Survival rates in ghost movies are deploringly low, with often entire casts wiped out by the end of the movie. In an effort to combat these recurring bloodbaths, I’ve put together the Ultimate Guide to Surviving a Ghost Story. After extensive research (re: a horror movie binge), I have found many of the fatal flaws that get characters killed and ways to combat them.
Ditch all Cameras
As we saw in Paranormal Activity (and every other found-footage film), ghosts hate cameras with a passion. They’re like that friend that is painfully camera-shy, and then gets super pissed when you sneak a picture of them with your phone. The difference is, a camera-shy ghost will kill you.
One of the very few exceptions to this rule is Shutter. In that case, you will love cameras like they hold the key to life itself (because they kinda do).
The other exception is Sinister, but in that instance, the ghost will use the camera itself to kill you. So, yeah, destroy the camera and all of the photographs/video evidence (preferably before the ghost has brainwashed your daughter into axe-murdering you and the entire family).
Get ready for a super-high energy bill, ‘cause you’re gonna want to keep the lights on
Ghosts love playing hide-and-seek (except their version tends to be hide-and-kill-you). Their favorite tactics involve lurking in shadows and darkness before jumping out to terrify you. Deprive them of this, and you’ll end up with a lot fewer heart attacks and soiled pants.
(However, some ghosts are nasty little cheaters. They have a bad habit of cutting power lines and smashing lightbulbs, and even making flashlights go all flickery. For these jerks, I’d recommend lighting a shit-ton of candles.)
Get rid of all children
- They’re dumb. Sorry to all you helicopter parents, but your kids aren’t equipped to survive a ghost story (realistically, at least; they have an annoyingly high survival rate in horror movies). At the very least, several adults will end up killed trying to protect the twerps. Packing the kids to Florida (or wherever that’s very far away) will increase the survival rate of everyone else.
- They’re always the ones who get possessed/charmed—or worse, they’re the ghosts themselves—and they’re always the most terrifying. You don’t have to look far to know it’s true: The Exorcist, The Shining, Sinister, Mama, The Grudge, Poltergeist, and every movie involving orphanages. Parents, admit it: they’re freaky.
Police either get killed or think you’re crazy, so adhere to a different authority
Dealing with haunted attics and possessed kids aren’t in the police handbook (a gross oversight, in my opinion). So if you have a decent amount of common sense and decide to bring a third party, go to the crazies. In ghost stories, crazy is sane and sane is crazy. Demonologists, palm readers, and ex-priests aren’t loonies, they are you bestest friends. (Although before you get too attached, you should know that they also have an alarmingly high death rate. Probably because the ghost is smart enough to know that these guys pose a problem.)
Having sex in a creepy, moldy, haunted house is not romantic
I swear, guys want to have sex in the weirdest of places, and they’re usually haunted. How you boys live long enough to reproduce is nothing short of a miracle.
If you want to woo your girl (or your fella), don’t go to the run-down shack where the crazy dad murdered his family. Go to a restaurant. Put on the sexy suit. Give a bit of effort. The sex will be much more rewarding and a lot less fatal.
Finally, some ancient wisdom. If you remember nothing from this because you were as smashed as the writers, remember this: Don’t be a fucking moron. And you’ll be fine!
Author bio: Christina “DZA” Marie is a God: creator of worlds and giver of life…which is just a fancy way of saying she’s an author who specializes in fantasy, science fiction, and horror. She runs the blog Dragons, Zombies and Aliens and is a freelance writer of speculative fiction and articles about speculative fiction.
Big thanks to Christina for joining our shit fuckery and weighing in with some hilarious tips to survive a ghost story!