One of my favorite pastimes as a kid was going to the video store each week and renting every movie off the horror shelf sequentially until I had seen them all at least once. The only ones forbidden to me were the Faces of Death films because they were allegedly documentaries of actual deaths. This turned out to be untrue but I nevertheless found a way to see all of them and, again, more than once. When I was in elementary school I religiously purchased Fangoria magazine and collected every issue of R.L. Stine's immaculate Goosebumps series. By middle school I had read over twenty Stephen King novels. I've since devoured his entire collection and additionally the libraries of Anne Rice, H.P. Lovecraft, Clive Barker, Thomas Harris, and Richard Matheson.
Look, all I'm trying to say is: I've got some respectable credentials. That is why if you ever find yourself being attacked in your dreams by a man with knives for hands or are being chased by a machete wielding maniac at summer camp or find yourself in a zombie infested, post-apocolyptic world...you need to STFU and listen to these top 5 rules for survival.
1. Do not split up.
Let me dispel a common myth right now. You WILL NOT fare better if you split up. First of all there are perceptive powers in numbers. More eyes to see. More ears to hear. More minds to develop real solutions to whatever horrific plight you've found yourselves in. Secondly, should you be attacked, you're more likely to survive in a group because you are less vulnerable. Lastly, you've got to have someone to make love to when you've decided to stop the fight. Come on, folks! Stick together.
2. Do not run upstairs.
Okay, this doesn't require a physics degree. Running upstairs is basically equivalent to killing yourself. THERE IS NOWHERE TO GO. Your options when you run upstairs are:
a. hide in a closet or
b. jump out of a window.
Either way you are dead. Think about it. When running for your life you want options. You want expansive flat land. You want woods. You want crowded city markets. For the love of all possible gods, stop running up the damn stairs.
3. LISTEN to terrified people.
If someone, especially someone you love and trust, bursts into your office with hair turned gray babbling about a monster that lives in their closet trying to eat them please give them a chance to explain themselves. People who have been frightened to their core generally have a hard time explaining the situation. Do not become impatient and dismissive. Hear them out. Chances are they took some bad drugs but it's a strange world we live in and you should pay attention to their claims. This is particularly important with children. As we become adults we generally become cynical and jaded. We've decided that we do not live in a world of monsters. This resignation will easily get you killed in a horror film scenerio.
4. If your house is haunted, LEAVE.
This should be a no brainer. I'm not talking about a dripping faucet or groaning floorboards. I'm talking about when an entity drags you out of bed at night or when something is lurking upside down on the ceiling behind you in the bathroom mirror. I'm talking about when televisions suddenly turn on and off even when you unplug them and eerie voices whispering your name from the basement. GET YOUR ASS OUT OF THERE. Do not attempt to communicate with the spirits. Do not set up a video camera. Do not hire an exorcist or a priest and DO NOT pretend that it isn't there. Sometimes these things follow you wherever you go because the house isn't haunted, you are. In that unfortunate case you don't have many options. But how will you know until you leave?
5. Always maintain your vehicle.
Okay, this is a long-term, blanket strategy. Perhaps your greatest tool in surviving a horror movie scenario is having a running automobile. How many times has someone been on the edge of escape but was then brutally murdered because the car wouldn't start? Too often if you ask me. Your car is your salvation so ingrain this checklist into your brain and keep it maintained:
a. make sure your battery is fully charged.
b. make sure your starter is reliable.
c. make sure you have gas.
d. keep a spare key hidden inside the car.
e. always check the backseat and trunk if uncertain.
Well, there you have it folks. If you apply what you've learned today I'd say you've increased your chances of survival by about 75%. For more in depth survival techniques pertaining to zombies check out The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks. As a disclaimer I must say that if you find yourself in a supernatural horror scenario then most bets are off. Not all monsters are unvanquishable but if you're being haunted by an eternal demon who kills you in your dreams then I'm afraid there really isn't much hope for you. Sleep tight!