome Mothers have come to town.
People who will quite likely make it to nearly the last scene before they get theirs
1. Men with a weirdly respectful crush on the Mother
Attaching yourself to the Mother (who is going to make it out) will get you quite a long way. If you’re Average Joe, you’ll probably last right up to the end of the film. Unfortunately, you will then discover that your role is to selflessly sacrifice yourself so that Mother and Child can get away.
NB that any attempt to act on your interest by trying to get it on with the Mother will almost certainly violate the Having Fun clause (see below) and lead to your instant annihilation.
2. Androids, robots, cyborgs or other non-human-but-essentially-humanoid characters
Clearly, since you have been constructed to be better in all ways than your pathetic human masters, you have the ability to escape at pretty much any time. But in spite of your obvious superiority, you will be compelled to exhibit a tiresomely self-deprecating attitude of I’m-not-worthy-take-me-instead, and will end up taking one for the team.
3. Ranking Military Officers who have not managed to make any Fatal Errors (see below)
People who will make it to the half-way mark, then get their very own set-piece death with plenty of good special effects
1. Clever people
Most horror movies are American. Americans are naturally suspicious of people who seem too clever. Your death will often involve you being just too darn clever for your own good. Are you listening, Mr Scientist? Did you think you could harness the power of that stuff you cooked up in the lab and accidentally unleash the Zombies on the world? Yeah? Yeah.
2. British people
Essentially a variant on the Clever-people clause.
3. Secretly Evil people
Sometimes a character will exhibit the perfect triumverate of being Clever, British and also Secretly Evil. Watch these people closely. When they die, you know you’re at least halfway there.
4. Military people
Military people are useful in a horror film because they bring hardware. However, once they’ve shown the Mother the way to the arms cache and explained how to re-load the pump-action shotgun, their work here is done and they can be safely dispatched. Generally the senior ranking officer will survive rather longer, because he or she will be good at strategy and therefore still retains some usefulness.
5. Funny people
Humour can have its place. But after a while, it gets in the way of the gore.
6. Ethnic minorities
Because killing these guys in the first twenty minutes would be racist. And Hollywood isn’t racist. Obviously.
People who are basically cannon-fodder and will die in a briefly amusing way very early on
1. Anyone who disrespects the Mother
Do not speak rudely to the Mother. Do not flirt with the Mother. Do not impugn the Mother’s fighting abilities. Do not swear in front of the Mother’s offspring. Do not try to get the Mother’s knickers off. Do not threaten the Mother in any way. Most especially, do not gang up in a group and try to do something with or to the Mother which the Mother does not want to happen. Doing any of these things will guarantee your death, probably in a crap and high-speed manner.
2. Anyone who drinks alcohol for pleasure
Alcohol is only okay if it is swigged grimly from a bottle or hip-flask as you attempt to get over the trauma of what you have been through. Grimacing after swallowing is highly recommended. Any indication that you are enjoying or savouring your drink will lead to instant annihilation.
3. Anyone who pitches up wearing any or all of the following; a baseball cap, a vest, their underwear (especially if you are a woman) or a non-military uniform
These garments draw Bad Karma like nothing else. Awesome, vaguely steampunky wardrobes are the way forward. Learn this well.
4. Husbands and Neighbours
Husbands and neighbours are superfluous because they restrict the Mother from showing her full Awesomeness to the world by offering her help and support. She does not need your help or support because she is the Mother, and in Horror films, Mothers are Awesome. Neighbours and husbands merely hold her back from expressing this. Therefore neighbours and husbands will die very early on. Quite possibly before the credits have finished rolling.
1. Attempting to make any form of electronic record of events “for posterity”.
Possession of an electronic recording device automatically guarantees that everyone will die. Electronic recordings of events outrank all living things on the Survivors scale and should be avoided at all costs.
2. Having fun
Do not hold an impromptu campfire sing-song to cheer everyone up. Do not do impressions of famous celebrities. Do not laugh brainlessly because someone has fallen over. Do not roast marshmallows. Do not attempt to have sex with anyone (especially not the Mother). Do not drink alcohol (except in the circumstances described above). Do not eat junk food. Do not go to any parties, especially not parties which celebrate the completion of a major research project. Fun = Doom.
3. Doing science
Any science done in a Horror film is automatically Bad Science. In the world of horror, there can never, ever, ever be a good outcome to the performance of any form of research or experiment whatsoever. See the “Clever people” clause above.
4. Expressing optimism
Do not make any of the following claims: “We’ll be out of here in no time!” “It’s all going to be okay!” “Hey, I think they’ve gone!” “It’s all right, we can make it back in time!” “I’ve cured it! I’ve really cured it!” “It’s perfect!” “It’s beautiful!” “I’m so happy!” “Nothing’s going to go wrong!” Saying any of these phrases is just asking for trouble.
5. Thinking the film has ended before it actually has
Most horror films do not ever really end. Instead they go on to become franchises, and you will be in all of the sequels until you die. Embrace your fate. Life your life grimly and on the edge. Be constantly alert for a return of the Bad Thing. It will never leave you alone.