Lessons Learned From A Lifetime Of Sleazy American Horror Books And Movies

As Halloween is upon us, I thought I'd share this wisdom, which has kept me alive in a world teeming with serial killers, aliens that aren't interested in bringing peace to mankind, backwoods cannibals, and corpses that hunger for the flesh of the living:

  1. If the sign says, "Last gas for sixty miles," it's time to buy gas.
  2. Better still, turn around.  Drive to the station where the sign says, "Next to last gas for seventy miles".
  3. Historic anniversaries divisible by five are overrated. If a tragedy occurred ten years ago at the house on Maple Street, mark your calendar to visit on the eleventh anniversary.
  4. The psychiatrist is not your friend.
  5. If it sleeps an ancient slumber, don't wake it up.
  6. Don't go into the cellar.
  7. Don't get into the shower.
  8. Don't climb up to the attic.
  9. If you have to climb up to the attic, don't enter head first.
  10. I don't care how hungry you are: If a stranger offers you food, don't eat it.
  11. Bullets cannot stop it.
  12. Unless they're made of silver.  Good luck finding that in nine millimeter.
  13. Unless bullets can stop it.  In that case, aim for the head.
  14. Large black dogs are nothing but trouble.
  15. Charming, urbane, vaguely European men of wealth and education are nothing but trouble.
  16. Pale beautiful women with wide eyes are nothing but trouble.
  17. "Do not call up that which you cannot put down."
  18. If you hear a solitary bassoon playing but you're not in a concert hall, stop what you're doing immediately.  Walk out of the building slowly, get into your car, drive to the 7/11 and buy a Slurpee.  Nothing ever happens at 7/11.
  19. When you meet a small, precocious child, beat it to death with a hammer.  Just in case.
  20. Rural vacations in mountain cabins are overrated.  Miami is warm this time of year.
  21. If science teaches us anything, it's that there are Things Man Was Not Meant To Know.
  22. Old, dusty books are dusty for a reason. Who are you to open them up and disturb the dust?
  23. It's better to build a new house than to buy an old one. New construction keeps the economy strong.
  24. But do a thorough title search on the land where you build the new house.  Just in case.
  25. "Don't look back.  Something might be gaining on you."

Keep these lessons in mind, and you might live to be as old as I am.

Update: LabRat's list is better than mine: "Avoid cornfields and apple orchards at all costs."

Last 5 posts by Patrick Non-White


  1. says

    While not usually a fan of the genre*, I was recently coerced into watching "Zombieland." May I offer a few other lessons learned?

    26. Double-tap (just in case)
    27. Wear your seatbelt.
    28. Beware of bathrooms

    These are just a few but they do seem important.

    *exceptions, always. I will now count "Zombieland" as my favorite horror-gore-sleazy-American-cheesy-scary movie.

  2. ZK says

    I found out the hard way that Winchester "Silver Tip" hollowpoints, even in .45 ACP, are not, in fact, tipped with silver. They're actually aluminum.

    The more you know…

  3. Scott Jacobs says

    If I may modify slightly Ima's #26…

    It comes from a long-living Shadowrun character I played (and could again, if I could find a fucking GM in this damned town), who had one too many thugs play dead on him…

    "Two to the head, make sure it's dead"

  4. Nancy says

    Another one. If you have a pet you are fond of, and something strange is going on outside, do not let that pet outdoors. You will find it in the morning, tortured and dead.


    If the lights all go out, do not use candles. Use flashlights. If you don't have flashlights, then get in the car (with your entire family, plus the pet, and including the snarky teenager). Drive to the 7-11 to see if there are any zombies. Otherwise go to an all-night movie theatre.

  5. Cybrludite says

    Also remember that teamwork is essential. You don't have to outrun the monster, you just have to outrun your buddy. If they're faster than you, kneecap them. ;-)

  6. John Stephens says

    Old abandoned places were probably abandoned for a reason. Take the hint and stay away.

  7. says

    Sex is nice and all. But never be a sexy teen. Never have sex in any sort of scary place. If you must be sexy, attempt to be sort of button-down sexy — you know, TV-ugly — and surround yourself with more overtly sexy people.