An Open Letter to Horror Movie Protagonists

The Legend of Hell House

Dear Person Screaming on Screen,

You did this to yourself. I’m sure you had plenty of warning signs prior to this point. But in case you are at the beginning of your exploration of that creepy house, spooky forest, imposing castle, remote cabin, dilapidated asylum, or whatever other crazy place you now find yourself in, may I make some suggestions?

First off, don’t go in there, just don’t. This applies to oh so many situations you may find yourself in. Some important examples: don’t go in the attic and don’t go in the basement. This also applies to cellars and crawlspaces. Next, don’t see what the sound was. I know you’re curious, but just trust me. You’re in a horror movie, nothing good is making that noise. If, however, you insist on going to check it out, may I suggest that, should your investigation take you to somewhere like a room with a chair rocking violently by itself, you NOT GO IN THERE!

While on the topic of things that make things go bump, I have some suggestions for that too. Don’t try to communicate. He/she/it is likely not there for a philosophical discussion on the afterlife. Don’t hold that séance you’re talking about. Don’t use that super creepy Ouija board that looks like the shop where bought it would have disappeared behind you as you walked away. Don’t read from that ominous-looking book either. It usually won’t go well.

Now, some advice on horror movie real estate. I know, you can’t believe the deal you got on that big old house. Well you shouldn’t believe it. It was a steal for a reason, and not a good one. Also, “this house was once a mortuary” is not a selling point. You think it will make a good story when you throw parties, but when your guests start disappearing or something drags you out of bed in the middle of the night you might change your mind. Have fun trying to flip that house. Also, avoid purchasing abandoned asylums, homes anyone refers to as “murder house”, and, for those shopping the international market, castles of ill repute. And if that waitress at the only restaurant in town asks if you know about the land the house was built on, it’s usually not because it was once a lovely meadow where animals frolicked and nothing bad or curse-inducing ever happened.

A few other suggestions before I go.

· Close the door (a certain paranormal film full of activities who keep leaving their bedroom door wide open, I’m looking at you).

· Turn on the lights, especially if you are the one who insists on checking out that sound. If your house has working electricity, why are you using that flashlight?

· Don’t split up. Did Scooby Do teach you nothing?

· Avoid that new neighbor who only comes out at night, is super pale, and whose backyard always seems freshly dug up. Yes, he may just be a bartender with a penchant for nocturnal gardening, but remember, you are in a horror movie, so this scenario is unlikely.

· Don’t click the link in that oddly empty email and don’t watch that weird unmarked (or strangely labeled) VHS tape. If someone says you’ll die if you watch something, why take the risk? Also, why do you still have a tape player?

So, to sum up… wait, where did you go? Did you not hear the part about splitting up? Okay, there you are. Hey, what did I say about basements? I said DON’T GO IN… well, great. Just great. Good luck getting that off the walls. And floor. And ceiling.

They never listen.

Sincerely (and with condolences),

The Person Yelling at the Screen