7 Life Lessons I Learned From Watching Horror Movies

I’ve been cramming my brain full of horror since I was a kid. Most of my family (except for my mom, who couldn’t stomach it most of the time), was born to love the genre. Mixed in with the Disney movies and Saturday mornings spent watching Ninja Turtles cartoons was a horror list a mile long. It was a childhood of blood and gore mixed with sugary cereal commercials and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

In the process of spending my life binging everything from 1958’s The Blob to 2022’s new Scream, I’ve been dealt some real life lessons. There’s a certain set of skills that you can only get from horror, for better or worse.

Look through your damn peephole.

Watch any slasher movie and you’ll inevitably see someone open their door to a knocking stranger without looking through the peephole or the huge length of glass next to the door. At this point, they’re just bringing their demise on themselves. Always, always, look who’s out there before opening your door. Even better, get one of those doorbell cams so you can see who’s at your door while you’re hiding somewhere else in the house. No surprises for you!

Get in the habit of locking your doors.

Another cardinal sin in horror–no one ever locks their doors. If you see a character get home with a bag of groceries and just casually shut their front door without locking it, you know they’re about to die. Lock your doors; close and lock your windows before you go to bed. It’s just common sense, man.

Use your goddamn phone.

You have this really cool thing in your pocket called a cell phone. So many horror movie plots could have been solved if the characters had just called the police from the outset. If you have your phone, it’s working, and you have service, use it. Heck, you could even go live on Insta/TikTok/Facebook while the killer is giving his epic monologue. And if you don’t have service? Snap a picture of your killer. That way, when the authorities inevitably happen upon your grisly murder, they can use the picture for evidence. Take that, murderer!

Steer clear of spooky dolls or old chests found in the basements of funeral homes.

Don’t fuck around with haunted items. Avoid Ouija boards like the plague. And if you inherit some weird puzzle box from a long-lost aunt who dabbled in the occult, never open it. Leave the supernatural artifacts for the dumb-dumbs. You’re too smart for that. Right? Oh, and if you find an old book with weird writing in another language, don’t read it aloud!

If the house is surprisingly cheap, it’s never for a good reason.

Same goes for an old house in the middle of nowhere that you’ve inherited from relatives you’ve never met. As the saying goes, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. I don’t care if it’s 10 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms for only 100k. You’re about to be possessed by a small Victorian child and it’s just not worth it.

Be as far away from kids as possible.

Don’t have your own. Don’t adopt the weird kid who just showed up in town one day. Avoid babysitting, for that matter. Kids are a no-go if you want to survive a horror movie. As soon as you find the kid standing at the end of a hallway in the dark, run for the hills. If they’re not the evil thing themselves, they’re probably the one who invited the evil into your house.

In the end, there’s not much you can do.

Honestly, everything can kill you. If you get away from that murderer, he’ll just find you again in a few years. If you avoid kids, you might just get murked by a swamp monster living in your backyard pond or an alien lifeform who’s using your body as a host. Sure, you’ll have a better chance of surviving if you’re a young white woman with a better moral code than the people you surround yourself with–but even then your survival rate’s not great. If horror movies have taught us anything, it’s that no one is safe.