Many people look forward to the adrenaline rush that comes with watching a horror movie, but very few pay attention to the lessons they can learn from the gruesome stories. Sure, horror movies reflect deeper truths about society, but some of the most important lessons are pretty simple. For example: Things NOT to do when living in a haunted house.
Haunted homeowners everywhere should use their favorite haunted house movie as a guide. The horror in these films normally comes from characters making very bad decisions, having obviously never seen a horror film themselves. Some of the devastation in haunted house movies could be avoided entirely if the characters had read some common horror tropes.
Communicate with spirits
movies like Conspiracy and Ouija both characters have the same error: they are using a Ouija board. It should be common knowledge by this point that opening up communication with the spirit realm is a surefire way to get something wrong.
Host is another film that features a spiritual communication session gone horribly wrong. In this case, a character jokes around creating a fake spirit to communicate with during the session. This leads to the gruesome death of everyone involved. The moral of the story is to leave the talking panels and the sessions to the professionals.
Investigate the noise
The poor decision to seek out the source of strange noises is a common theme in all horror movies. No spooky house movie would be complete without a character waking up in the middle of the night and heading for the basement with a flashlight.
Curiosity killed the cat, and so do most characters who venture to face a demonic threat. Most characters are better off heading straight for the front door or calling an exorcist as soon as they hear something strange, especially if they already know how haunted their house is.
Don’t believe the kids
Sometimes children in horror movies are terrifying. Other times, their parents should be more attentive to what they have to say. If a child claims they’re speaking with a spirit and parents choose to believe it’s just an imaginary friend, they might be overlooking a telltale sign of a haunted house.
One of horror film’s most infamous imaginary friends is Jodie from The Amityville Horror. Jodie, of course, is more than an imaginary friend. She’s part of the reason the house is so violently haunted. It reminds parents to ask their child very careful questions when they hear they have a new, unseen companion.
To play hide and seek
Hide and seek is probably a ghost’s favorite game to use as a scare tactic. Countless haunted house movies include some form of this game, including Conspiracythe iconic game of hide and seek. Some horror movies are even named after the game, like John Polson’s hide and seek.
Horror movies featuring a game of hide and seek are a great example of what not to do in a house infested with spirits. The kids in the house would be better off with a tag game, or maybe a fun board game – And no, Ouija boards aren’t considered a fun board game in a violently haunted house.
Use a baby monitor
Insidious is a movie almost too scary to finish, and a scene with disturbing whispers coming from a baby monitor is one of them. It’s also not the only horror movie that uses this creepy trope. Many fictional spirits have used baby monitors to scare parents.
Of course, baby monitors ensure that a child is safe and happy while sleeping. However, if parents simply choose not to use a baby monitor, they will never hear anything terrifying! Seriously, if someone’s house is as haunted as a horror movie theater, they should probably sleep in the same room as their child to keep them safe.
Do not ask the real estate agent about the past of the house
When deaths, especially violent ones, occur in a house on the market, the estate agent is normally obliged to notify potential buyers. In some cases, however, they are only required to tell them about deaths in recent years.
If horror movies are any indicator, families should always make it a point to look into the history of the home they’re buying. This is especially the case for older homes. This could have saved quite a few characters from mind-related stress.
Leaving in the middle of the night
Too often, horror movie families realize there’s something supernatural going on in their home way too late. Finding out late is better than not finding out at all, but sometimes that means running away from home in the middle of the night.
Leaving at night, when ghosts are most active, often means something will follow the family into the car, or even try to harm them on the way out. The best thing to do is buckle up until morning, or maybe see the signs earlier and leave twelve hours early.
blame a bad dream
Especially when children see something scary happening in their home, adults are quick to blame a bad dream. Of course, in a ghost movie, that’s rarely the case. Nightmares are normally a very real experience.
Haunted house movie characters can be a little too quick to undo a child’s experiences in the middle of the night. It’s usually one of the first signs that something bad is going on, so parents should never ignore it, especially when it’s happening to them too. For example, in You should have left, the character of Kevin Bacon would never have had a problem if he had left after his first bad dream. It would have saved the family from the sentiment in the film’s title.
Buy a scary doll
If anyone sees a scary doll of any kind, the last thing they should do is take it home unless they are prepared to face the spiritual consequences. In annabelle and dead silencefamilies with haunted dolls were not prepared to deal with violent possessions.
There are many traditions that speak of dolls as a vessel for spirits without a body. These legends are the inspiration for haunted doll movies, and the movies themselves should make real families think twice about haunting their own home by bringing home a dodgy Raggedy Ann or ventriloquist dummy. .
Let the father get lost in his work
Fathers getting involved in their profession are a common theme in haunted house horror films. Sure, the brilliant tops the list, with all work and no play making Jack a dull boy. Claim, Ethan Hawke’s Best Horror Movie is another. The true detective writer becomes so obsessed with the case that he writes that he and his family move into the house where it happened.
It’s such a common characterization for horror movie dads that even American Horror Story: Red Tide puts his personal touch on it with Harry Gardner. If the dads in some horror movies had been a little more lucid, they might have noticed something sour going on in their families’ homes.
NEXT: Every Thrill Short Ranked By Scariness
The Snyderverse’s Very Real Popularity Is WB’s Biggest DCEU Problem
About the Author