I love horror films. Partly it’s the sense of sheer anarchy and disregard for accepted norms of taste and respectability that the best splatter movies accomplish; partly it’s the opportunity they provide to graphically explore fears, doubts and neuroses in a protective environment. While many horror films are based on absurd premises or unlikely coincidences – after all, there’s no point worrying about whether you’ll randomly become the target of a serial killer or the victim of an unstoppable wave of the living dead – there are stock horror situations that you can easily take steps to avoid.
Some of the entries on this list are common sense, and the tendency of horror films to regularly disregard them grants us a platform from which to mock the idiocy of their characters; others are more innocent, acts which until the release of key horror entries I would not have thought twice about, but which I’ve developed an unfortunate aversion towards thanks to a decade of consuming horror films.
All of these are true. Try not to hold them against me…
20. Go Into The Woods At Night
Although there’s something primal about our fear of the woods and what might be lurking out there in the dark, this particular fear has been wildly exacerbated by a single film: The Blair Witch Project. Its shaky-cam aesthetics and found footage gimmick may have been rendered innocuous by the slew of knock-offs that followed, and the sheer unlikeability of the three central characters may have left viewers not caring one bit about their eventual fate, but regardless of people’s opinions of TBWP they all seem to have been left with a rather more acute aversion to being in the woods at night than they might have had before.
The woods as a symbol of doom has been picked up in recent horror films such as Shrooms and Wrong Turn, where after the characters enter the woods you can practically give up on their chances of surviving the film.
This article was first posted on October 27, 2012