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In Which I Go On And On (And On And On And ON) About Exactly How Much I Hate Rom-Coms

I really didn’t realise how much I hated Rom-Coms until I was poking around in my filing system and rediscovered this huge, rambling piece of invective. I honestly don’t know what got into me here. It began as a fairly concise piece of observational humour about how RomCom heroines are basically all the same, and just…kept going. For three and a half thousand words.

Anyway, here it is. I have no idea if the quiz element actually works, but if you do happen to feel like keeping score, let me know how you get on.

 

 

Are you secretly the heroine of a Romantic Comedy and didn’t know it? Oh, come on, you’ve always wanted to know. No, really, you have. But the only way to know for sure is to Take The Test and find out…

 

 

Step One – Getting to know you

It’s all about you! Because you’re perky and clueless and funny and endearing and non-threateningly gorgeous and sweet, and all sorts of crazy stuff happens to you on a regular basis.

 

Let’s start with the basics. Are you:

–          Straight     +20 points

–          Gay           –100 points

–          Single        +50 points

–          Recently out of a relationship       +15 points

–          In an unsatisfactory or dysfunctional relationship            +10 points

–          In a satisfying and functional relationship                        – 50 points

 

Compared to your close female friends, are you:

–          The tallest?            + 5 points

–          The slimmest?       + 5 points

–          The prettiest?        + 5 points

–          None of the above -25 points

 

What colour is your hair?

–          Blonde or fair                    + 10 points

–          Dark brown or black      +5 points

–          Red                                      – 50 points

 

Let’s talk lifestyle. Do you have:

–          A pet                                            + 5 points

–          A gay male best friend        +10 points

–          A gay female best friend    -50 points

–          A male friend or relative with a disability…         +15 points

  • …who relies on you for help and support             +20 points

–          An apartment with big windows and an implausibly nice view   +10 points

–          An entertainingly crotchety neighbour                                         +10 points

 

 

Around half of us meet our soulmate in the workplace! Is your job any of the following?

–          Journalism or magazine work                               +25 points

–          Behind the scenes in TV or radio                         +15 points

–          Behind  the scenes in film                                      +10 points

–          Waitressing                                                                  +30 points

–          High-class prostitution                                          +40 points

–          Cooking, baking, etc                                                 +15 points

–          Domestic chore related (cleaning company, laundry service, pet walking, etc)

+30 points

–          Anything to do with finance                                -40 points

–          Anything with “manager” in the title               -30 points

–          Astronaut                                                                    –50 points

–          University professor                                              -100 points

 

Are you weirdly crap at it?                                              + 20 points

 

Which one of the following amusing workplace experiences have you had?

–          You brought something with you on a trip that was downright inappropriate, and only realised when you unpacked                                            +5 points

  • …and when you unpacked, it was in front of someone else         +10 points

–          You packed a briefcase, parcel or suitcase on behalf of someone else and made exactly the same mistake, and they only realised when they unpacked         +5 points

  • …and when they unpacked, it was in front of someone else        +10 points
  • …and that someone else was old                                                            +5 points
  • …and that someone else was female                                                     + 5 points
  • …and  that someone else was from a culture where the inappropriate item would be considered life-endingly offensive                                                     + 5 points
  • …and two of the above applied                                                            +10 points
  • …and all three of the above applied                                                   +15 points
  • …and you got fired because of it                                                          +20 points

–          You accidentally got hideously drunk at a work function because you thought the punch was non-alcoholic                                                                                                    +10 points

  • Your skirt somehow came off, exposing you to the world          +20 points

–          At a moment when it was critical to look groomed and clean, you accidentally smeared baked goods on…

  • Yourself                            +5 points
  • a colleague                        +10 points
  • your boss                           +15 points
  • And when you tried to clean it up you made it all much, much worse      +20 points
  • And you got fired                         +20 points

–          You were forced to wear a hideous outfit and the man of your dreams saw you in it even though he was supposed to be five thousand miles away at the time    +10 points

–          You set fire to the kitchen while cooking                         +5 points

  • … when important people were coming to dinner  +10 points
  • … in someone else’s apartment                                       +15 points

–          Your pet snuck into work with you and caused havoc    +25 points

 

Are the following technologies clearly engaged in a malign conspiracy to ruin your life?

–          Answerphones

–          Speakerphones

–          Microphones

–          Cell-phones

–          Car alarms

–          Burglar alarms

–          Fire alarms

–          CCTV security cameras

–          Sprinkler systems

Score +5 points for each one you tick

 

 

Meeting the man of your dreams

 

Can’t be a heroine without a hero, right? Let’s see if he’s the right one for you…

 

It’s a proven statistical fact that to meet your Prince, you have to kiss a certain number of Frogs. What went wrong between you and the last Frog in your life?

–          You caught him cheating     +10 points

  • …with someone you loved and trusted    +20 points

–          He caught you cheating  -50 points

–          You followed your heart and did something crazy that he disapproved of   +15 points

–          Your pet attacked him                                                      +10 points

  • …for reasons which turned out to be justified      +5 points

–          You wanted commitment and he didn’t                          +10 points

–          He wanted commitment and you didn’t                          -10 points

  • …unless you were getting married and you ran away from the altar, in which case you get                                                                                                      +25 points

 

So you think you’ve finally met Prince Charming! OMG, you guys are so cute together! How did you first meet?

–          One or both of you was in an accident…                                                  +10 points

  • ….which was caused by one or both of you doing something klutzy… +15 points
  • …and you were klutzy because you were distraught because you had just caught your lover cheating on you                                                                                + 20 points

–          You met at a socially awkward wedding…                                              +5 points

  • …and  was awkward because your ex-lover is marrying somebody else      +10 points
  • …because you were, once again, the bridesmaid rather than the bride   +10 points
  • …because you knew something terrible about the bride or the groom that meant they shouldn’t get married    +10 points
  • ….because one or both of you managed to do something conspicuously stupid and destructive at a crucial moment in the ceremony         +50 points

–          You had a meaningless one-night stand after the tragic break-up of a long-term relationship                                                                                  +15 points

–          Your kids hate each other and the teachers demanded  you get together to sort out the issues which are disrupting the entire class                                    +20 points

–          Your psychotic pets take the same remedial-behaviour class                   +20 points

–          One of you paid the other for sex                                                                         +30 points

–          One of you paid the other to donate gametes                                          +50 points

–          You mistook each other for someone else                                                +10 points

–          You both lied on an application form                                                       +15 points

–          You used to be married                                                                            +10 points

–          One of you had amnesia                                                                           +30 points

–          You were at college together                                                                    – 20 points

–          You were at school together  and stayed in touch                              -50 points

–          You were at school together and lost touch…                                             +5 points

  • …after a huge argument about wanting different things from life                                                                                                                 +10 points
  • …and you wanted to pursue a high-flying career and he wanted to explore life                                                                                           +50 points
  • …and he wanted to pursue a high-flying career and you wanted to explore life                                                                                           -100 points

–          You met doing something you were only trying out because you lost a bet  +30 points

–          You got chatting at a party, enjoyed each other’s company and decided to swap numbers                                                                                                 – 30 points

–          Some friends introduced you and you seemed to get on well                 -10 points

–          You have a shared interest and your relationship grew naturally out of that shared interest                                                                                                 -25 points

–          You got to know each other at work, then went to The Olive Garden one evening and had a really nice time                                                                       – 50 points

 

 

What kind of job does he have?

–          Something steady and reliable that your parents would approve of        -50 points

–          Something scary and high-powered that your parents would be in awe of    -100 points

–          Something kooky and alternative, and you can’t quite see how it makes money  +25 points

–          Something working with children or animals                                           +50 points

–          Something low-paid but unexpectedly worthy, that gives back to the community +80 points

–          He’s between jobs right now, but he has some amazing if slightly impractical plans  +100 points

 

Where did you go on your first date?

–          A nice restaurant where you can dress up and feel pretty            -50 points

–          The theatre or the opera                                                                           -100 points

–          To see a really good movie everyone’s talking about                   -25 points

–          To see a movie you’ve never heard of                                                  +10 points

  • from a genre you’ve never considered before                                +15 points
  • but he loves them and has seen every single one ever                 +20 points
  • in a foreign language                                                                                     +5 points
  • and has them all on DVD                                                                           +25 points
  • and it turns out that you love them too                                             +50 points

–          To do something for other people                                     +10 points

  • …and those people are homeless                           +10 points
  • …and those people are disabled                             +10 points
  • …and those people are children                             +10 points
  • …and  those people are two of the above           +25 points
  • …and those people are all three of the above   +50 points

–          Somewhere that requires you to get wet and / or muddy + 10 points

–          Somewhere free. It’s amazing how much free stuff there is in the world if you really look                                                                         +20 points

–          The hospital, because one or both of you somehow managed to get injured +30 points

–    But it was amazing anyway                                  +40 points

 

Be really honest. Who is better-looking?

–          Him           -50 points

–          You           +50 points

 

And again…who’s funnier?

–          Him           +50 points

–          You           -50 points

 

One more time: who’s more responsible?

–          Him:          -100 points

–          You:          +100 points

 

Is it going to work out?

So you’ve met a man who could be The One, and suddenly everyone’s got an opinion, and every opinion is different. Whose advice should you take?

 

Review this list of possible advice-givers. Whose opinion do you instinctively feel will be the correct one?

–          An older relative who you look up to                   – 100 points

–          An older relative who you feel responsible for… +25 points

  • …because they themselves are recently and / or traumatically divorced +10 points
  • …because they have an addiction problem +30 points
  • …because they have a mental illness +50 points

 

–          A sibling who:

  • In general, is more responsible than you   -75 points
  • In general, is less responsible than you     +10 points
  • Your parents wish you were more like     -50 points
  • Your parents wish was more like you       +20 points

–          The acknowledged black sheep of the family      +40 points

–          A small child                                                         +25 points

  • …who you have never actually engaged in conversation before  +30 points

–          A family friend who has watched you grow since you were a baby        -75 points

–          A best friend whose life is considered successful                                               -30 points

  • …and who is in a happy and functioning relationship      -50 points

–          A best friend who people point at and say, “Well, at least you’re doing better than she is”                                                                                                 +20 points

  • …whose romantic life is a non-stop train-wreck               +50 points

–          A best friend who is clearly and hopelessly in love with you                  +30 points

–          Someone you know you’ve met before, but you can’t quite place them +20 points

–          A doorman, bartender, taxi driver or other random functionary              +30 points

  • …who obviously has major interpersonal issues with absolutely everyone  +50 points

–          A stranger you met in a queue and randomly poured out your heart to +75 points

–          Your pet                                                                                        +100 points

 

Would you automatically give more credence to advice coming from someone who is:

–          Very old

–          Very young

–          Very drunk

–          Very mad?

Score +10 points for each box ticked

 

Meet the parents

You can tell a lot about someone from their relationship with their parents. Specifically, you can tell a lot about whether they are really living in a Rom-Com or not. Let’s see how you’re doing.

 

Your parents are:

–          Happily married                                           -50 points

–          Pretending to be happily married        +10 points

–          Clearly unhappily married                      +30 points

–          Divorced or divorcing                              +40 points

 

Who’s the sensible one?

–          Your mom       +10 points

–          Your dad         -10 points

–          Both                -100 points

–          Neither            + 50 points

 

When your parents first met your Prince Charming, they were:

–           Dismayed                                                     +10 points

–          Actively sickened or repulsed             +20 points

–          Bemused                                                         +15 points

–          Willing to reserve judgement              -10 points

–          Perfectly happy as long as he treats you right            –20 points

–          Thrilled and already planning your wedding              -30 points

–          Embarrassingly obsequious because he’s so rich / successful / well-connected  -50 points

 

What happened when your new man met your parents for the first time?

–          It was a little stilted, but after a while, we all warmed to each other  -30 points

–          They asked him about his job, and didn’t like the answer  +10 points

–          They had absolutely nothing to say to each other      +20 points

  • but he got on like a house on fire with my mentally disabled relative +25 points

–          He said something awful next to a baby monitor and my parents heard +25 points

–          It was all going okay until That Incident in the bathroom     +50 points

–          He managed to accidentally kill or maim the family pet        +30 points

–          He managed to accidentally set fire to something                  +40 points

–          He managed to accidentally remove my mother’s clothing    +50 points

 

In the mood for lurve

Sex is the glue that holds a relationship together. The question is; do you have the right kind of glue?

 

Which of the following scenarios has happened to you during sex?

–          While having sex at my place, the dog or cat somehow got itself involved  +10 points

–          While having sex at a friend’s wedding, we;

  •  smashed the cake                               +10 points
  • destroyed the decorations                   + 5 points
  • ruined the bride’s dress                       +20 points
  • caused an elderly relative to have a heart attack  +30 points

–          While having sex at a friend’s apartment, we

  • destroyed the bedstead                       +10 points
  • ruined the sofa upholstery                  +20 points
  • made a large hole in the plasterwork +30 points
  • smashed the fish-tank                                +40 points

–          While having sex at my place of work, we were observed by a group of overweight security guards via CCTV        +20 points

–          While having sex at my parents’ house, we were overheard over the baby monitor which we had inexplicably failed to notice    +30 points

–          While having sex in front of the parrot, we inadvertently trained it to repeat an inappropriate phrase during dinner                          +50 points

–          While having sex in a swanky hotel, we trashed the entire room       +10 points

–          While having sex in a car, we accidentally released the handbrake   +25 points

–          None of the above                                                      -50 points

 

Which of these phrases best describes his sexual adventurousness?

–          He’s happy for me to introduce new stuff, but at heart he’s pretty vanilla really +30 points

–          He has a regular subscription to Those Catalogues                 -25 points

–          I asked if I could go on top once and he sulked for a week    -50 points

 

Whose underwear is nicer?

–          Yours              +20 points

–          His                   -20 points

 

Bumps in the road

True love is never easy. How can you possibly know you’re right for each other if you don’t put each other through the wringer a few times?

 

You are passing a restaurant. On glancing in, you see your soul-mate laughing and joking with another woman. How do you respond?

–          Call your best friend and sob down the phone about how All Men Are Bastards  +20 points

–          Vow to never speak to him again, then get run over on the way home   +50 points

–          Storm into the restaurant and create a scene of traffic-stopping proportions +75 points

–          Call him later and ask about it. But it’s probably his sister or a colleague   -100 points

 

It’s a big night out, and he’s late. What do you do?

–          Call him in a panic, convinced he must be dead,  and leave a series of hysterical messages on his phone, then ditch him when he turns out to have been stuck in traffic  +20 points

–          Call everyone who knows him to see if he’s with some other girl, then ditch him when he turns out to have slept through his alarm   +25 points

–          Conclude that this is his way of leaving you, because you have cripplingly low self-esteem. Leave quietly, go home and never take his calls       +30 points

–          Call him and remind him where he’s supposed to be                         -10 points

–          Call him and ream him out, then tell him to get his ass over there     -20 points

–          Screw him, who cares? He’s a grown man and can take care of himself. You’re going to enjoy yourself without him                                       -50 points

 

You’ve just had your first row. What was it about?

–          You found out he lied about his favourite colour, and this led you to question the entire basis of your relationship                                                           +25 points

–          You met his best friend and his best friend was kind of an asshole, leading you to question whether you ever really knew him in the first place        +20 points

–          You disapprove of his voting choices                          -25 points

–          He tried to do something nice for your disabled friend or relative, and it backfired and now you’re blaming him for not understanding the disabled friend or relative’s needs the way you do                                     +30 points

–          His ex-girlfriend sent him a gift or letter which he didn’t instantly set fire to in front of you, and now you’re convinced he is cheating on you, or is about to cheat on you, or has thought about her existence, or something, and now it’s all ruined                      +40 points

–          It began with pasta and spiralled into an intense and alarmingly articulate discussion about what it all means and how you got there and whether you can do this any more +50 points

–          You had different opinions about something you saw on the news  -30 points

 

After a heart-rending argument, you have made the decision to separate. How do you cope?

–          You take up a new hobby which somehow reflects all you have learned while you were together                                     +20 points

–          You go on a series of dates with men who sound perfect on paper, but aren’t   +10 points

–          You decide it’s time to work on why you feel the constant need to validate yourself through relationships, and vow to spend the next year single so you can focus on building your self-esteem             -50 points

–          You agree to marry someone who you had previously discounted, but your parents like him and you have a lot of free evenings now and hey, ya gotta marry somebody, right?           +75 points

–          You spend a lot of time on your sofa wearing bathrobes and holding remote controls     +20 points

–          You make an obviously poor life-changing decision, which reverses a previously good decision made back when you were happy and In Love            +30 points

–          You have a good cry, buy some new shoes and move on      -30 points

–          You throw yourself into your career and manage to upset everyone by being really hard-nosed and aggressive                    +25 points

 

Happily Ever After

Now you’ve seen exactly how miserable and dysfunctional you are without each other, you can give in to your inevitable destiny and get back together. How does this happen?

 

–          A relative you never got on with tells you the tragic story of their life, and you realise that if you don’t get back together, your own life will follow the same dark path                +20 points

–          Someone else you never got on with tells you the tragic story of their life, and you realise that if you don’t get back together, your own life will follow the same dark path        +30 points

–          A total stranger tells you the tragic story of their life, and you realise that if you don’t get back together, your own life will follow the same dark path                                                +50 points

–          One of you phones the other and suggests you meet for a drink and a chat about whether it might work out after all        -100 points

–          You have a near-death experience and manage to save each other +25 points

–          While putting away an impressively expensive gift from your new man, you find an incredibly lame gift your ex once gave you. Somehow this makes you realise you prefer your ex after all                +40 points

–          One of you is about to marry someone else when…

  • …someone stands up in church and makes an objection         +30 points
  • …the other one bursts into the church and makes a dramatic declaration of love  +20 points
  • …the bride / groom is discovered to be having an affair with the best man   +10 points
  • …someone from their past comes back and reclaims them instead  +20 points
  • …the replacement realises they are Not The One For You and make a quiet but dignified exit that allows you to hold onto your sense of yourself as a good person     +20 points

–          You are making an important presentation whose outcome has major implications for your career, when you look around the room, have a moment of clarity, and rush off with your coat over your head to find your One True Love                                                +40 points

–          Something happens at a zoo. It doesn’t really matter what, because zoos are inherently both romantic and comical                             +100 points

 

1000 POINTS OR MORE: You are, like, so totally the heroine of a Romantic Comedy!

 

BETWEEN 500 AND 1000 POINTS: It’s possible you are the heroine of a Romantic Comedy, but it’s more likely that you’re just the Best Friend of someone who is the heroine. Still, at least you’ll get to enjoy the spectacle of your taller, thinner, prettier friend making a spectacular mess of her life for a while before she inexplicably finds happiness with someone she nearly ran over on her way to the grocery store.

 

BETWEEN ZERO AND 500 POINTS: Sorry, but you’re definitely a Person In A Supporting Role. Just pray you’re one of the nice ones. Otherwise you’ll probably end up on the receiving end of some brainless piece of physical comedy involving dogs, water and pie-filling.

 

ANY SCORE BELOW ZERO: You are probably living in an Indie film. You know, the kind that does well at the Sundance Festival and gets shown at the library on a Tuesday night, and you read the review in the Guardian and vaguely thought about going to see it some time, but then you forgot about it.

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The Skinny On How Movie Critics Con Us Into Seeing Stuff

 

THEY SAY…                                                                   THEY MEAN…

Beautiful                                                                              Mawkish

Epic                                                                                        Long

Classic                                                                                   Derivative

Lyrical                                                                                 Set between 1900 and 1950

Brave                                                                                    Has a gay couple in it

Tender                                                                                 Sickening

Heartfelt                                                                              Up itself

Searing                                                                                 Entirely humourless

Romantic                                                                             Unrealistic

Moving                                                                                 One of the leads dies

Heartbreaking                                                                   A child dies

Uplifting                                                                               Has an implausibly happy ending

Dazzling                                                                                Over-saturated with an insanely loud                                                                                                                         soundtrack

Bold                                                                                       Extremely violent

Tough                                                                                   Torture porn

Challenging                                                                         Misogynistic

Fast-paced                                                                          More money than sense

Turbo-charged                                                                 Significantly more money than sense

High-octane                                                                       Massively more money than sense

Laddish                                                                                Girls in their underwear

Artistic                                                                                 Girls without their underwear

Terrifying                                                                            Schlocky

Chilling                                                                                 Promises schlock but doesn’t deliver

Loveable                                                                             Hateful

Sweeping                                                                            Contains shots of mountains

Lush                                                                                      Contains shots of cornfields

Kooky                                                                                   Infuriating

Quirky                                                                                  Inexplicable

Heart-warming                                                                 Nauseating

Witty                                                                                     British

Intelligent                                                                          Foreign

High-concept                                                                    Contains a maximum of one idea

Romp                                                                                    Average men doing beautiful women

Bigger and better                                                             Dumber and more expensive

Stunning special effects                                                We could find absolutely nothing else positive to                                                                                                  say about this movie

From the director of…                                                   Not nearly as good as…

In the tradition of…                                                        Shameless rip-off of…

A re-imagining of…                                                         Copied from…

All-star cast                                                                       Cast is a collection of famous has-beens

This holiday season…                                                    …you’ll only come to see this because the walls                                                                                                    are closing in

Family fun                                                                          You’ll all hate it equally

Surprise hit                                                                        Seventeen studios are now kicking themselves

British                                                                                  Not as good as you think it’s going to be

Bafta-award-winning                                                     Passed over for the Oscar

“[This actor] is at his peak”                                         This actor is past his sell-by date

“[This actor] keeps getting better and better”    This actor’s continuing bankability is a total                                                                                                           mystery

“[This actor] is a revelation”                                     Holy shit, this actor can actually act. Who knew?

“[Actor A] is the new [Actor B]”                              Actor A was considerably cheaper than Actor B

“…as you’ve never seen him before!”                   This actor has been hopelessly miscast

“The [genre film] of the year!”                                Will sink without trace within six weeks of release

“Redefines the genre”                                                 For people who don’t really like this genre

“A must-see movie”                                                    A heavily-promoted movie

“An undiscovered classic”                                       A not-very-heavily-promoted movie

“Franchise”                                                                     Done to death

“The surprise hit of the year”                                   The film that, despite the best efforts of everyone                                                                                                 involved, accidentally turned out to be quite                                                                                                         good

 

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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.

Even when it seems like the least possible likely outcome - kids always make it out. It's just the rules.

2. Mothers

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.

Works every time

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.

A woman in awesome clothing


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.

Let's hope her mother doesn't show up before the end

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.

A dying species

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.

Has just realised that a respectful attitude will only get you so far

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.

Programming can be such a pain sometimes

3. Ranking Military Officers who have not managed to make any Fatal Errors (see below)

Badly advised by career officer

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.

Clever, British and Secretly Evil

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.

Was not a ranking military officer

5. Funny people

Humour can have its place. But after a while, it gets in the way of the gore.

Too funny for his own good

6. Ethnic minorities

Because killing these guys in the first twenty minutes would be racist. And Hollywood isn’t racist. Obviously.

Did not die in the first twenty minutes



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.

Doomed for so many, many reasons

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.

His name is officially categorised as "Trivia". TRUFAX

Fatal Errors


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.

Doomed before they even left the Fire Station

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.

She meant well

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.

Even, you know, actually frickin' dying in the previous movie doesn't get you off the hook these days


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