Courtesy of Man Crates, I am participating in the Halloween-themed blog posting of what I consider my absolute essentials for surviving a horror movie. Please comment with anything you’d include yourself — I’d love to hear feedback.
My Horror Movie Survival Crate
by Mary SanGiovanni
So you’ve found yourself in a horror movie. There you were, blithely waltzing through your average 9-5, cubicle-and-rush-hour-traffic day, and boom, you’re suddenly surrounded by apocalyptic explosions, fleshing-eating ghouls, shambling zombies, soul-shattering closet monsters, tentacled, blood-sucking aliens, clowns, Kardashians….
Okay, okay – don’t panic. You can survive this. I’ll bet money that you don’t have yourself a horror movie survival kit yet. You should. The world can be a wild, weird, scary place. Anyone wise in the ways of the horror movie-verse has a go-bag at the ready for any and all crisis situations – and now more than ever, so should you. But what do you look for in such a survival kit? What items ought to form the backbone of your horror survivalist contingency plan?
Well, I’m a horror writer, as long-time readers know; I put people in these kinds of situations for a living, so I have, I think, a pretty good idea of what it may behoove a body to have, if said body wants to remain upright and kicking. I think these items are versatile enough to cover a number of things that go bump and scratch and belch and roar in the night, and may just save you long enough to fight another day.
1. A bottle of water and nonperishable food – Let’s face it. If you’re going to think your way calmly and rationally through a crisis situation, you’ll need to see that the most basic problems are attended to. You’ll need to triage your needs and get your head right again. Assuming you haven’t been shot, stabbed, burned, beaten, bitten, broken, or dropped onto spikes, you should consider moving on to the important task of keeping hydrated and fed. I don’t know about you, but I can’t think about the best escape route through throngs of zombies or past crazed hillbilly cannibals on an empty stomach. Ditto, if I’m thirsty. I believe at least one bottle of water, maybe two, as well as a snack, is essential to keeping you in optimum survivalist mode.
2. A first aid kit – Remember when I mentioned triaging your needs? Attending to wounds is need #1. It trumps all else; you won’t have to worry about being hungry or thirsty if you’re bleeding to death. Just as it is inevitable that if you go swimming in shark- or sea monster-infested waters you’re going to get wet, it is likewise inevitable that if you’re going to make your way through a horror movie, you’re going to get hurt. Bandages will help stop bleeding, antibiotics will prevent infection, and a sewing kit, if used skillfully, will help minimize scarring when you give yourself stitches. Essentially, your horror movie survival kit should have a first aid kit because you or someone in your little band of survivors is going to need it. Trust me. Remember, major blood loss is no way to start off your plans for survival.
3. Ibuprofen or some other pain reliever – Hopefully, you’ll limit your injuries to a bruise or two or maybe some scratches, and not a broken or missing limb. Either way, you stand a better chance of survival if you’re not distracted to the point of helplessness by pain. Hell, I wouldn’t even want to deal with a headache if I didn’t have to. I suggest you make sure your survival crate has pain relievers.
4. Paper towels – You’re going to have to pee. Everyone does. But not everyone thinks about the particulars of setting one’s rear end down on the stained porcelain of a haunted house’s toilet, a patch of leaves in a forest teeming with werewolf packs, or in the rusty, crusty, blood-stained confines of an old asylum or prison. Paper towels are good for nesting as well as wiping. And should you find yourself in a situation where you are framed for the murder of your lover, a hooker, a stranger on a train, or the like, you can wipe off your fingerprints from the scene.
It’s all about thinking ahead, people.
4. Comfy shoes – I recommend that any good horror movie survival crate have a decent pair of sneakers – durable, waterproof, and comfy. Running sneakers would probably be a good bet. Know why so many people trip and fall in horror movies, floundering on the ground as a looming, silent hulk of monstermeat approaches with a machete? Bad shoes. Running in heels is not an option. Running barefoot is not ideal. Flapping flip flops will give away your position. Take care of your feet and they won’t fail you when you need them.
5. A weapon – I can’t stress enough the importance of arming yourself. A wise horror movie hero once said, “If it bleeds, we can kill it.” But which weapon to use? Guns will do nicely for killing most things, including wild, freakishly large animals, zombies (aim for the head), serial killers (ditto – in fact, shoot them twice in the head, to be sure), crazed occultists, and cannibals. Knives and axes will serve you in the event that the gun jams or runs out of ammo. But few things can match the awesome destructive power and panache of a flamethower. Fire is the great equalizer.
6. Holy water and a Bible – It’s possible that even the girlishly squee-able awesomeness of a flamethower may not be enough firepower, so to speak, to take down certain entities of a demonic persuasion. The power of Christ will compel them, though, according to those in the know. The exorcism ritual primarily includes holy water and a passage from the older editions of the Christian Bible. This is important – your crate Bible needs to have the Rites of Exorcism in it.
7. Sage and salt – I understand from professionals that sage and salt dispel evil and prevent it from returning, respectively. It can’t hurt to have these along as well.
8. Gloves and a shovel – Some things are better left buried. But of course, you are in a horror movie, and those things didn’t stay that way. So the shovel will come in handy when you’re re-burying an ancient corse, an evil artifact, etc. You may also want or need to bury those in your party that do not survive the movie (likely, because they didn’t have survival kits of their own). And gloves will keep your hands from blistering while you dig. Further, gloves, particularly rubber gloves, may keep any Captain Tripps-esque germs from said ancient corpse, artifact, or unfortunate companion from ruining all the hard work you put into staying alive and well. You could, I imagine, substitute the gloves for Purell, but if you think about the opposition – the Michael Myerses, the Jason Voorheeses, and other soundless slashers of their ilk – they all wear gloves, and they have amazing resurrective and regenerative power. It’s all about clean living.
9. A blanket – Creature comforts, if you’ll pardon the pun, go a long way toward promoting the will to survive. And should you find yourself the sole survivor of an artic camp, an ice-capped mountain cavern, a freak blizzard, or the like, you’ll be glad for the blanket. Plus, you can make yourself a right cozy little spot if you use the blanket on you and the flamethower to make yourself a little bonfire.
10. A disguise – If episodes of Scooby Doo have taught us nothing else, disguises can make or break a monster situation. These can be tailored to blending in seamlessly with the local zombie population, the angry mob, the inmates or guards, the patients or nurses. You can even hide among the piles of corpses, with the right make-up. Clothes, they say, make the man. Disguises, I say, make the man able to hide in plain sight.
So there you go – a few things in a crate, perhaps, that form the basis of your survival in this movie. Sure, it’s dark, and you’re reaching the point in the movie where the evil thing has nothing left to lose. Sure, that means it’s going to up its game when it comes after you one last time. But if you make good use of the horror movie survival kit items outlined above, you’ll make it. I know you will. It’s almost dawn, and I can see the end credits from here. Hang in there, and good luck. You’ll need it for the sequel….