Tuesday, November 25, 2008

12 Characters Sure to Die in a Horror Film

Originally Posted on www.themovieblog.com

The horror genre has definitely changed over the years. Before there were certain rules to stay alive, but now a lot rules have been broken. Now virgins can die, and non Caucasian characters can live past the first scene, and be the heroes/heroines of the film. Although, I noticed that the more things change in this genre, the more they actually stay the same. Even though horror films have become more modernized, they still follow a certain formula when it comes to which characters live or not. Here is my personal list of a few doomed characters in both old and new horror films.

The “Shover”- Slasher movies always point out to the audience how to separate the strong from the weak as soon as the horror begins. It’s very easy to determine who the cowards are, and they usually make themselves known right away. Cowards usually pad the numbers early on for the killers, but I have watched quite a few horror films where the coward will redeem themselves by eventually fighting back. However, there is one type of coward that never makes it to the end of the movie. One that will never be able to redeem himself. I like to call this person, “the shover.” The shover is the p*ssy in the group who will literally shove another character into the killer’s direction simply to create a distraction and to buy some time to run away and hide. This person will always get their well-deserved comeuppances, and usually in a horrific way that makes the audience cheer.

The Non-Listener- Have you ever noticed the few characters that act as if they are completely deaf and ignore whatever the main character says they should be doing? (*Cardinal Rule: Whatever the main character says after the horror begins is GOSPEL. Always listen to them!) This is because they think the easier and faster route is the best chance to get out of harm’s way. (These are usually the as*holes that suggest to split up!) They are selfish, stubborn, and usually don’t hear the killer sneak up on them due to the massive ear wax buildup in their ears.

Forgettable/Generic/No-name Characters- If you find yourself watching a slasher involving a group of people, and in that group you still don’t know or can’t remember certain characters names within the first half hour, then they will die. If you find yourself watching a slasher with characters spewing dialogue as pointless as the creation of flavored condoms, then they will die. If you find yourself watching a slasher and you’re only able to refer to a character by a stereo-type followed by a number such as, “slut #2,” “bumbling security guard # 5,” “skinhead # 3,” then you guessed it…they will DIE!

The Prude- Now a prude is much different than a virgin. (Virgins are simply called prudes in horror movies when they turn down their horny boyfriend’s sexual advances) An actual prude in a horror movie is someone who doesn’t drink, smoke, do drugs, or have sex and they JUDGE everybody around them that has a vice. They are usually stuck up and act as if they have a huge stick up their asses the whole time they’re onscreen. They are also usually the first ones to go. (Thank GOD!) I always thought the message filmmakers are trying to send out is for people to enjoy life!

The “Vice-Abuser”- Horror films have definitely changed over the years. It used to be if you smoked pot, drank, had sex, you were instantly signing your death warrant. It’s a little different nowadays. You can be the slut and conquer. You can be the stoner, and end up being the hero at the end. However, if you smoke pole as well as smoke pot, then you’re screwed. You can partake in one vice….THAT’S IT.

The “Turning Point” Person- In almost every scary movie, there’s always of a point of no return. There comes a time where a crucial decision has to be made, and it’s always the wrong one made by one person. Be it taking a short cut, getting into a preventable car accident, staying at a creepy motel, or going back to help someone in need, this douche is responsible for the horror that is to come. Even lead protagonists are not safe if they make this mistake. Unless however, they’re in a mainstream horror film and the studio is afraid of providing a tragic ending and opt for a “cop-out” ending instead. (*cough* Vacancy *cough*)

The Best Friend- Best friends to the hero/heroine are almost always screwed. They provide the moral support for the lead, and in a horror movie that needs to be STRIPPED as soon as possible. If they don’t die, you can bet they are most likely the killer(s).

The “Too Interesting/Funny” Character- If you find yourself watching a horror movie where a supporting character stands out amongst a bunch of one-note and boring characters that lack substance and is stealing every scene they’re in, you should prepare yourself for disappointment. With every chuckle this character is able to get out of the audience, is just one step closer to his/her demise. This character needs to get dispatched of due to the fact they are stealing the film’s main focus, and I think the filmmakers and writers get off on the fact of hearing the majority of the audience say, “Aww…I really liked him/her.”

The “Gimp”-If a character gets severely injured be it getting shot, stabbed, or merely just twisting their ankle very badly, they will NOT make it. Why is this? Two words. Dead weight. The killer will make sure to lighten that “load” very early on.

The “I can’t!” Screaming B*tches-It is most likely guaranteed in a slasher film you will see a whiny helpless female that will frustrate you more than watching the Brenda/Dylan/Kelly love triangle saga on 90210 back in the day. (oooh..that really got under my skin!) Nowadays in horror films, the helpless can emerge into the vengeful heroine at the end. However, if a female in a horror movie stops running, starts to cry, and screams out repeatedly the words, “I can’t!” over and over again, they will NOT (or should I say CAN’T) survive the movie.

The “Famous Person without Top Billing” Character- If you notice a high profile actor/actress who does not have top billing in a horror movie with lesser known or unknown actors, this person will perish. (And most likely very early on in the film) Most cases, these characters don’t even interact with any of the other characters in the movie. They are usually offed in the prologue, simply to start the film with a bang. However in some cases, celebrities are killed halfway through the movie to provide shock value. (Take Samuel L. Jackson’s demise in ‘Deep Blue Sea’ for example)

The Horror Aficionado- When ‘Scream’ came out, horror fans finally got to see a character onscreen that they could all relate to-the horror geek named Randy Meeks. This was a huge leap in the evolution of horror movies because before that, characters in slashers seemed to live in an alternate universe where horror movies didn’t exist. Since then, aficionados have become an important part in horror films….unfortunately they’re usually not BIG parts.
I’m a huge horror geek, but put me in a scary movie, and I’d be lucky if I barely made the sequel. Why is this you might ask?
a) Horror Aficionados are usually the “too interesting/funny character” in the film. (See above for the fate of those characters)
b) Like most of the supporting cast, they’re there to serve a purpose for the lead protagonist. Other characters’ deaths, reactions and actions make the lead gain leadership, and power. Aficionados are there to provide the lead with enough knowledge to successfully make the right choices to stay alive. Once their purpose is served, they’re usually dispatched of.
c) Keeping a horror aficionado alive is like having all the answers for a huge exam.
So that’s my list!

Can you provide any other doomed characters?

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