How to Survive a Horror Movie

spoiler: you don’t.


Picture this: you’re settled in with your friends, mashed together on a dirty couch that probably should have been replaced years ago. Your left leg has fallen asleep, but your crush is next to you and you want to play it cool. The popcorn is popped and the tensions are high as watch someone scroll through Netflix. Everyone is shouting at once.

“I wanna watch Independence Day!”

“Netflix doesn’t have good movies, let’s watch The Fox and the Hound.”

“No c’mon let’s watch Rubber, I hear it sucks!”

To your dismay, A Nightmare on Elm Street appears in bold letters on the screen. You start to wonder why you decided to walk all the way down here in the blistering cold, just to get the piss scared out of you. But you’re there and it’s too late to back out now. So how do you make it through? Fret not, for there are a few simple measures that can help you to survive—unlike most of the characters in the movie.

What will you need? First and foremost, some candy, because why would you watch a movie without some candy? If you don’t have candy, walk out that door and get yourself some.

Next, your hands. Your hands are some of the most incredible tools at your disposal. Sure, covering your face might not be the most glamorous option, but it will protect you from the chainsaw-wielding, dead body-toting, blood-sucking maniac on screen. If hands just aren’t good enough, you’re in luck; blankets can be just as useful. Grab a blanket and, when needed, you can completely submerge your face in it, effectively blocking out all of the horrifying images that leave you tearful from fright.

And third, get yourself some space. You know most of the people in the room are inevitably going to end up huddled together. Safety in numbers, right? Wrong. If you don’t watch horror movies often, chances are that at one point or another you are going to be flailing, panicking like a deer in the middle of Times Square on New Year’s Eve. I’d suggest moving to a seat where you have a nice bubble of room. You don’t want to send high-flying kicks or elbows to someone’s face and ruin the whole night, do you?

Okay, so the movie has started. A young man sits in an ominous, dimly lit diner. It’s quiet—too quiet. He gets up in search of the waitress. The bass thunders and from somewhere behind him, you hear the sound of knives scraping against each other.

You want to let out a bloodcurdling scream. You want to yell, “RUN,” at the top of your lungs. You want to pick up your chair and throw it through the TV then dive out the window.

Let me stop you right there. Rewind.

Aurora Rojer / Kitsch Artist
Aurora Rojer / Kitsch Artist

The movie has started. Here are some pointers to get you through the night:


  1. Crack jokes. Joking about something scary always makes it less scary. A room filled with laughs makes it harder to freak out about the murderer who is so realistically slicing through people with a machete.
  2. Remember your hands. As mentioned before, when it gets really scary, utilize the tried and true method of peering through the cracks between your fingers. For some reason, only seeing a sliver of the screen—or none at all—really takes some of the fear away. When Freddy Krueger is closing in on his victim and the ominous mood is all too telling of what is to come, get those hands out.
  3. Open a window. When you do weep out of fear, crack a window and pretend a breeze is blowing into your eyes. Pretend that even though it’s a burden, you’re far too hot to close the window.
  4. Have an out. Come in with a reason to excuse yourself when the movie really starts to get scary. When you know those razor sharp knives are about to find their way into the screaming girl on screen, it’s time to utilize that “call yourself” app you’ve been saving for the occasion. Take the “important phone call,” and return after the screaming has died down.
  5. It’s not real. I promise. It’s not real. Unless it’s based on a true story. Because every movie that says it’s a true story is absolutely, positively, undeniably a true story.
  6. After the movie has ended, don’t sit alone in the dark, watching your closet, waiting for the boogieman to come out and devour you. First of all, it’s not going to happen. I think. And second, don’t let your mind get the best of you. Throw on a funny TV show, read the Amazon reviews for Haribo sugar-free gummy bears—whatever helps you forget about the scary guy with the chainsaw, or the man with the messed up face killing people in their dreams.


Follow these steps, and you’ll be golden. Though when you’re walking back to your room at night and hear some low guttural noises coming from behind you, I wouldn’t stick around. Honestly, I have no idea what’s out there. We find hundreds of new species every year. Who’s to say werewolves don’t exist? Not I.


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