I’m going to preface this by saying that my mom does not watch horror movies. In fact, she does not like the horror genre at all. She’s a Heartland Film Festival kind of person, not a Shriekfest lover. She is, however, a very patient women who listens to me talk about it all without complaining (much). In spite of herself, she was intrigued when I told her about the challenge to come up with a list of things you’d use to survive if you were stuck in a horror movie, and she started brainstorming.
It was pretty fun to see what she came up with.
You know, in a majority of horror movies, mothers get a bad rap. Jason Vorhees, Norman Bates, and Carrie White all had disturbed mothers responsible at least in part for their children’s twisted minds. The mothers who aren’t mothers of monsters are usually absent, clueless, or dead (it’s television, yes, but Joyce Summers, Buffy’s mom, manages all three by the end of season five).
My mom is not any of those things. Also, she doesn’t like violence. But she had some ideas you might want to take into consideration. I’m guessing you can find most of them in your kitchen or bathroom. I’m pretty sure she could find a majority of them in her kitchen or bathroom. She shops at Costco, and her house is surprisingly well-stocked.
Her first suggestion was, naturally, a cell phone with GPS. If that didn’t work, a compass would at least give an idea of direction. The next thing she’s want would be comfortable shoes. Getting places is not necessarily easy for her so shoes with good traction, possibly even hiking boots, would be a good choice. Next, “be prepared” is the Boy Scouts’ motto, and with kids who have navigated both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, she knew a first aid kit would carry a lot of essentials. She also included a triangle bandage, because of the multiple uses possible: tourniquet, sling, or strangling the bad guy. She suggested that bringing a magnifying glass would be useful both for close examination of things and for starting fires (kind of a time consuming way to start a fire, but okay) and a hand mirror would be useful for looking around corners, seeing if something (like, say, Medusa) is sneaking up from behind, or discovering whether the person standing behind you is a vampire (obviously, if you know he’s there’s no reflection, that’s a pretty good indicator). Once you’ve identified the vampire, a cross or garlic would be useful in warding her off.
Naturally, you don’t want to get too close to the monster, If you have decent aim, you could always try using bolas to trip or entangle it.
Hey, if it worked for Batman, it could work for you.
If you do have to get closer, Mom suggests baking soda or pepper spray (you can blind the monster or distract it) and then using rope or duct tape to restrain it. If forced to make a choice, she suggests the duct tape, because duct tape has so many, many uses.
She also suggested a flashlight, which could either be used when you’re groping around in the dark, or, alternatively, to blind anything unpleasant that might be coming in your direction. With a MagLite I suppose you could also use the flashlight as a weapon, making it a multipurpose item. A camera was also on her list, but given the unpleasant things that tend to happen when cameras get involved in horror movies (videotapes haunted by vengeful ghosts, found footage of deeply unpleasant events in the woods, and so on) I’m going to suggest that this may not be the best option. She also added a shofar to her list, because you never know when you’ll need a REALLY loud sound. And a shofar is REALLY loud. I think it would be an awkward item to carry along, though, and it probably wouldn’t fit in a crate.
Her final suggestion, and I think this is a great one (since we’re already talking fiction here) is a pair of ruby slippers. You know, click your heels three times and there’s no place like home.
See, Dorothy is getting away from that witch just in the nick of time!
What we’ve got here is a much different list than the one Monster Librarian’s reviewers came up with, but it’s also got some great ideas. I’d put my reviewers in charge of the weapons any day of the week, but as far as safety and self-defense go? My mom turns up a winner.