On Common Sense: Or, What I Learned From Horror Movies About Surviving the Supernatural

Tis the season to be haunted, booh oooh oooh ooh oooooh, booo ooooh boooo oooooh.

TCM has been running a series of classic horror films (Dracula! Cabinet of Dr. Caligari! Nosferatu! Frankenstein!) and I’m sure we’ll get a slew of slaughter on the FX and similar channels closer to Halloween.


Pictured: me after staying up for one too many all-day marathons. I’ve gotta learn to pace myself…

For me, this is great, as I’m admittedly a little low on cinematic enlightenment when it comes to the genre (I’m more of an Evil Dead/Buffy/Supernatural/Shaun of the Dead/give me horror with a sense of humor kinda guy) so I’ve been stocking up on my DVR so I can finally check off some genre staples. And the fact that I can contribute my second entry to the Things I Learned From The Movies Blogathon just makes it even better.

On that subject, I’d like to discuss common sense in horror movies. It’s been talked about and mocked to death (seriously, the Scary Movie franchise is one what installment now?) but that’s kinda what bothers me. So many characters are offed because they just don’t do a little basic planning or use that thing between their ears.

No, not their nose ring, wiseass.


Ironically, the zombies won’t go after you as they’re looking to eat something you CLEARLY don’t possess. 

This is the reason I tend to gravitate toward either the Serling style horror. Great example? The Babadook, which I finally was able to check off my Netflix list yesterday. Fantastic example of something you CAN’T FIGHT. And half the terror is knowing that this kid can’t fight back with a little catapult or makeshift crossbow.



Though Buffy approves.

But if I were to be stuck in a horror movie with a monster/deranged psychopath/pesky poltergeist/unwanted undead problem, the movies have given me quite a detailed How To guide to surviving. A simple trip to Target and Home Depot with that gift card Auntie Sylvia gave you last Christmas is surprisingly helpful under the circumstances. And yes, while I know some of these references come from television, let’s face it, a good gif is worth a slight bending of the rules if you’ve seen the concept used elsewhere. Let’s go shopping, shall we?


For the ‘buster on a budget.


*Rock salt for the shotgun- $25 – Experimental nuclear accelerators are great if you’re a slightly mad scientist working with an Ivy League doctor’s salary, but if you’re from the Winchesterian school of hard knocks, you just take a good old fashioned double barrel and pack it full of anti-ghost goodness. All for less than a special at Applebees.


If it’s in a different language, make sure to brush up on that Babylonian Rosetta Stone course you bought…

*Holy Bible- $20- The power of not being beaten by a pesky demon compels you to buy it.


Not everyone can carry around a utility belt, okay? It’s convenient!

*Tide to Go sticks- $6 For those potential pesky blood stains from demonic possession.


Warning: Do not saw off hand unless otherwise prompted due to the demonic possession of said limb. 

*Chainsaw- $120- Hey, it works for Ash…


Hide And Seek Champion Since 1980.

*Proximity Security Alarm- $25- Never let Michael or Jason sneak up on you again.

*Five Hour Energy (24 count)- $46- Freddy can’t kill what Freddy can’t get to.


Game over, man, game over!

*Saw and wood planks – $35- When your house is under attack by bloodsucker, raise the stakes. Preferably right into their hearts. Boom. Game over. Just grab the dustbuster for cleanup. No one wants to featherdust a staked vamp. It’s unsanitary.


At least it’s not a Samsung…right?

*Portable cell phone charger- $12.99- Oh no! You’re in the woods trying to call for help but you were too busy playing on that app all morning? Good thing you’ve got a charger. Speaking of phones…


Can you hear me n– hold on, knife got stuck in my throat…

*Non-crappy cell phone plan allowing you to get more thorough service- $100/month- What? No bars? Only as the killer’s blade play’s merry hob with your internal organs do you realize that maybe it wasn’t a good idea going for that cheapo phone plan because a D-list celebrity told you it was just as good as the Evil Big Brand.



*Good running shoes- $140- Never be the one who slips & falls while being chased again. Seriously. Don’t be that girl/guy. It’s just embarrassing.


No! Not that surprisingly common cooking ingredient! How did you know it was a weakness?

*Some onions- $3 at the supermarket- Seriously, if a vampire can be scared off by something you can get on a burger at McDonalds…you really have no excuse for not being stocked up. Just sayin’.


We’re all alone here. Wonder what could possibly go wrong if I get out of the car?

*AAA Membership – $52- Don’t try and fix the flat yourself on the side of the empty road in the middle of the creepy forest! That’s just stupid! If the hookman/tree demons/Jersey Devil gets you, leaving your girlfriend/boyfriend behind to wonder what happened, you have no one to blame but yourself. Car won’t start? Lock the doors, roll the windows, play some upbeat music and wait for your chariot to arrive.


If you only just now asking yourself, ‘Am I sure Dr. M. Aniac has a real PhD.?’, you’re probably a lost cause to begin with…

*Therapy sessions- $50/session- Exorcise your demons before you need to be exorcised FROM the demons.


It’s taking you INTO The Ring? Jump out of the car! Look at it! It’s literally sending you serving into a lane that STOPS MIDWAY! Your car is going all Christine! Jump you idiot!

*Garmin GPS device- $102- Uh oh, did you make a wrong turn into the crazy hillbilly town crawling with flesh-craving mutants? Where was that supposed turn you were supposed to…oh! You don’t even need wifi because it comes loaded with a map that you can update when wifi is available? Well…that could have ended differently.


“Oh, but honey, it has 1921 great reviews on Yelp-” 

*A hotel room at a NON-creepy location: $120/night- Staying at a place that looks like it was the site of a mass murder is asking to be a MEMBER of the mass murder and hey, here’s your safety net for when the creepy ghost children and inexplicable phenomena keep you up all night. Just leave from work and don’t come back. Which leads us finally to:



*A decent realtor- just a background check away- Don’t settle for someone who has a negative feedback scores due to previous properties they sold that were re-listed due to mysterious simultaneous decapitations. If the real estate agent doesn’t mention that the walls were once painted red and NOT due to a poor choice in paint, then this sucker doesn’t deserve that vaunted gold jacket. And just think- if you had a decent real estate agent and you took the house anyway? They won’t have a problem re-listing the house when you flee it in terror in the middle of the night and don’t look back. Have them keep the stuff. You don’t want any hitchhiking murder dolls following you to your next place.

Yep. For just over $1000, you can keep yourself safe from a bloodbath at the hands of all manner of ghouls. Who said horror movies couldn’t be educational?


Until next time,





  1. Silver Screenings · October 16, 2016

    WHO KNEW! Who knew that an investment of $1,000 could protect you from all this terror? Honestly, there is no reason a person should be caught unawares, like you said.

    I laughed all the way through this post. Brilliant! I especially loved the description of the “surprisingly common cooking ingredient”.

    Thanks again for joining the blogathon with this witty look at horror films. A lot of good thought – and a lot of common sense – went into this excellent essay.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Things I Learned from the Movies: Day 3 – Silver Screenings
  3. Pingback: On Hype: Or, How Classic Horror Proves Some Things Never Change | ReelHeartWork

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s