Look Behind You: Lessons Learned From Horror

I’ve loved horror movies for as long as I can remember. I enjoy being terrified from the comfort and safety of my own home, and my monster proof blankets. It always surprises me when others don’t understand the appeal of them or ask why I am obsessed. For me, it’s always been about the stories told in the writing. There’s a lot of truth in horror. The genre gives us a glaring view at human nature, notorious for sneaking in metaphors for life and often lessons in morality.

Whether you’re a horror movie expert or a casual fan, you’d be hard pressed to find a film that doesn’t have at least one life lesson hidden across multiple scenes. I mean we’ve all watched in frustration as clueless protagonists have gone against the common sense advice we scream at the screen. It’s interesting that common sense only seems to be common when it concerns someone else. Which begs the question, what advice from horror movies can we effectively apply to our own lives.

Trust Your Gut

Everything you’ve learned in your lifetime comes together as your own personal “spider-sense”, giving you a chance to act before affected by outside influences. It’s just that though, a chance. Horror movies are the shining example of what happens when you go against your gut feelings. Honestly, a good portion of horror movies wouldn’t exist if the protagonists followed their gut. When we watch characters make these mistakes we have so much sense, yet we ignore the gut feelings in our own lives, and we shouldn’t. That voice inside us is the very thing keeping us alert and could be the difference between learning a dangerous lesson firsthand or watching it play out on the TV screen.

Don’t Stick Around

Knowing when to leave is the perfect example of trusting your gut. It’s a combination of previous experience, resistance to peer pressure, and respecting your own needs. If you were to ask any survivor of a horror movie what they would have done differently the number one answer would be to have left sooner. Such simple advice is often easier said than done. Between the fear of missing out, the inability to muster up the courage to walk way, or just a lack of common sense, we stay in a lot of situations we shouldn’t. Just remember when that voice in your head tells you to go, you go.

Enjoy Your Life and What You Have

Jigsaw once said “Congratulations, you are still alive. Most people are so ungrateful to be alive, but not you, not any more…” A lot of us take living for granted. It’s a product of the times we live in. There is such a focus on defining what a good life is that we often forget to live. Sometimes it takes a death device being strapped to your head to realize that things really aren’t as bad as you once thought. The horror genre does a really good job of reminding its audience that things could also be worse. Life can end in an instant, so remember to enjoy your life and your loved ones.

Shortcuts Sometimes Have Consequences

This one should go without saying. In horror films veering off course in hopes of a quicker arrival is always a no go. The chances of getting lost, stranded without resources, wandering into the business end of a machete are far greater than making it to your destination. It is rare, especially in horror films, that these “shortcuts” have ever worked in the favor of our protagonists. That isn’t to say that shortcuts are inherently bad or won’t help you in a bind, but they sometimes have consequences. I always take this as a reminder that everything will happen when it’s supposed to happen. There is no need to rush what will be, especially if it may be to your detriment.  

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