The Monster Is in the House!: How to never be in a horror movie

Does the hallway in your house look like this to you right now?

If you’re bored while stuck at home, and if recent events have not frightened you enough already, you may be brave enough to use this time to catch up on horror movies and learn something about how to avoid being the star of one yourself. This isn’t for those of you who feel like you are already living a horror movie and couldn’t possibly watch one. 

Volumes have been written on how to survive a horror movie, but what about those lazy/sane people who have no interest in being in a horror movie in the first place? For those people, I have compiled a list of helpful suggestions that will help you avoid situations that are commonly the plots of horror movies, so that you never find yourself in those precarious and deadly predicaments in the first place. Due to the breadth of terrifying creatures, killers, catastrophes and other worldly beings that threaten human existence, I have listed, in no particular order, rules to abide by if you wish to stay out of the horror limelight. 

  1. STAY OUT of the water. This includes: oceans, ponds, lakes, rivers, deep puddles, swamps and even sewers. You never know what giant, flesh-eating monster is lurking below. Take giant sharks, for example. Or piranhas. There are crocodiles, alligators (mostly found in sewers), mysterious blobs, giant squids or deep-sea creatures that amalgamate you into their skin. Though recently it has been discovered that sharks can fly, and maybe even gamble, at least if you are on land, you have a chance of outrunning them. Humans are not natural swimmers, unless it’s in shallow water. Like a tub or something. There you just have to worry about ghosts trying to drown you. Okay, maybe just take showers… Oh, wait no. Just don’t bathe at all.
  2. DO NOT go into space. Space is a breeding ground for crap. Nothing good comes from space, especially if you are in a spaceship going after another spaceship that mysteriously lost contact with Earth. Avoid this mission at all costs. The results could be devastating: having your whole crew eaten by an alien; becoming part of an alien hunting game and having to choose sides (and who wants to choose sides?); coming to the realization that androids are jerks; being impregnated by an alien and having to get an alien C-section without an epidural; and Sam Neil. 
  3. DO NOT have children. Children get possessed by Satan, make deals with Satan, run away to corn fields and take orders from Satan, or are born Satan and grow up into, well, Sam Neil. And it’s not just Satan. Oh, no. Occasionally, children even commune with evil spirits or some ancient deity with a knack for filming them murdering their parents. I wouldn’t adopt children either. You think you are getting a cute little girl from Russia and then BAM! she’s actually a 30-year-old psychopath who kills your husband (don’t get any ideas, ladies and gentlemen). 
  4. NO DOLLS. Some dolls are harmless, but some are possessed by evil spirits, serial killers who will use voodoo on your kid (which is also why not having a kid comes in handy) and more evil spirits. Teddy bears, Jacks in the Box, action figures and puppets also will try to kill you. In my opinion, don’t risk it. Your kids don’t need toys anyway, because you don’t have kids.  
  5. DO NOT go in basements or attics. First off, most basements and attics smell and have rats. Second, most basements and attics have secrets that will get you murdered or cause you to lose your mind. If you hear a noise in one of these places, engage all locks, turn up the radio or television and avoid inspection. You know the old adage: Curiosity killed the person who decided to see what all that noise was about. 
  6. DO NOT TOUCH old stuff. Stay out of antique stores, museums, your grandma’s attic (we’ve covered this) and away from anything that has not been made in the past few years. If you see something that is particularly shiny and is beckoning to you, RUN! If you’re not allowed to get it wet or feed it after midnight (I am not talking about your significant other) run! If for some reason you find yourself in contact with a jewel, puzzle box or oil lamp, avoid the rubbing motion and have someone else throw it into the ocean since you are not allowed near the ocean. 
  7. DO NOT have sex. Sex makes you vulnerable to machete-wielding maniacs, werewolves, teeth in weird places and pretty much everything else. This is especially true if the sex takes place when you are camping, are in high school or college, or are a 30-year-old pretending to be in high school or college. If none of these apply to you, still avoid sex, except in the safety of your bedroom (no hotels). The only exception to the “no sex” rule is if a religiously zealous cult needs a virgin to sacrifice and you are the only virgin in sight. In that case copulate with the nearest available being. No one will judge you after — except maybe the people trying to kill you — but they don’t matter. They are so 1600 AD. 
  8. DO NOT run over other people’s family members. You probably shouldn’t run over your own family members either, but that’s not for me to say. What I can tell you, is that if you run someone else’s family member over and do not immediately report it to the cops, they or their surviving kin will know! Especially if this occurs during the summer months. They will find you. They will kill you. You will die. 
  9. DO NOT read from books that were written in an ancient language. If you can’t spell it, don’t read it (unless you are 6 and learning how to read. Yay learning!). If it involves cutting your palm and drizzling your blood on a pentagram, put the book down. If it says, “DO NOT READ,” guess what? Don’t read it. Unless, that is, you want an invisible evil chasing after you to a really distressing violin assemblage while you’re being assaulted by a tree. Say NO to reading! 
  10. DO NOT look into the mirror and chant stuff. There is no need to say anything into the mirror more than one time unless it’s something existential or encouraging like you go girl or why, God, is this my life? There is no shame in this, we’ve all done it! However, under no circumstances ever say the words Mary and Candy(man) into any reflective surface. These are two names that should be easy to remember since they cannot be more opposite in their stereotypical associations. 
  11. FORGET trying to prove urban legends. They are legends for a reason. They belong in the past and are not meant to be drudged up. Any time anyone tries to do a dissertation or documentary on some myth, they end up failing — I mean dying (and probably also getting an F because they are not alive to hand their paper in to their professor). The Blair Witch Project, The Ripper, that movie that I am almost certain was trying to prove some sort of crap because it is called Urban Legend, and the movie named after the word you were just told not to say into the mirror multiple times; all of these are examples of why not to do your homework (you’re welcome, teenagers). 
  12. DO NOT take vacations. Vacations could lead to you being sent home in a body bag, or at least with some of your organs missing. And definitely do not go to Slovakia, or any country ending in “okia,” especially if you plan on cheapin’ out on a hostel. It’s just not okay. Save your money for a real hotel. You’re grown. This especially goes for camping. Along similar lines to the point above, do not rendezvous to destinations that involve sleeping, hiking or otherwise exploring in the woods. This includes attending summer camp, camping in a cabin, camping in a camper and camping in a tent. Stuff gets real when you go camping. Forget lions, tigers and bears — bigfoot, hockey masks, campfire tales that turn out to be true, oh my. Oh, and witches who rip your teeth out of your head and make you stand in the corner. If you want to save on dental, go camping. If not, stay home!
  13. DO NOT join a cult. Sometimes you don’t know you are joining a cult until it’s too late. A good indication that it is a cult is if there is a large gathering of people whose garb is slightly outdated and who hold any kind of ceremony worshipping something that a normal person would consider metaphysical. If the word sacrifice is mentioned, you find things lying around made of hay, or everybody in the group stops what they are doing and stares at you for more than five seconds AND you are not in a biker bar, you might be in a cult. The most telltale sign that you have accidentally gotten involved in a cult is that they will not let you leave. By then, it may be too late. To be safe, you may want to avoid any of these so-called “retreats.” They are not retreats that you will ever come home from. 
  14. NEVER steal a leprechaun’s gold. If you steal a leprechaun’s gold, he will murder you in the worst ways possible. This includes bursting out of your naughty places (yes, these are facts). There is no hiding from a leprechaun. He will even find you in space (see above regarding space). And let’s face it, what are you going to do with a leprechaun’s gold? It’s old European currency. It’s like finding a stash of Canadian coins mixed in with real money and hoping no one will notice. I mean really, are you going to walk into a store and throw down some leprechaun gold and expect the cashier to say, “Oh cool, leprechaun gold,” and then sell you some items. No. So don’t bother. 
  15. If a bomb or chemical experiment once took place there, DO NOT go there. It is never safe to go into quarantined areas, not only because of lingering chemicals, but also because of mutants. Yes, mutants. And if for some reason you do escape these mutants, the government will kill you. So, best not go, even if it’s just for kicks. 
  16. NEVER — I repeat — NEVER go to an independently owned gas station. Independently owned gas stations are known for screwing you over. Though it’s nice to support mom and pop businesses, those who work at independently owned gas stations tend to steer you in the wrong direction. Sure, they try to warn you at first, but if you’re a narcissistic, annoyingly pressing a-hole, they will eventually send you in the direction of the nearest murder house. 
  17. AVOID the south. Not the whole south. Mainly just Texas. Though Louisiana is known for its voodoo, the more imminent threat is inbred families, which for some reason seem to all be located in Texas (or nearby states, shout out to y’all). Though I don’t think this is a statistically accurate representation of familial relationships, if you are in an area where a tumble weed manifests itself, turn around and go the other way. You do not want THAT southern hospitality. 
  18. AVOID MAINE. A lot of weird stuff happens in Maine. Like cats and creepy-looking toddlers resurrecting out of the ground. Yes, it may have terrific lobsters, but it also has clowns that eat children, which is not as much a problem for you because you do not have children. So, I guess you won’t be burying your children in desecrated ground either — so I guess you really can go to Maine. But at the first sign of trouble, GET OUT! Oh, also, watch out for vampires. They seemed to have taken up residence there as well. 
  19. BE NICE to girls named Carrie. Those girls will whoop your butt. In fact, follow the golden rule that says you should treat everyone as you would treat yourself. Unless of course, you treat yourself like crap by sitting on the couch watching YouTube for days and eating a ridiculous amount of chips and sugar (why, God, is this my life?). You never know when how you treated someone in the past could come up and bite you. They WILL get their revenge. So watch out!
  20. DO NOT buy houses where people have been murdered, that you know are haunted, that you inherited and know are haunted, or that are on Indian burial grounds. This also goes for apartments. For some reason, condos seem to be okay. Just to be safe, do your research. If you find yourself living in a house that is haunted, get out immediately. Don’t wait to see if things resolve themselves. They won’t and you will die. 
  21. DO NOT take detours. Detours lead to death. The less pavement on the detour road, the more painful the screams. When you see a detour sign, but there is obviously no construction, plow through that crap. The bridge is never really out. (And for those of you who have not yet picked up on the fact that this is satire, please obey all traffic laws).  

So, there you have it! A drinking age number of helpful hints and suggestions on how not to get yourself killed. Stay safe and see you at the next horror flick! NOT.