How to Survive in A Haunted House – A Halloween Exclusive!!

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So Halloween is here and like every year we are seeing a ton of horror/supernatural films heading to theaters in a row. While last week saw the return of the Saw franchise, this year has nevertheless been an exciting year for horror fans with small films like Get Out, It Comes at Night, Split, Creep 2, Raw along with some other making quite the splash, in the form of commercial triumph or critical support or simply just finding itself an instant fan following. Above all, the massive commercial success of It (which stands with $666.6 million currently at the world wide BO) has opened doors for studios to risk with unexplored concepts.

While the whole month is dedicated to spooky stuff, costume hunting, pumpkin carving, and of course, watching a bunch of scary movies, a certain good natured person at Man Crates, a new company that ships awesome gifts for men in custom wooden crates that has to opened with a crowbar! (how awesome is that?), put up a question across me, something which may or may have not crossed my mind all this years – How would you survive in a horror movie? After years of frustration watching the illogical characters in scary movies foolishly place themselves in harms way and vulnerable positions & getting hacked off (or dying in some particular way) the result of it, the question remains what does it take to be the final girl or guy (interestingly I don’t remember any single guy surviving at the end of a horror movie)? While many people out there have many theories on how to survive a Horrorcopalyse especially in the case of Zombies (just shoot them in the head or cut their head off with an axe no matter who it is) or a Vampire hive (again lets cut their heads off or wooden stakes in their hearts or spray garlic or according to the Twilight series get in a relationship with them).  My focus here is only on how to survive in a house of horror. The house can either be haunted with ghosts or demons or can be a resident of psychotic masked killer. So lets begin on how to survive or should I say avoid certain things.

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The Geography – OK, this scenario has been portrayed in so many movies before, with people barely making it out alive. You know what’s the most surprising advice of a top expert in the supernatural? Head straight to the basement, especially when you are being targeted by a malevolent ghost! Yikes! Anyways coming back to the topic, you must have noticed most of the real estates in a supernatural film are located in remote areas a little far from civilization for example the huge the Overlook Hotel in The Shinning, the Amityville House in The Amityville Horror, the house in The Conjuring, the Cabin in The Cabin in The Woods & Evil Dead movies, such kinds of places are a huge no no!! If you find that your house was built upon or near a cemetery, was once a church that was used for black masses, had previous inhabitants who went mad or committed suicide or died in some horrible fashion, or had inhabitants who performed necrophilia or satanic practices, move away immediately. Just think why would you want to live in a place like this away from civilization, no matter how quite it gets! Whatever the real estate agent says just don’t believe it (the guy/girl has a target to meet you know), in a place like this, even if something probably bad never happened (which is a slim chance), you never know what accident can take place, with no help in sights whatsoever. Who knows! Also stay away from certain geographical locations, who have a certain ring to their names, some of which are: Amityville, Elm Street, Transylvania, the Bermuda Triangle, Camp Crystal Lake or any small town in Maine.

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You Must Believe – Another reason which makes matters worse is the refusal to believe that the house is haunted no matter how obvious it is! Common, don’t ignore the warnings of the old caretakers! He/She doesn’t need to care whether you survive or not! But no matter how grumpy or creepy he/she looks you got to believe in every word they say. The ominous sounds of children playing around or woman calling out your name, the creaks in the doors or stairs, objects that move inexplicably, dolls whose heads turn in your direction and your children’s reports of having seen dead people, believe everything! Always be skeptical of kids, twins and old people. Don’t profile or discriminate, but treat them as if they’re surrounded by yellow ‘caution’ tape. Take heed of all warnings from animals as well. They usually know more than you do. If you have moved in keep an eye on your kids, if they have made imaginary friends or anyone who is invisible, you are a step closer to dying! Sure, the experts say that Ghosts feed on fear, but hell I would be scared, as I am sure no ghost would look like Slime (Ghostbusters) or Casper (remember the friendly ghost?) & would hang around for the fun of it! Agreed, Bill Murray wasn’t afraid to poke fun at spirits in “Ghostbusters.”, but hell he was battling a sinister version Mister Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, not Pazuzu (the demon from The Exorcist) or the Lip Stick face (the demon from the Insidious series).

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The Ghostbusters – I have another scenario in mind provided you still decide to stay in the place despite all early warnings, get a ‘Priest’ to have a look around. OK I am not a very religious person in any essence, but a priest, who is usually pulled down as a secondary character & appears mostly close to the final act, definitely knows better. Hell some of them have been actually mastered in fending of such evil almost their entire live. Just imagine how easy it would have been for Father Lankester Merrin (The Exorcist) provided he was contacted earlier. And in case, you don’t want a religious preacher in your house get a bunch of authentic ghost busters in! No not Bill Murray & his gang, I would recommend the Warren couple (The Conjuring, Annabelle) or paranormal investigators like Elise Reiner, Specs, and Tucker (Insidious series), you would believe them right?

The Creepy Plaything – Don’t get me wrong, I’m not totally anti-doll (well, maybe just a little), but I’m definitely anti-creepy doll. Dolls have been an important part of kids play for thousands of years. But while most kids relate to the made up tea parties & to holding them tight whenever they went to bed, many others have a different kind of tale to narrate. As films like the Chucky series, Annabelle & Annabelle: Creation have made it clear, some dolls are prone to bringing in bad luck, or just plain and simple, be possessed by spirits or demonic entities. So best thing to do when you move in get to the closest dump yard & throw it or just burn into to the last piece, while making sure you never look into those sleepy staring, glass eyes. I know this may sound a bit off, but their is actually a scientific term for the fear of dolls, pediophobia, which classified under the broader fear of humanoid figures (automatonophobia) and related to pupaphobia, a fear of puppets.

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Say No to Money – Never take a dare to enter such a house! Even if their is a huge price money waiting for you outside! You are never going to feel the smooth paper on your palms. As seen in films like Halloween: Resurrection (the house of Michael Myers is at center stage here), or the House on Haunted Hill, serving your life for money is not a good idea. Even if its for a so called medical study (The Haunting)! You are all going to get picked one by one! Seriously its no game, so don’t go around looking around that peephole on the door. Don’t look through that sh-t, ever. Nothing good is on the other side, I promise. Plus, you know how after being chased and hiding it’s silent? Well don’t put your ear next to the wall to listen for the enemy or rest your head. A hand, knife, ax, or some other sharp weapon will come chopping through at any second. Also on a stormy night, you find a window open which you thought was previously closed, do not close it seriously its no special effect or part of the game. It may be your only way out when whatever has come in through it is chasing you.

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The Goodies – Often in an old house, you end up finding some cool stuff, that can be a bunch of video tapes in form of Super 8 footage or V/H/S or some ugly looking yet adorable doll or an ugly worn out book or just some crazy looking puzzle. If you got the references I have been pointing out, you know what I am getting at! Don’t be an Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke from Sinister), you wont find a cool Steven Speilberg movie on those tapes, you found them in the attic for god sake! You don’t need to investigate. In fact, remove the word “investigate” from your vocabulary. You’re not a detective. Not even a poor man’s Librarian, so don’t go searching for answers. If what you’re curious about it, just Google it! Don’t freaking bother, Holmes! It’s probably got an answer you’d rather not see or feel. If you find a book with no author on the front page or name of the person who owns the book on the 1st page or a summary at the back page, what do expect it to be? Diary of a call girl? No! Its definitely something which should not be engaged with! Please make sure the nerd of the group is kept away from it & is never allowed to read it out loud even as a joke! You never know it may end up summoning a bunch of demons who may end up possessing the hottest girl of your group. Oh and also make sure you keep the nerd away from puzzles that open portals to Hell! Please do not take ‘anything’ belonging to the dead. And while we are at this please get yourself an iPod or CD player! Any house in possession of a record player is destined for some type of terrifying encounter involving their ‘records’ which generally carry old, eerie melodies and will begin to skip or generate some type of freaky occurrence to fit the tune.

From left to right: Curt (Chris Hemsworth), Holden (Jesse Williams), Jules (Anna Hutchison), Marty (Fran Kranz) and Dana (Kristen Connolly) in THE CABIN IN THE WOODS.

Stay in a group – An often mistake our characters in our horror movies do is they move around alone! I am not saying take your family or friends to the washroom or hold their hands whenever you cross from room to room, instead remember their is always strength in numbers! Just kill the person in the group who suggests that you split up. Move around with the guy or girl you are certain will have your back! Not the most greedy person in the group, he/she will eventually get you killed, or the screaming hysterical girl because she will be the one to distract everyone when there really is danger or the guy who makes fun of the local’s stories about deformed killer out in the wood side, you can bet they are real and you might get them angry. Also make sure your friend is not too scared to shoot when the monster is bearing down on you, best keep the gun at your disposal and shoot the monster yourself, or use your weapon to kill both the monster and your friend, especially if there are more monsters around. Your friend was dead weight. And also make sure your not with the companion who has suddenly begin to exhibit uncharacteristic behavior such as hissing, fascination for blood, glowing eyes, increasing hairiness, and so on, get away from them as soon as possible!  Unless you are in the company of Scooby Doo & the meddling kids, the creature/ghost coming at you is most likely real.

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The Lone Ranger – Yet, despite all the facts pointing against it, you still want to move around alone, for God’s sake never back out of one room into another without looking. It’s always behind you. If anything other than water (i.e., blood or thick goo of any color) comes out of a faucet, do not call a plumber. Leave the house immediately. If you enter a room with flickering fluorescent lights: Stop, turn around and walk in the opposite direction. Matter of fact, a mild jog in the opposite direction is more appropriate. When you’re searching a house because you think there’s something dangerous there, please turn the lights on! While looking in a mirror, you see a figure behind you that you don’t see upon turning around, a room different from the one you are in, or a figure other than yourself looking back, or your reflection tells you to get out before it is too late, proceed to the nearest exit with all speed. If you open a door and the room you see is not the room that should be there, do not explore it. In fact, even if you close the door and see the correct room after re-opening it, vacate the house. When approaching a room with a door that hasn’t been opened in decades, and the knob begins to slowly turn back and forth on its own, back away! Do not ask loudly, “Who’s there?”. Do you expect the ghost or the killer to say: “Hi, its me the guy who is gonna kill you!” No! And the moment it arrives, run towards the main door or the back door or break a window on the ground floor, under no circumstance running upstairs is gonna help. The further you go upwards, the more distance you add between the ground & you when you are forced to jump! The killer/ ghost are at their best on top portions of the house, as they can either float in mid air or jump behind you as in no ways they are going die (as they have to be back for the numerous sequels). If you’re in a room and a figure is seated with their back to you, turn toward the nearest exit and haul ass towards it. Even if you think you recognize the back of that head, don’t engage. Because when he/she/it turns around, the eyes will be rolled in the back of the head or the face distorted in some manner that will not be pleasant to look at. And remember before you go to sleep  check your phone lines every night, if the phone lines are dead, and you hear footsteps upstairs, and you say “John is that you?” and John does not answer, its the best time to run away.

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Fun Times – Never play games in a haunted house! Yes, you read that right! I know it may seem like a great idea to get your mind off all the happenings of the house, but seriously it can actually add more displeasure for your continuing survival. Games such as hide n seek, truth & dare or strip poker or even Ouija may seem like a fun idea, but the moment the entity joins the game you wont have the expected results. Even if you end up playing the game, make sure none of your friends are even distantly related to the entity/killer in the house. Did I mention never to have sex in such a house? Oh big no no!! The moment the female (sorry girls thats how it is) drops her top, the killer usually rushes in! I am not sure if the ghosts or the killers are insecure of their sexuality but something about sex always pushes them towards killing. Really why cant you just be a pervert & watch the show?

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The Vehicle – And for one final one, make sure your car parked outside (no not the garage) is always full of gas & has a fresh battery in order ready to roll the moment you manage to run out! And remember before you go never say that you’ll be right back, because you won’t! Even for the sequel! Maybe the others will, but you definitely wont!

Well to sum it up, I am sure the above mentioned rants will never been done in an actual movie, Hell if its done we wont be have anything to watch right, & lets face it people in horror movies are plain stupid, no matter what they do, they eventually die. Happy Halloween Folks!

Signing Off!!

Mirza Baig

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