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Excerpt from the Hero’s Handbook: Horror Genre Survival

Being a horror protagonist is less than fun. While other protagonists gain magic powers or make friends, horror protagonists are stuck running from unspeakable terrors. You, as a horror protagonist, will no doubt feel confused, scared, and overwhelmed, and that could cause you to do some dumb things.  But protagonists who do these dumb things end up damaged or killed. So, horror protagonist, stay calm and follow these tips, and you might just live through the night. 

The first thing to keep in mind is to always give your car a check-up before you go on a road trip. Having a working car is an excellent shelter from many problems in the horror genre. Pack a spare tire. Heck, it’s a horror story, pack fifteen spare tires. Stay in your car as much as possible. Make sure to be driving somewhere with cell service, or nearby a city or neighborhood. When you leave to get something and come back, check the backseat before you get in by peering through your car windows. If you see movement in your car that shouldn’t be there, do not open the door to investigate. Run. With any hope, you can get through your trip with little to no incident.

On your trip- or in any circumstance- you will probably come across creepy castles, eerie inns, and hair-raising houses. Your distant aunt may leave you a spooky home in her will. Drive away! Say no thanks! Maybe it’s too late, and you already are staying at the dilapidated hotel or living in the macabre mansion. If so, grab your car, take it to the mechanic, and go. 

Normally, it’s good to give people the benefit of the doubt. Not so in the horror genre. For instance, do not trust strangers. Don’t strike up a conversation with a strange human (or alien) with dead birds hanging from their belt. But this doesn’t only apply to strangers; don’t give your friends too much benefit either. It is great to stick together, but if your companions are acting strange, find a way to unsuspiciously ditch them. If your friend cannot supply a good reason for why they were missing when the murderer was running rampant, or they hesitate too much before giving one, this is a RED FLAG. They are possessed, evil, or in league with the enemy. (Or maybe it’s nothing, but the stakes are too high to risk it!) 

When something strange is happening, it’s usually a good idea to investigate. Not so when you’re in the horror genre. Following the trail of blood is a no-no. If you hear an ominous sound, run the other way. Also, if you are going to, never, NEVER say “I’ll be right back.” You’re trying to prolong your life, not end it.

What if the killer is after you? It makes sense that you’d want to hide in the nearest available spot. This is not wise. Obvious spots like under the bed, in the car, in the closet, on a shelf are the first places a killer will look. If you have the chance to look around the setting before the creep appears, scout out hard-to-find or unique hiding places. (Keep in mind that you have to stay away from dark places, like basements or attics.) When you find a good spot, make no sounds. One sound could ruin your spot, so stay stock still. Stock. Still.

Finally, most importantly: NEVER SPLIT UP. NEVER NEVER NEVER. Splitting up is a one-way ticket to Deadville. You shouldn’t place all your trust in the people you’re with, but if you split up, it’s goodbye life.

Read this. Double-check it. Have it in your mind and you might stay alive. (Keep in mind that you are in a story; even if you follow these tips, an unscrupulous author may bring the horror to you.)

One Comment

  1. That guy who dies in the first 5 minutes of the horror movie That guy who dies in the first 5 minutes of the horror movie November 4, 2021

    I can confirm that not following this guide will get you killed

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