Friday, October 29, 2021

The horror of movie clichés.

Friday: Comic Relief

Halloween is this weekend and some friends like to celebrate with scary movie marathons. Being the scaredy cat that I am, though, I would rather poke fun at the frightful flicks.

So, I searched through the many clichés listed in Roger Ebert's book titled Ebert's Bigger Little Movie Glossary: A Greatly Expanded and Much Improved Compendium of Movie Clichés, Stereotypes, Obligatory Scenes, Hackneyed Formulas, Shopworn Conventions, and Outdated Archetypes [what a title!] and gleaned some related to horror/slasher films.

(Most of these are Roger Ebert's, but the book also includes some submitted by his readers.)
Dead Teenager Movie.
Generic term for any movie primarily concerned with killing teenagers, without regard for logic, plot, performance, humor, etc. Often imitated, never worse than in the Friday the 13th sequels. Requires complete loss of common sense on the part of the characters. Sample dialogue: "All of our friends have been found horribly mutilated. It is midnight and we are miles from help. Hey, let's take off our clothes, walk through the dark woods, and go skinny-dipping!" (R.E.)

Law of Relative Walking Speeds. 
No matter how fast the would-be victim runs, the slasher can always keep up just by walking steadily. (R.E.)

Premature Disarmament.
In horror films, after the monster has apparently been killed, the heroine inevitably drops her weapon, usually flinging it away in disgust. The monster is, of course, still alive. (R.E.)

Reverse Discrimination.
Whoever backs up in a horror movie is about to die. (Don Howard, San Jose, Calif.)

Rover, Dead Rover Rule.
In any movie that begins with lowering skies and ominous music, all dogs being taken on walks in the countryside discover dead bodies. (R.E.)

Rule of Chronic Tunnel Vision. 
In a horror movie, the character being stalked has vision limited to the camera's field of view. Therefore, anyone coming at any angle not directly ahead will invariably scare the living daylights out of him or her. (Daniel Alvarado, Arleta, Calif.)

Short Life Syndrome.
Night watchmen in horror movies have a life expectancy of twelve seconds. (Sam Waas, Houston)

Still Out There Somewhere.
Obligatory phrase in Dead Teenager and mad Slasher Movies, where it is triggered by the words, "The body was never found. They say he/she is..." (R.E.)

There-Goes-the-Neighborhood Rule.
In horror movies, no matter how many ghostly apparitions or psychokillers appear in a house, the owners will not leave it. In fact, the more scared they get, the more determined they are to stay put. Apparently they're earning some kind of "scream equity." (Raphael Carter, Tempe, Ariz.)
While preparing this post and thinking about the lack of common sense often displayed by characters in horror films, it reminded me of a funny Studio C sketch. I shared this several years ago and it's worth sharing again. Makes me laugh every time!

Studio C: The Walking Dead Survival Guide

Happy Halloween!

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