Read To Survive! Monster Librarian’s Horror Movie Survival Guide.
As editor of Monster Librarian, I was recently challenged to come up with a list of things I’d want to take with me if I was suddenly dropped into a horror movie. The only restriction was that the items would have to fit in a crate. I’m a reader, and a trained librarian, so my first instinct is to suggest The Horror Movie Survival Guide, because that would have all kinds of great strategies for making it through (we have a similar list, The Shocklines Horror Movie Survival Guide, on our site). However, chances are that while I consulted the book, I’d probably be the #1 victim for taking my eyes off my surroundings. Fortunately, I have a fabulous and knowledgeable group of reviewers, and they’ve seen LOTS of horror movies. If I had to go, I’d want to take them with me, and I’m sure they wouldn’t leave me behind so they could escape. Right, guys?
Unfortunately, I can’t fit them in a crate. So I asked them what they would take, if it happened to them. They’re a very practical group. After wishful thoughts of distracting the creature(s) by sending members of Congress, or sending John Constantine instead, there was majority agreement that if you couldn’t get reception on your fully charged cell phone to call for rescue, it would be great to have a full canteen of water, so you don’t dehydrate, and plenty of energy bars, to keep you fueled with more than adrenaline. Also, comfortable running shoes are essential, (since chances are you’ll be doing a lot of running). There was debate over whether it’s better to take a working flashlight, a lighter, or candles with waterproof matches (in case the batteries in the flashlight die, after you’ve been running for your life for days on end), but I think it makes sense to take them all. Candle flames don’t shed much light, but you can’t make a fire with a flashlight, and a lighter won’t work if it gets soaked. As one reviewer noted, with good shoes and plenty of light, you’re much less likely to trip and fall (like everyone does). And there are so many reasons you might need to set a fire. Did I say set a fire? I meant light a fire.
And, of course, as one reviewer put it, “you’ve got to have weapons”. Popular suggestions included a machete, a knife, a sword, a chainsaw (“handy for cutting through things that go bump in the night”, according to another reviewer) an automatic weapon with extra ammo, and a “boomstick”, (the double-barreled shotgun Ash uses in Army of Darkness). I’d add a stake to that list, as well, since sometimes only wood will do, and a silver bullet for that boomstick, just in case you have to deal with a conventional werewolf.
While some of these might not fit in the crate, one reviewer suggested that you could always wear them to save room for other things that would. It was also mentioned that night vision goggles would be very helpful to weapon wielders in the dark. It’s true, you can’t really hold a flashlight or candle while flailing around with a chainsaw, and you want to make every bullet count. While I wouldn’t necessarily consider it the most effective of weapons, I liked the suggestion of a Swiss Army knife—it may have a tiny blade in comparison to some of the previously named weapons, but it does have one, and its many other tools could come in handy. It’s small, so it won’t take up much room, and it can be carried in your pocket.
It also might be the only thing listed here that I wouldn’t actually hurt myself with.
Weapons are not my thing, and in a horror movie, Murphy’s Law is multiplied times a dozen, at least.
I should note here that this challenge was issued to us by Man Crates, a company that ships gift sets in crates that must be opened using a crowbar. The crowbar is included, so assuming that our crate is coming from her, we’d have one of those to arm ourselves with as well. A crowbar could be quite useful in times of peril.
If you’re in the kind of movie where the monster is impervious to mere weapons (although it’s hard for me to imagine anything being unaffected by a chainsaw), you’ll want a selection of religious or occult items that you can easily keep on you while you’re on the go. A cross might ward off evil, holy water can be an effective deterrent (you could keep it loaded in a water pistol in order to get your creature from a distance), salt can be used to contain demons, and glow-in-the-dark chalk could be used to draw a circle. Rope has many uses, including restraining victims of possession. However, if you’re feeling loaded down by now, you could take one reviewer’s advice and “forget those religious trinkets, as you can get some off the dead”!
Finally, I know it’s an unusual suggestion, but as a librarian, it’s obvious to me: I suggest a library card, because you never know when you’re going to need obscure reference material on religion or the occult, and as any fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Harry Potter can tell you, you can always find the necessary occult knowledge in the library’s Restricted Section. Our motto here is “Read to Survive”, and we take that very seriously.
Although this challenge came from Man Crates, Monster Librarian is not endorsing or advertising for them. And, while I recognize the problematic nature of being gifted with ugly neckties, it’s not just men who get presents they don’t want and won’t use. Everyone enjoys getting a present that’s fun to open and suits their interests (I think the entertainment value of opening your present with a crowbar could be pretty awesome regardless of sex) so why limit your audience?
Of course, if you aren’t stuck in a horror movie, and a crate full of the items we listed above, or similar ones, came as a gift, there are a few practical problems with the contents. Especially if you have little kids. When the horror lover in your life opens up his survival kit to find a machete and a crossbow (and yes, I speak from personal experience here) what exactly are you supposed to do with the weaponry?
At Monster Librarian, we don’t accept paid advertising. We just want to provide you with honest reviews and resources about the horror genre, and we like to have fun. I have to offer Man Crates a great big thanks for what has turned out to be, for us, an entertaining Halloween treat.
–Contributors: Aaron Fletcher, Benjamin Franz, Kirsten Kowaleweski, Jennifer Lawrence, Michele Lee, Lucy Lockley, Patricia Mathews, David Simms, Sheila Shedd, Colleen Wanglund, and Wendy Zazo-Phillips