I love a good slasher movie, and I think the reason we get to see so many of them is because people continue to make the same, basic mistakes in almost all of them. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, not at all, in fact I see it more as a good thing, when a character commits the classic sin you know that their number is almost certainly up. In some films you’ll see all seven of these mistakes; in some you’ll only see one. Either way, committing one of these seven deadly celluloid sins almost certainly rubber stamps your place in the old horror movie cemetery in the sky.
The ultimate no-no, running upstairs when confronted with a killer defies logic to me. Why run upstairs? You’re not being chased by a crawling baby. This deadly split-second decision usually leads to a character having to step out onto a roof or ledge, and we all know the only way is down. Some make it back onto terra firma with no problems, others are not so lucky. You try out running a killer with a broken leg.
Classic Example: Pretty much any movie ever
Never making sure the killer is actually dead
Often found in the final third of the film, the (sometimes almost invincible) killer finally gets his come uppance in the form of a bullet or blunt instrument to the face. Rejoice! The killer is dead! What usually happens next is the remaining characters leave the scene, only to return shortly after to discover, shock horror that the body has gone! Cue the final scene and another showdown between killer and what is usually a high school girl played by a 20-something actress.
Classic Example: Hatchet
Any adult or figure of authority is useless
Plain and simple, anyone who should be useful or reliable in such a situation comes unstuck far quicker than the teens that are usually getting terrorised. For example, police in any film are a terrible shot. I thought they were supposed to have training for this stuff?
Classic Example: Wrong Turn
Sexual contact ensures your untimely death
If there is a romantic relationship already within the group then you just know 50% of that relationship isn’t going to make it to the end of the film. Having a girlfriend or boyfriend almost immediately commits you to bloody death, whereas husband and wife teams tend to fair slightly better. Also, if said characters in the relationship have a sex scene then you could be waving goodbye to one of them very soon. Add drugs and alcohol to the equation and you know the killer is moments away from satisfying their bloodlust.
Classic Example: Nightmare on Elm Street
Splitting the group up
This one sometimes has me screaming at the television most times, yet when there is a blood thirsty killer stalking the surrounding areas someone always has the bright idea of everyone splitting into smaller groups. What this inevitably leads to is the group getting picked off quicker than if they had stayed together. Should a couple form one of smaller groups you can almost guarantee that there will be a nod to my previous faux pas that will include nudity and a gruesome death. Same applies to anyone who utters ‘I’ll be right back’ or any variation on that phrase. They never come back.
Classic Example: Halloween
Cars that never start
It doesn’t matter if you manage to get away from the killer at the beginning, middle or end of the film, your car just won’t start. The cause of the car not starting could be down to sabotage on the killer’s part, unless the car scene comes towards the end of the film in which case the car does start, usually with milliseconds to spare. I’m surprised they don’t flood the engine considering how many times they try turning it over.
Classic Example: The Hills Have Eyes
Areas with no cell phone reception
While in theory driving into the middle of nowhere to camp out, have a BBQ, and some beers and generally enjoy yourselves is a great idea, if you pair this with shoddy cell phone reception and a rampant killer in the exact area of the forest that you choose to set up camp it soon becomes a recipe for disaster. Quite who you could call in a situation like that who was able to help is still a mystery to me though.
Classic Example: Vacancy